Around Christmas, every little boy wants the same thing: to get a glimpse of Santa Claus. In the tourist town of Pine Cove, California, 7-year-old Joshua Barker finally gets a look at the old man, but the encounter does not go as Josh hoped it would. No, Joshua did not expect to witness Santa be murdered in cold blood by a woman wielding a shovel. Not realizing that what he saw was the abrupt conclusion to a domestic dispute between the town’s drunken mall Santa and his ex-wife, Josh heads home and starts to pray for somebody to come save Christmas.
The craziness that comes next won’t be a surprise if you’re a fan of Moore’s. A dimwitted archangel shows up to help Josh (truly a match made in heaven) by bringing Santa back from the dead, but accidentally causes a zombie plague led by the resurrected Santa. It’s up to Santa’s murderous ex-wife, the town’s stoned constable, a hallucinating b-movie actress, a rogue pilot, and his pet fruitbat Roberto to save the town.
Christopher Moore has already proven himself to be the king of horror-comedy mashups (in About.com’s opinion, he has done for the horror genre what Douglas Adams did for science fiction), and The Stupidest Angel is no exception. Moore takes hilarious characters from some of his other works (you might recognize the rogue pilot Tucker and his fruitbat from Island of the Sequined Love Nun, or Raziel from Lamb), creates a bunch of new but equally hilarious characters, and tosses them all into a zombie apocalypse in his iconic town of Pine Cove.
One person trying to narrate for dozens of different characters involved in fast paced conversations is no easy task, but Tony Roberts nails it with his seemingly infinite supply of easily distinguishable voices. Moore’s humor is often quite subtle, but Roberts uses different tones to help emphasize jokes, and pauses at appropriate times to help these jokes sink in.
Good things usually happen when an author can put lively characters in absurd and interesting situations. The Stupidest Angel does just this, and is an excellent book by an author who’s at the top of his game. Whether or not you consider yourself a ‘zombie aficionado’, The Stupidest Angel is definitely a book worth your time. After all, how could you not enjoy a book that has a zombie Santa Claus doing battle with a domesticated fruitbat?