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THE LUST LIZARD OF MELANCHOLY COVE by Christopher Moore

THE LUST LIZARD OF MELANCHOLY COVE

By Christopher Moore

Pub Date: April 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-380-97506-8
Publisher: Avon/HarperCollins

Godzilla comes to Pine Cove, nestled somewhere between Los Angeles and San Francisco, in Moore’s latest foray into the zany and the zonked. If Steve Martin ever wrote a novel, it might be something like Moore’s farcical labors in the field of psychotropic fiction. Here, one knows from the start that not only is nothing sacred to the author but also that nothing is important, and by mid-novel you’re doubtful that anything life-changing will come of this bemused cartooning. Even so, Moore’s latest is marginally less sick and more serious than 1997’s Island of the Sequined Love Nun. It’s September in Pine Cove. Cleaning freak Bess Leander has just hung herself. Investigating is stoned constable Theophilus Crowe. Meanwhile, Bess’s therapist, Valerie Riordan, who counsels a large number of the town’s population and keeps them tranquilized on a variety of psychotropics, gets scared by the statistic that 15 percent of all depressed people commit suicide. This means that perhaps more than 200 of her patients are slated for self-exit, despite her widely dispensed pills—for which she gets a kickback from the local druggist, a dolphin fetishist. When her qualms overcome her, Val instructs the druggist to replace the pills with placebos. As autumn leaves fall, her patients go into withdrawal and self-medicate, en masse, with alcohol. What’s more, elderly Delta guitarist Catfish Jefferson has just been hired to play at the Head of the Slug Saloon, where his marvelously sad blues add to the local scene’s seductive narcosis. Fifty years ago down on the Delta, Catfish first met the Sea Beast, a hundred-foot creature that loved his steel guitar and that has now risen from the depths, awakened by a sexy nuclear radiation leak, to blister the countryside with radiant energies of lust . . . . Patches of good writing break through the looniness and give hope for better things from Moore when his hare-brained imagination settles down. (Author tour)