By the rating, you must have known by now that this is one of the books where you can’t read another line, and can’t stop without knowing what happens next. This is the book where anything can happen, literally, because there is divine intervention at work.
The main characters are –
- an evil contractor (referred by everyone as such throughout),
- his ex-wife (who conks him one on the head in self defense with a shovel),
- a flying man (who flies with drug authorities) with his ray-ban-clad, talking pet fruit bat,
- the town cop (ex-hippie and trying to stay away from drugs, with a crop in his backyard),
- his wife (who is B-grade movie star along the lines of Xena, and for whom the lines between reality and character are very blurry without her drugs)
- A kid (who is the whole museebat ki jad, fed on movies and video games)
- and last but not the list, The Angel (the one mentioned in the title, the chocolate and marshmallow-loving central character)
The book starts with the Angel (who has gotten a chance after being passed over for a Xmas miracle for 2000 years) looking for a kid to fulfill his wish for Christmas. Of course being one who likes city-destroying kind of miracles, he has a problem. I mean, the instructions “Go to earth, find a kid with a wish and fulfill it” are very abstract, right? Also, his query for the child (“where can I find a child? Any child I mean”) leaves a lot for explanation. Luckily (for him), he can vanish before chagrined people can take any action. The another complication is, the other party in the process is… well a kid, and being a kid cannot be relied to get everything correct.
At the same time, The Kid is returning late from his video game session with his friend. While coming back, he witnesses the Evil Contractor (dressed as Santa) pulling a gun on his Ex-Wife, and the ex- beautifully conking him with a shovel. Convinced that Santa is dead, he rushes home, to find a stranger in trench coat (The Angel) waiting at home, happy to finally find a kid with a wish. You can imagine what his wish would be…
Here, the Flying Man hooks up with the Ex-Wife, and they dispose off the body near the town’s grave yard, where the deed happens. The Xena-like goes off her antipsychotic drugs to buy a gift for her husband, further blurring the (already hazy) lines between her on-screen persona and reality, which reawakens the Voice in her head, called The Narrator by her. The Cop has a crop of pot in his backyard to pay for a beautiful sword for his wife. People are getting cozy in the graveyard, much to the amusement of the dead in their graves, who has listened to all in the village while being dead, and have a lot to talk about amongst themselves, while passing comments on the technique of people involved and all.
The Cop gets on the case of The Kid who reports a stranger in his house, and runs over hard (at 50 mph) over the Angel, and is convinced that he is completely doped when the Angel just strides away from accident. On top of that, he lands with the missing contractor case, which turns to accident case as soon as he finds the contractor’s car near an dangerous sea-shore, and finally into a murder case when he recovers some fruit-bat hair in the car, and connects them to the Flying Man he met in Contractor’s Ex-Wife’s house that morning. But he is unable to do anything on this count, as The Flying Man (who flies with Anti-Drug police) finds a patch of pot in The Cop’s backyard, and holds that information over The Cop.
Everybody’s relationships, marriages etc. are strained and almost on the verge of breaking, so all of them end up in Town chapel for Singles Xmas Party. That’s when the Angel turns up outside (near the aforem. Grave yard) and not being given specific instructions, tries to raise the dead Santa from his grave. In the process, he makes a sort-of general gesture, and raises the whole graveyard occupants from their graves.
The ex-dead, now undead are very hungry, having smelled the lasagna made for the party from their graves. They decide to feast on the party-goers’ brains and then march over to IKEA to see the furniture there, led by the Evil Contractor still wielding his pistol. The rest of the book is given over to the townspeople’s attempts to escape from the mob of undead, where the brave are unveiled and chewed by or killed, and eaten by the undead. The most dangerous moment comes when the undead start giving out secrets (like the indiscretions of the townspeople) they heard while they still were sleeping in the graves, much to the emberrassment and chagrin of people in the party.
After a lot of failed attempts to get help, The Cop finally reaches the carpark outside the chapel and just on verge of getting inside the car is almost overcome by the undead mob. Just at that moment, his wife (informed of the situation by the talking fruit-bat) lands on top of the car, wielding the sword he gifted her for Xmas, and puts her daily training with the sword to good use, routing the whole lot of undead. The climax depicts The Angel granting another wish of The Child (instead of the botched one) to make everything “like nothing happened”, and winging it (literally) into sunset to get another chocolate to sustain him on his way home.
What with every living and (un)dead person (and the bat) being a bit more than crazy, this is one book which reminds you of the “Halloween meets Christmas” ride in Disneyland.
Quote of The Day:
These romans are crazy…
-Obelix, the Menhir-delivery man