I've returned for more Moore. "The Stupidest Angel" is the shortest and quickest read yet from him, and it's hilarious as always. (Well, as almost always.) It's sort of a stand-alone and very twisted Christmas story, but it's also a kind of celebration of his work up to that point, including characters from quite a few of his previously unconnected novels (some of which I haven't yet read). It's all very silly, and all highly amusing.
I keep trying to figure out the best way to describe Moore's appeal to other people. I'll start sentences like, "It's really about his characters..." or "It's really about his goofy analogies..." or "It's really about the way he makes crazy things happen in real places..." or "It's really about his plotting." The truth, of course, is the sum of all these things. He has a great gift for writing dialog; he's able to quickly establish his characters' personalities and then start playing around with them; he always has just enough plot to make things interesting without overwhelming the jokes; and he's really a very skilled writer who uses his considerable talents to amuse you.
The Stupidest Angel returns to Pine Cove, the scene of Moore's first book, Practical Demonkeeping. It's a fun setting; the bucolic natural surroundings and the quirky town inhabitants provide a nice backdrop to whatever action occurs. In the first two pages, Moore perfectly nails the oddities of California Christmases: we feel the need for holiday accoutrements, like Santa and reindeer, but it's all just kind of wrong without the weather to back it up.
I don't want to give away the plot, even in a mega spoilers section... but there's a murder pretty early on in the book, and things just kind of go downhill from there. Let's just say that this ends up being a pretty classic parody of a movie genre, but that genre isn't the Christmas movie genre.
More than anything, this book makes me want to go back and read the other books before this one, to get to know the new characters that it introduced: Island of the Sequined Love Nun, the Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, and Lamb. I just want to be careful to not exhaust this trove of humor too quickly.