Reading Guide for Practical Demonkeeping

Practical Demonkeeping


Discover Chris Moore’s ingenious debut novel, in which we meet one of the most memorably mismatched pairs in the annals of literature. The good-looking one is one-hundred-year-old seminarian and “roads” scholar Travis O’Hearn. The green one is Catch, a demon with a nasty habit of eating most of the people he meets. Behind the faux Tudor façade of Pine Cove, California, Catch sees a four-star buffet. Travis, on the other hand, thinks he sees a way of ridding himself of
his toothy traveling companion.

The winos, Neo-pagans, and deadbeat Lotharios of Pine Cove, meanwhile, have other ideas. And none of them is quite prepared when all hell breaks loose …

Topics for Discussion

  • Travis O’Hearn is given immortality at a very high price. Would you make the trade-off? Would you be able to resist the power that Catch affords to his master? What would the best thing be about immortality? The worst?
  • Each person in the book sees Catch as what he or she believes him to be (e.g., Howard sees him as one of the Old Ones, Rachel sees him as an earth spirit). Are peoples preconceived notions of how the world works an asset or a liability in the face of adversity?
  • Practical Demonkeeping refers to Pope Leo 11th as having been involved in sorcery. There were eleven Popes in history who were tried for sorcery. Does this reflect the superstitions of the time, or were these witch trials used to shift power in the Church? Do you believe that religious leaders can abuse their power?
  • Muslim legend tells of a race of beings that was created to walk the Earth before man (the Djinn), yet they believe that the Old and New Testaments are valid holy books as well. Is there a chance that there are parts of the creation story that were left out of the Bible?
  • Augustus Brine has resolved to live out the rest of his life pursuing simple pleasures, without strife or anxiety, yet his philosophy is dashed to pieces when he is called to fight the demon; is the “Epicurean” way of life, “simple pleasures tempered by justice and prudence” possible? What would it take to live the Epicurean lifestyle in our society?