Noir

[Amazon Link]

Another risqué romp from Christopher Moore, this one set in 1947 San Francisco. Although the title says "noir", Moore semi-apologizes for it in a revealing afterword: he knows it has little to do with hard-boiled private eyes, scheming deadly dames, artful plays of shadow and light, helpless schlemiels trapped in a relentless storyline of inevitable doom…

Where was I? Oh, yeah: Moore describes the book's genre as "Damon Runyon meets Bugs Bunny". Accurate, and as near as I can tell, this genre consists of one book, this one.

A gorgeous dame walks into a bar… and the bartender hero, Sammy, is immediately smitten. The course of that true love is complicated by … well, many things. For one thing, the upcoming gathering at Bohemian Grove, where (as all conspiracy loons know) the true rulers of the world gather to wear togas and worship huge concrete owls. Trying to make an impression on the Bohemians is an Air Force General from … oh, oh … Roswell, New Mexico. He's got something for show and tell!

But that's not all. Sammy has an idea for a get-rich-quick scheme based on Chinatown's desire for venomous snake pee. That doesn't work out well. Humorless men in black suits appear.

And at certain points in the book an initially-unnamed character takes over from Sammy's first-person narration. The identity of the narrator may surprise you!

So it's a lot of fun. Also long. As in padded-to-meet-the-contracted-word-count long. That's forgiveable with Moore, because he makes the words funny.