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Literature / The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror

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A heartwarming Christmas story by Christopher Moore.

The angel Raziel is sent down to Earth to grant the wish of a child during Christmas. As sickeningly sweet as this sounds, the best laid plans of mice and angels aft gang agly. Josh Barker the child whose wish Raziel ends up granting, has just witnessed the death of what he believed was Santa Claus and wishes for Raziel to bring Santa back to life. Simple enough right?

Long story short, Raziel's attempt at granting the boy's wish ends up having farther-reaching consequences than he had expected and brings forth the beginning of what may or may not be a Zombie Apocalypse.

This novel provides examples of:

  • Accidental Murder: The cause of Santa Claus's death is just a case of domestic violence that got out of control (He was hit too hard with a shovel).
  • Becoming the Mask: Molly when she's off her meds.
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: To be fair, the wisher is a traumatized child and the wish granter is an idiot.
  • Brain Food: What the zombies want.
  • Brainless Beauty: Raziel. Inhumanly attractive yet dumb as a bag of hammers. The child whose wish he grants tells Theo he thought Raziel was "a retard, or something."
  • Chekhov's Skill: Thanks to her former movie career and years of practice, Molly is very, very good with swords. This comes in handy against an army of zombies.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Tucker Case.
  • Christmas Episode: For Christopher Moore's series.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Raziel, Molly, and to an extent Gabe, who's more than a little disconnected from the normal world. Molly's Cuckoolander status is what prompts Raziel to seek her out, since angels, in his words, are attracted to lunatics because they can reveal their true nature without creating a breach of faith—nobody would believe a crazy person saying they'd met an angel. Fortunately for him, Molly had already figured out she couldn't kill him, or she probably would have tried. Again.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: The Stupidest Angel: A Heartwarming Tale of Christmas Terror is fucking rife with curses.
  • Continuity Nod: To Moore's other books, in particular Lamb, Island of the Sequined Love Nun, and The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove
  • Covers Always Omit A Lot: The part where Raziel raises the dead who attack the church is not really the focus of the book. That doesn't happen until the end. The book is really about following Theo Crowe as he investigates the disappeared Santa while dealing with his marriage troubles. But you would not guess that from all the book's promotional material.
  • Deus ex Machina: Via Reset Button. At the end Josh explains in better detail to Raziel that what he wants for Christmas is for everything to go back to the way it was before he saw Santa killed.
  • Dumb Blonde: Raziel, Raziel, Raziel. According to a character in another novel, Raziel is the Ur-Example of the trope, and he definitely lives up to it in this book.
  • Genre Savvy: When the zombies start attacking the church, Theo says that by now the townsfolk shouldn't question what is going and assume it is the simplest explanation, which he guesses is a robot attack.
    • When Tucker is bitten by a zombie, Josh points out that anyone bitten by a zombie turns into one, so they need to cut Tucker's head off before he becomes one. Fortunately it never gets that far.
  • Gift of the Magi Plot: An odd variation. At the start of Molly and Theo's relationship, she finally agreed to stay on her antipsychotic medication, which among other things prevents delusions of being an After the End Action Girl, and in return he finally gave up his pot habit. But when Christmas comes Theo wants to get her a priceless antique sword that would be absolutely perfect for her Action Girl persona. To afford it, he starts growing pot again to sell it, and falls off the wagon. Meanwhile, she's getting him a massive, elaborate bong. To afford that, she stops taking her meds.
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Josh's wish to bring Santa Claus back to life ends up bringing a whole bunch of other people back as well. As zombies.
  • Happy Ending Override: Val and Gabe, who got together after the events of The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, have split up by the events of this book, mainly thanks to Gabe's obliviousness and fixation on his work. Gabe is a mess.
  • Handsome Lech: Tucker again.
  • Hearing Voices: Molly is a schizophrenic actress who hears a voice she has dubbed "The Narrator" (it's not said if it is the same narrator as the book). Unusual for this trope, the voice helps her more often than it gets her in trouble. She can also hear the dead telepathically talking to one another in their graves; when one of them refers to her as a nutcase, she yells, "I am not!"
  • Jerkass: Dale Pearson is described as an "Evil Real Estate Developer," and introduced swinging a bag of ice at a salvation army collector(who happens to be his ex wife.) He's also the afformentioned zombie Santa.
  • Lampshading: A character remarks that the Red Shirts on Star Trek always get killed... and of course, the guy with the red Starfleet command shirt gets offed at the first opportunity.
  • Let's Get Dangerous: When Theo starts barricading the church doors and windows from the zombies while stoned.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Mavis's 'special' fruitcake. In her opinion a fruitcake should have just as much flour and dough as is required to make the pharmaceuticals stick together. Ingredients may include Vicoden, Ecstasy, rum, and whatever other narcotics she might have on hand. Theo tries to ban it because the previous year it had put six people into detox, but that's hardly going to stop Mavis.
  • Mall Santa: The Santa Claus Josh thought he saw killed is of course, a Mall Santa on his way home from work.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Zombie Santa
  • Our Angels Are Different: This one is a complete moron, for one thing.
  • Our Zombies Are Different: Type C.
  • Red Shirt: Literally invoked. One character decides to wear a Starfleet command shirt because it's a festive, Christmas-y red colour. Another character even comments on how the Red Shirts always died in that series. Guess who gets shot in the head when the zombies walk through the door? Here's a hint. He's wearing a red shirt, and it ain't the guy in the Santa suit.
  • Saving Christmas: A deconstruction of the Santa's Sick plot, taken to absurd degrees.
  • Scars are Forever: Averted. Molly's scar, which ended her movie career, is removed by Raziel as a kind of Christmas present. This actually moves her to tears, but the Narrator naturally breaks the moment:
    Narrator: You complete shit bag of sentimental saccharine.
  • Shaped Like Itself: The first line begins: "Christmas crept into Pine Cove like a creeping Christmas thing..."
    • Dale Pearson's statement that his Ex-wife is "A nutcase" is said as if he were declaring water is wet.
  • Talking Animal: Roberto the fruit bat, though the only other person he talks to besides Tucker is Molly, because nobody would believe Molly if she mentioned a talking fruit bat.
  • The 'Verse: The novel takes place in Pine Cove, California, a fictional location Moore is fond of using in his novels. The angel Raziel is a Recurring Character as well, and Tucker Case and his bat were originally introduced in Island of the Sequined Love Nun. Furthermore, Officer Rivera, who appears in Practical Demonkeeping, later ends up on the San Francisco PD, where he has repeated run-ins with Tommy and Jody as well as Charlie Asher. Asher in turn meets Minty Fresh, now running a record shop in the City, and one of Josh's friends muses that he wishes he could go to Hawaii and become a Rasta like his cousin Preston, who changed his name to Kona and got a job with a whale research outfit.