Title: Up Jumps the Devil
Plot Type: A Modern Fable
Ratings: Violence—4, Sensuality—4, Humor—4
Publisher: Ecco (an imprint of HarperCollins, 8/2012)
The protagonist—and sometimes the antagonist—of this novel is John Scratch (aka the Devil), who caused the separation of Heaven and Earth when he introduced sex to the other angels. (It's a long story!) At first, life on Earth was good for the Devil because he had his lady love, Arden, by his side. Soon, though, Arden grew to hate the violence and coarseness of the humans so much that she returned to Heaven. The Devil has spend centuries trying to get her back, and he has succeeded several times—but only temporarily. The Devil believes that if he can get the humans to shape up and improve life on earth, Arden will come back to him for good. We get a number of historical flashbacks as the Devil crosses paths with historical celebrities, including Pocahontas at Jamestown; Ben Franklin—investigating electricity in colonial Philadelphia; and a three-way meeting with Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Kennedy, and a Devil-himself-possessed John F. Kennedy.
Here's a description of the Devil's state of mind at this point in time as he uses his inner angst to win a blues-playing contest: "The Devil understood the secret of the blues....These blues weren't loneliness or the smallest of empty moments....This blues had enough problems without people feeling sorry for it. This blues wanted them scared to death, because somebody was going to PAY, goddammit! The Devil had been kicked out of HEAVEN! and had his true love stolen by GOD! and his true love had left him four different times and he hadn't seen her for three hundred YEARS! and when he played the guitar it was like strangling Creation because no one ever, EVER had the blues like the Devil had the blues." (p. 85)
Although the book has its flaws, I do recommend it for its great title character and its madcap story. Christopher Moore wrote a nice cover blurb, and I imagine that his fans will enjoy this book. And speaking of the cover, kudos to Allison Forner for the cover design and Brian Stauffer for the sleek and striking artwork. Click HERE to read my reviews of the books in Christopher Moore's VAMPIRE TRILOGY.