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Literature / The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove

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A 1999 novel by American humorist Christopher Moore. Set in the sleepy little town of Pine Cove (previously featured in the novel Practical Demonkeeping and later in The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror), it tells the story of drug dealers, dolphin-philiacs, psychologically unstable psychiatrists, retired B-movie stars, and the prehistoric sea monster who loves them.


  • Anything That Moves: Steve; he even tries having sex with a fuel truck at one point. Molly doesn't seem to mind too much, ultimately.
  • Attack of the Killer Whatever: The titular Lust Lizard (a.k.a. Steve). It's sort of a giant, deep-sea chameleon that feeds on clinically depressed people.
  • Bad Boss: Sheriff Burton shoots one of his subordinates in the face when he fails to flush Molly, Steve, and a whole group of 'pilgrims' out of a seaside cave.
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Winston Krauss, owner of the town pharmacy, has a thing for marine mammals.
  • Butt-Monkey: Theo. The county sheriff is blackmailing him into ignoring a meth shack on private property, the entire town knows he's a pothead and so nobody takes him seriously, Steve tries to eat him, and even Molly initially thinks he's messed-up.
  • Captain Ersatz: H.P. is the owner of the local cafe and is clearly supposed to be H. P. Lovecraft (or an Affectionate Parody of him). He even names all the dishes at the cafe after monsters from the Cthulhu Mythos.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Molly Michon, schizophrenic former B-movie actress and Pine Cove's resident crazy lady. Gabe the biologist also falls into this category, as he's extremely socially inept and focused almost completely on his work.
  • The Cuckoolander Was Right: Again, Molly, who's the only one who can communicate, more or less, with Steve. Of course nobody believes her at first when she says there's a man-eating sea monster roaming Pine Cove, but she didn't expect them to.
  • Deadpan Snarker: Most of them, but special mention must be given to Mavis Sand, owner of the Head of the Slug Saloon. The Narrator is also a fountain of snark.
  • Dirty Cop: Sheriff Burton, who uses Theo's pot habit to blackmail him into becoming town constable and runs a meth lab on an adjacent ranch.
  • Dirty Old Woman: Mavis, full stop.
  • Fantastic Comedy:
  • Funny Background Event: As Theo and Gabe are having dinner and talking about the strange goings-on, Gabe's dog Skinner is jumping up and down outside the window hoping to be noticed and fed.
  • G-Rated Drug: H.P. tried to develop an addiction to Ny Quil, since absinthe can't be bought in the United States. All it did was make him fall asleep at the bar a lot.
  • Gentle Giant: Theo is 6'6" and verges on Extreme Doormat, though that's mostly due to his pot addiction.
  • Hearing Voices: Molly has one she calls the Narrator, who she argues with throughout the book.
  • I Need to Go Iron My Dog: Molly, while trying to distract town constable Theo so she can go save Steve, tells him she has broccoli in the dryer. Given that it's her, he doesn't find this unduly odd.
  • Local Hangout: The Head of the Slug saloon, Pine Cove's only bar, which does booming business when Dr. Val cuts everyone off their meds. Theo eventually just turns it into his base of operations, since half the fights in town start there anyway.
  • Man Bites Man: Molly is first introduced when Theo has to go arrest her for biting a guy in the town watering hole. And by 'biting', it means 'has her teeth locked in his calf while he screeches like a mashed cat'.
  • Naked People Are Funny: When a group of depressed people seek out Steve (who eats depressed creatures), Molly tries to drive them off by saying nobody's getting past her unless they're naked. To her dismay, they just start dropping their clothes, and she's left shaking her head and wondering why they all called her the crazy one for so long.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero: Val certainly means well when she replaces her patients' medication with placebos; unfortunately, most of them actually need the meds, and she inadvertently screws up half the town.
  • No Dead Body Poops: The fact that the corpse of a woman who supposedly hanged herself didn't crap after death is the first clue that her death wasn't self-inflicted.
  • No Medication for Me: Molly first starts hearing the Narrator because she's gone off her meds.
  • Noodle Incident: At some point, Molly got banned from HP's Cafe after she attacked the espresso machine because it wouldn't quit staring at her.
  • Only in It for the Money: For a long time, Val is mostly in her line of work for the paycheck. It isn't until she (supposedly) loses a patient to suicide that she actually starts to really care. Unfortunately, what she decides to do next does not end well.
  • The Slacker: Theo, which is directly related to his being:
  • The Stoner: Theo's pot addiction goes back a good twenty years.
  • There Are No Therapists: Subverted; there is a therapist, she just manages to screw up half the town by replacing all her patients' antidepressants with placebos. Nice going, Val.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Molly, sort of. She was never a huge star in America (her movies only released to theaters overseas), and while she's given up any hope of returning to film her whole trailer is filled with movie memorabilia, and she still has her old costumes and broadsword.