When young Joshua Barker sees Santa take a shovel to the head, he desperately prays for a Christmas miracle. Archangel Raziel has been assigned (okay well Michael was, but Raziel won it in a card game) to perform a Christmas miracle, but unfortunately for Josh Raziel doesn't have the brightest halo in the bunch. Before you can say 'Merry Christmas' Raziel had botched his mission and sent the residents of Pine Cove heading into Christmas chaos.
I've never read anything by Christopher Moore before, but this sounded so funny I had to pick up a copy. I'd heard Christopher Moore's writing described as a ruder Terry Pratchett, and having read this I definitely agree. The humour within this book is similar to Terry Pratchett in that it is sarcastic and quite dark at times, although Christopher Moore does take the jokes that little bit further. There is a note at the front of the book that sums up the writing style perfectly and reads: "If you're buying this book as a gift for your grandma or a kid, you should be aware that it contains cuss words ss well as tasteful descriptions of cannibalism and people in their forties having sex. Don't blame me. I told you."
In terms of the story itself, this is a great break from the usual saccharine Christmas fare (not that I don't enjoy that). IKEA obsessed zombies, talking fruit bats, bizarre experiments, dense angels and nutty retired actresses make for a hilarious read. Yes it's a little dark and disturbing at times, but sometimes black humour is exactly what you want.
Apparently several of the characters have appeared in Christopher Moore's other books, but I didn't feel like I'd really missed out on anything by not reading them. There is quite a wide cast of characters here, and I'm impressed that they were all quite well developed. However my favourite characters are Molly (a slightly nuts retired actress), Skinner (the dog) and Roberto (the talking fruit bat - who wears ray bans!)
All in all this is a dark and funny Christmas read, well worth picking up if you want a break from the 'oh so sweet' usual Christmas fare. I'll definitely be keeping my eye out for some of Christopher Moore's other books.