Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Book review: Fluke

If you're already a Christoper Moore fan you should be warned that "Fluke" isn't what you're used to getting from him.

I started with "Fool" when I accidentally left the book I intended for reading on the plane in my suitcase instead of my backpack. I followed it with "Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal" which I can't believe I never reviewed. Both books start with well established stories that the author messes with. They're both hilarious. "A Dirty Job" didn't require the heavy background research that Moore put into "Fool" and "Lamb" but was hilarious nonetheless. That's what I've come to expect from Moore. I expect his books to be funny.

"Fluke" starts out feeling like the author decided to explore his interest in marine biology and wrote a book so it'd all be a tax write off. It's well written. It has a few chuckles. But not the level of humor I expected when I bought it. Even later in the book, when the story takes a turn for the weird, I just didn't find funny.

That isn't to say that it's not a good book. It is a good book. It's thoroughly researched, well written, and very enjoyable. It's just not what one has come to expect from this author.

In part one you have a pair of whale researchers operating out of Hawaii. Their research huts are leased to them cheaply from a strange old woman who claims the whales talk to her. She insists the whales want a pastrami sandwich. They have a sexy intern and a white Rastafarian stoner from New Jersey. One of them sees a whale with spots on it's tale that spell "BITE ME". Their lab gets ransacked and much of their data destroyed but no solid leads on who did it. This section ends with one of the researchers getting eaten by the "BITE ME" whale.

I have to be a bit cagey about what happens in parts two and three. I want to sell it without ruining the story.

The guy who got eaten doesn't die. The whale isn't your standard whale. It's an organic ship made to look like a whale. And it's been hunting the researcher. He's been trying to figure out what the whale song means. Those driving the whales want to make sure that nobody every figures out what the songs mean.

It's a good book. Really. He probably did write off his time visiting whale researchers as a tax break, but it seems that he went with the intent of writing the book instead of going on vacation first and writing about it second. And it paid off with a book that is educational as well as entertaining. But, like most episodes of Doctor Who, you have to know how to separate what is fact from what was made up for the sake of the story.

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