24/7 Demon Mart
Critters from the Poo Lagoon by D.M. Guay
D.M. Guay is back with another crazy short novel from her 24/7 Demon Mart series (which apparently doesn’t count as part of the main series because it doesn’t happen in the actual demon mart). This time, Lloyd is helping his mother set up a Hawaiian-themed party at the country club to thank a bunch of volunteers for their hard work. They are permitted to do this by perennial thorn in the side, Caroline, the snooty rich woman who uses the volunteers but detests them. As the reader can guess before page one, everything is going to go wrong.
Lloyd has invited his love interest Dee Dee, who has told the rest of the Demon Mart staff about it so that their manager the cockroach and the loveable demon giant centipede come to the party as well. This complicates things as the rest of the world is not supposed to know about demons, but it’s not the real cause of concern. The real complication is that the party is about to be invaded by water creatures such as trailer park mermaids and a plant guy similar to the Swamp Thing from the comics. It’s a great set of villains who really threaten the party, but of course, they’re only the beginning of Lloyd’s problems.
As if all the supernatural troubles aren’t enough, Guay brings all the sorts of mundane problems one can find at a party in the real world. Lloyd’s grandmother brings extremely high octane moonshine to the party and over-the-top drunkenness quickly ensues. And of course, rich and snooty Caroline is constantly creating the wrong kind of waves for Lloyd and his friends.
All in all, this is another excellent edition to the Demon Mart series and anyone who has enjoyed the first book should hurry up and read it. If you haven’t read the first book (The Graveyard Shift), what are you waiting for?
In Alpha Order
24/7 Demon Mart 1 The Graveyard Shift by D.M. Guay
I have a confession to make. While I read a fair number of books that are supposed to be comedic at least in part, the comedy often escapes me for most of the novel. That wasn’t the case here in The Graveyard Shift. I was laughing very early in the book and sharing the jokes with my son who would laugh uproariously at them second hand. Guay has a gift for the absurd and it really works in this first book of his 24/7 Demon Mart series.
The hero (Lloyd) is a loser. It’s not nice to say, but even he recognizes it. His major problem would appear to be pure laziness coupled with a remarkable lack of even a modicum of ambition. He seems essentially happy living in his parents’ house, playing video games, and going every night to a convenience store to sample one of their 100+ varieties of slushies. Oh, and I should also mention, that he is really, really, stupid. I’m not saying he has a low IQ, just that he’s really amazingly dumb—but weirdly enough, in a totally believable way.
So here’s the set up. Lloyd goes into the convenience store where he has a schoolboy crush on one of the attendants who probably doesn’t know he exists and while he’s there a demonic snake creature appears and tries to escape the store and he helps his fantasy crush stop this from happening. In addition to the snake creature, genuine magic is displayed. Keep this in mind for later.
Long and the short of it is that the store owner arrives and offers our hero a job at an extraordinarily good hourly rate. Since he is in desperate debt, and it will let him be near his crush, our hero accepts. It is very clear to the reader, and in all fairness, the demon hiring Lloyd tells him, that this store is not a normal place. There are genuine threats to life and limb here. There are demons involved. But Lloyd immediately zones out on the training video and never does get around to reading his employee handbook which tells him how to survive these dangers. He also has a really hard time accepting that the supernatural is in play in this store. All of which produces hilarious situation after hilarious situation. It’s as if he just can’t process magic and the supernatural even when he keeps seeing it.
The author also manages to show Lloyd growing as a person without having him overcome the qualities that have made him basically unsuccessful so far in life. So it’s sweet when his mother’s sheer joy that he has gotten a job keeps him from quitting. And it’s also nice to see him starting to want the things that other adults around him desire. Oh, and I should mention that even though Lloyd thinks he is a coward, he’s actually intensely brave and steps up when he has to. And again, credit to the author, this is done in a very believable way.
So, to sum up this review, I really enjoyed this book and am seriously looking forward to reading the rest of the series.
Hell for the Holidays by DM Guay
I enjoyed The Graveyard Shift so much that I was a little bit leery of giving another of DM Guay’s books a try. That doesn’t make a lot of sense, I know, but humor is difficult to pull off in a novel and part of me thought she could never sustain the heights of hilarity I found in The Graveyard Shift. But it was Christmas and I wanted to read a Christmas-themed novel and so I thought, “What the heck” and am I ever glad that I did.
This novel is a wonderful walking calamity slowing unfolding for the reader’s pleasure. It starts with our hero, Lloyd, enjoying some paid vacation for the holidays so he can escape the insanity that is his job where he keeps demons from escaping into our world. Then the problems begin. Too much snow is forecast on the night of his mother’s annual Christmas Eve Party. The in laws, who hate each other, all arrive early for Christmas because they fear that the snow might keep them away the next day and they want to be snowed in with the family. (They aren’t for the most part a festive group, so this is definitely a bad thing.) Then we learn that 13 murderers have escaped prison nearby and we just know they are going to show up for the party. Then Lloyd’s work colleagues (including the talking cockroach and a fairly nice giant centipede demon) also show up as does the snooty rich woman from the first book and you can see it all going downhill from there—and that’s before the trouble starts.
It’s over the top hilarity as Lloyd and his friends try to stop Christmas from being destroyed without anyone else finding out what they’re doing. Hell may have come for the holidays, but our heroes are determined to make sure we all still have a joyous Christmas Day.