BOOKS: Razzmatazz: Christopher Moore

·2 min read

Jul. 9—Christopher Moore is an acquired taste.

He writes irreverent, snarky, politically incorrect and laugh out loud funny novels.

"Fool" has inspired a series of Moore books based on the jester from Shakespeare's "King Lear."

Moore now has another set of characters that he likes to revisit.

"Noir" (2108) introduced bartender Sammy Tiffin, who is also a bit of an unlicensed private detective, and all of his bar buddies in post-World War II San Francisco. "Noir" was a fun send-up of 1940s detective novels with a bit of openly modern sensibilities, along with a slice of mid-20th century creature from outer space vibe.

In "Razzmatazz," Sammy and his gang of Cookie's Coffee Irregulars return. Someone is murdering the city's drag queens and drag kings, while the "Cheese," Sammy's girlfriend, is working on a project that may attract the attention of government agents as well moon men. Meanwhile, Chinatown is bustling with gang activity that stems back to the years following the San Francisco earthquake of the early 1900s.

Whether it's Shakespearean characters or impressionists or biblical characters or 1940s gumshoes, Moore writes in the same irreverent style for each of his novels, with a naughty, quirky sensibility that is likely to offend as it is to make some readers laugh.

"Razzmatazz" even comes with a "trigger warning" in its opening pages to let readers know the book contains mid-20th century characters who have views that jibe with mid-20th century American mores.

Still, "Razzmatazz" is a mix of Moore silliness and style, sentimentality and hodge-podge plotting. It's by far not his best novel, and any reader should read "Noir" before opening "Razzmatazz," but in a world where too many people take themselves far too seriously, Christopher Moore is still a much-needed treat.