The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove (1999) is the fifth novel by Christopher Moore.
The town psychiatrist has decided to switch everybody in Pine Cove, California, from their normal antidepressants to placebos, so naturally -- well, to be accurate, artificially -- business is booming at the local blues bar. Trouble is, those lonely slide-guitar notes have also attracted a colossal sea beast named Steve with, shall we say, a thing for explosive oil tanker trucks. Suddenly, morose Pine Cove turns libidinous and is hit by a mysterious crime wave, and a beleaguered constable has to fight off his own gonzo appetites to find out what's wrong and what, if anything, to do about it.
Relation to other Moore WorksEdit
The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove is set in Pine Cove, CA, the same setting as Moore's first novel Practical Demonkeeping. Several characters from the earlier novel return in this one. A brief reference to the events of Practical Demonkeeping is made towards the end of the novel.
The Pine Cove setting and several characters return in the later novel The Stupidest Angel.
312 pages in thirty-three chapters (following a prologue). Chapters are further subdivided into sections by the primary character in each section. In chronological order by publication date, this novel follows Island of the Sequined Love Nun and precedes Lamb.
The original working title was Munching Wackos.
Characters are classified as:
- Main Characters - those who drive the plot of the story.
- Secondary Characters - those who significantly impact the main characters or have a recurring or significant role within the story.
- Minor Characters - those who appear briefly in the story, but do not play a significant role.
- Theophilus Crowe - constable of Pine Cove
- Molly Michon - former B-movie star
- Dr. Valerie Riordan - psychiatrist
- The Sea Beast (aka "Steve") - prehistoric beast
- Estelle Boyet - local artist
- Sheriff John Burton - San Junipero county sheriff
- Gabe Fenton - biologist
- Catfish Jefferson - blues musician
- Winston Krauss - pharmacist
- Bess Leander - housewife
- Joseph Leander - husband of Bess Leander
- Irving Nailsworth (aka "Spider" or "Nailgun") - Sheriff's office head of IT
- Mikey Plotznik - young boy
- Mavis Sand - Barkeep at Head of the Slug Saloon
- Skinner - Gabe Fenton's dog
- Jim Beer - rancher
- Betsy Butler - waitress
- Chloe - office assistant to Dr. Valerie Riordan
- Vance McNally - EMT
- Howard Phillips - owner of H.P.'s Cafe
- Sergeant Rich Sheridan - SWAT team member
- Detective Sergeant John Voss - Sheriff's deputy
WARNING: SPOILERS FOLLOW
Pine Cove suffers a major crisis when the town psychiatrist, Val Riordan — who has been haphazardly issuing prescriptions instead of dealing with the real mental problems of her patients — suffers a sudden bout of guilt and substitutes all of her patients' anti-depressants with placebos. At this same time, by coincidence, human-generated environmental activity stirs a prehistoric sea-beast from its underwater keep to come ashore.
In addition to its ability to change form, the beast exudes a pheremone that inspires uncontrollable lust among the residents of Pine Cove and also lures some of them as prey. After mistakenly trying to mate with a fuel truck (causing an explosion), the beast hides in a trailer park, attracting the curiosity of local crazy lady and former B-movie star Molly Michon, who builds a rapport with the injured beast.
Meanwhile, Theo Crowe, the town constable, investigates a strange suicide, the activities of his corrupt boss, and his adversely affected marijuana habit. When the beast (whom Molly has named "Steve") starts eating residents of Pine Cove and interfering with Theo's boss's meth business, Theo and Molly (who has become romantically involved with the beast) band together to make possible the beast's safe escape and to take down the boss at the same time.