the guardian Sat 20 December 2008
Pine Cove is a sleepy Californian coastal village with more art galleries than gas stations, in which everyone drives an SUV. When young Josh Barker witnesses Santa being murdered, or rather, when he sees evil developer Dale Pearson, playing the town's Santa in the Christmas parade, being dispatched by his ex-wife's shovel ... well, things get complicated. Combine the boy's earnest wish that Santa return from the grave with the best intentions of the stupidest angel in all creation and this Christmas in Pine Cove is certainly going to be one to remember. Dealing with the fallout from the angel's attempts to provide a festive miracle are a cop who has promised to stay off drugs if his sword-wielding lover will keep on taking hers, a Drugs Enforcement Administration pilot with a talking fruit bat, and a biologist with a penchant for mating rodents. Pacy and engaging, this is a comic fantasy crammed with sharp and funny one-liners from the man who has previously come up with the memorably titled Island of the Sequined Love Nun and The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove.