[Amazon Link] Christopher Moore specializes in bringing the fantastic into sharp collision with the everyday world with humorous consequences. This book seems, at least at first, to be an exception. The only thing slightly out of the ordinary is when a whale researcher happens to note that the humpback he's observing has rather unusual tail markings: the words "BITE ME!" in foot-high letters.

No, this isn't a spoiler. It's chapter one, also (you'll notice) on the book cover.

The book follows said whale researcher, Nate Quinn, and his scientific teammates: Clay, his partner; Amy, their new research assistant; and "Kona", an even newer hireling, perpetually stoned, dreadlocked, speaking in a "mix of Rasta talk, pidgin, surfspeak, and …, well bullshit." Further investigation reveals Kona actually to be one Preston Applebaum from New Jersey.

One of Amazon's features is a list of "Statistically Improbable Phrases" (SIPs). They say: "For works of fiction, SIPs tend to be distinctive word combinations that often hint at important plot elements." For Fluke, the Amazon SIPs are: "snowy biscuit, whale cops, whaley kids, whale huggers, cetacean biology, humpback song, torpedo range, whale researchers, whale calls, dive computer, whale ship, back orifice, water guy, whale song, whale tail". That might give you a flavor of what follows.

Christopher Moore is a fine writer, and there's at least one well-turned phrase on each page, usually inducing at least a chuckle. Killer whales are "just four tons of doofus dressed up like a police car." When Nate has a very close encounter with a humpback, he observes that getting shoved into baleen plates by the whale's tongue "was like being smashed into a wrought-iron fence by a wet Nerf Volkswagen." Good to know these things.

A very fun read.

Last Modified 2012-10-05 5:26 AM EST