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The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove Hardcover – March 9, 1999

257 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

Reading a Christopher Moore novel is a little like eating a potato chip--it's hard to stop at just one. And you don't have to look beyond the titles to understand the allure; who could pass up a book called Practical Demonkeeping or Island of the Sequined Love Nun? Each of Moore's tales skewers a particular literary genre. In Coyote Blue he nailed New Age fascination with Native American religion; in Blood-Sucking Fiends: A Love Story he put a new twist on the classic vampire tale. The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove is a companion piece to his first novel, the hilariously twisted horror story Practical Demonkeeping, and readers of that book will recognize the setting, Pine Cove, California. In addition, Moore includes plenty of his patented weird sex, occasional gross-out death, several off-kilter but nonetheless affecting love stories, and some fabulous secondary characters such as Mavis Sand:

Mavis first began augmenting her parts in the fifties, first out of vanity: breasts, eyelashes, hair. Later, as she aged and the concept of maintenance eluded her, she began having parts replaced as they failed, until almost half of her body weight was composed of stainless steel (hips, elbows, shoulders, finger joints, rods fused to vertebrae five through twelve), silicon wafers (hearing aids, pacemaker, insulin pump), advanced polymer resins (cataract replacement lenses, dentures), Kevlar fabric (abdominal wall reinforcement), titanium (knees, ankles), and pork (ventricular heart valve).
In a nutshell, the plot revolves around a gigantic prehistoric lizard whose slumber deep beneath the ocean surface is interrupted by a radioactive leak from a nearby power plant. At the same time, a woman in Pine Cove hangs herself; the local psychiatrist (who has been prescribing antidepressants to everyone in town with gay abandon) decides the suicide was her fault and yanks everyone's medication; and an elderly black blues singer named Catfish Jefferson arrives to perform at the Head of the Slug saloon. Into this already strange brew mix one schizoid former B-movie starlet, a pot-head town constable, a bereaved local artist, a biologist tracking anomalous behavior in rats, a crooked sheriff, and a pharmacist with a bizarre sexual fixation on sea mammals, and you have a recipe for the kind of madness Moore does so well. --Alix Wilber

From Publishers Weekly

With in-your-face, South Park-worthy humor that only once slips into the truly offensive, Moore (Island of the Sequined Love Nun) has written the definitive Prozac allegory. Like its Puff-the-Libidinous-Dragon protagonist Steve, this novel delightfully runs roughshod over trailer parks, scrip-happy psychiatrists, right-wing moralists and "nuked-out future movie" stars with laugh-aloud wit and gentle affection. Pine Cove is a Pacific coast town of 5000Aa third of whom Dr. Valerie Riordan has rendered dependent on antidepressants. When obsessive-compulsive Bess Leander is found hanged from a calico cloth rope, a possible suicide, Val fears she has been overmedicating, and she blackmails fish-fetishist pharmacist Winston Krauss into giving all antidepressant users placebos instead. As the antidepressants wear off, a hilariously uncontrollable erotic revolution takes place in the formerly groggy and dispirited population. A simultaneous nuclear plant leak into the ocean awakens serotonin-deficit sea beast Steve, who descends on the town, disguised occasionally as a double-wide mobile home. When the doper constable and the methamphetamine-peddling sheriff duke it out, creating chaos instead of restoring order, we learn our lesson about better living through pharmaceuticals. Moore is Daniel Pinkwater for grownups, but a lot funnier; and his irreverent antics reveal a buoyant wit and surreal authority even while rendering the emotional range, sex life, and murderous tendencies of a sea monster. Agent: Nick Ellison. Author tour.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Spike; 1st edition (March 9, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0380975068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0380975068
  • Product Dimensions: 8.6 x 5.9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (257 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #582,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Christopher Moore is the author of eleven previous novels: Practical Demonkeeping, Coyote Blue, Bloodsucking Fiends, Island of the Sequined Love Nun, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, Lamb, Fluke, The Stupidest Angel, A Dirty Job, You Suck, and Fool. He lives in San Francisco.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

34 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Schtinky VINE VOICE on November 15, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Christopher Moore has a fluid and yet compact writing style that is descriptive enough to flow swiftly without tedium. What separates him from the rest of the pack are the fantastical events he unfolds in his comedic tales.

A great Sea Beast awakens from his slumber, feeling a bit randy and ready to emerge. When he finds a tanker truck refueling at a gas station in Pine Cove, he mistakes its purring engines for a come-on signal from a female. However, mounting a gas tanker may have dire consequences, and our Sea Beast is badly burned in the process.

He makes his way to a nearby trailer park, where he alters his outward appearance to look like just another trailer while he heals from his tanker encounter. He parks himself next to Molly Michon's trailer, an ex B-Movie queen with mental problems. She is the only one who knows the trailer is alive, and promptly names him Steve.

The town of Pine Cove is a small, usually quiet tourist town, until Bess Leander, seemingly the queen of domestic bliss, commits suicide. Local psychiatrist Val Riordan blames herself for not paying enough attention to her clients, and promptly takes her entire patient list off of their antidepressants, while stoner constable Theophilius Crowe realizes there is something suspicious about Bess's death and decides to investigate despite the warnings of the county sheriff to just let it go.

`Lust Lizard' is rich with colorful characters, fantastical delusions, a crusty bartender, some wonderful tie-in's to Moore's `Practical Demonkeeping', blues music, and a tasty peek into the mind of a lustful Sea Beast named Steve. And when Steve's feelings of lust bleed out into the human population, feelings explode into passionate actions.
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15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Jason Birkby on January 27, 2000
Format: Hardcover
To steal the quote of the inside cover this book can be best described as "Bridges of Madison County" meets "Godzilla". Christopher Moore has a way of mixing zany true to life characters with unbelivable supernatural elements. If you are looking for a serious read. this is not for you, but if you allow your imagination to run amok, Moore's books are a true pleasure.
Moore introduces new characters, and mixes them in with some old, mainly from 'Practical Demonkeeping" to tell the tale of a man eating sea creature(named Steve) who falls in love with an aging "Xena" like actress in a small California coastal town. Sounds crazy? Yes, but it is true fun with a laugh a page writing style that only Moore has.
The characters are all likeable goofballs whose quirkiness and downfalls make their antics more belivable. It is a very quick read and is definitely worth the time. You won't put this book down with some earth-shattering revelations, just a few laughs and the feeling of being throughly entertained.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By RMurray847 VINE VOICE on January 24, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This was my first Christopher Moore book, but it sure won't be my last. Let it be said that there is no socially redeeming value to this book, unless washing away the cares of the day with a fast, enjoyable, FUNNY and even occasionally slightly touching read is redeeming (which I think it is!!).
I won't try to summarize the plot, but among the elements of it, you've got this "lust lizard," which is really more of a horny undersea dinosaur. Then the hero is a town constable with a horrible marijuana habit. There's a washed-up, insane B-movie star living in a trailer. A bar owner who is made up mostly of fake parts. A biologist studying rats. A corrupt sheriff. A pharmacist with unnatural yearnings for sea mammals. A blues musician with a giant catfish in his past. And so on. You begin to get the idea.
What's fun about this book is that aside from the wacky plot, Moore writes with such verve and energy. It zooms along, peppered with lots of little asides and casual observations which in many ways are the funniest parts of the book. And while totally crazy and unlikely, the characters become very endearing as the book goes on, and there are even moments of romance which manage to VERY briefly add a touch of seriousness to the goings-on.
The book is not for kids. It does have some bad language, and while not exactly explicit, the sexuality that is explored is odd, to say the least. But for an adult with a slightly off-kilter sense of humor, I highly recommend it. Now, on to ISLAND OF SEQUINED LOVE NUNS!!
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Mary Whipple HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 12, 2001
Format: Paperback
If you've never read a Christopher Moore novel, you just won't believe it--and that's the point! His wacky plots, gonzo characters, ebullient sexuality, and off-the-wall humor will perk up even the most jaded appetite. This novel stars the Lust Lizard, a huge sea creature, awakened from the deep by a slow leak in a nuclear power plant and drawn to shore, where he gobbles up depressed and nasty people (and an oil tanker and a few cars) and has an affair with Molly, aka Kendra, a human female warrior from old B movies. A town full of people whose anti-psychotic drugs have been replaced by placebos, a druggist who is in love with a dolphin, a sheriff who is running a drug processing plant, a constable hooked on pot, a schlock artist in search of new subject matter, and a cult of salvation seekers all contribute to the hyperactive insanity of this plot. This is a no-holds-barred, let-it-all-hang-out free-for-all which gives a whole new meaning to "the willing suspension of disbelief."
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