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A Dirty Job: A Novel

A Humorous Look at the Job of Being the Grim Reaper

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Dirty Job, Great Read

  • May 13, 2009
  • by
I saw the in-store promotions for Christopher Moore's novel, You Suck, so many times, that I decided that I would read one of his earlier works to gauge my interest in him.

The novel I chose, A Dirty Job, wasn't one that I would normally pick up, as it is, I suppose, a "horror" novel. But not like one that I have ever read. The book opens with the death of the main characters wife, shortly after she gives birth to their daughter, Sophie. But as the woman expires, Charlie Asher, the main character, sees a tall man, in a green suit, standing by her. The strange thing is that no one else saw the man, not the nurses, the security cameras, no one but Charlie. Soon, Charlie finds out that he is a Death Merchant. And since he saw him, Charlie is now a Death Merchant (and he gets a book: "The Great Big Book Of Death" to teach him the finer points). Death Merchants, and there are several in the San Francisco area, collect items from the recently departed. These items contain the souls of these people, which Charlie then sells, from his secondhand shop. But the people that buy them, only pick a specific item and only one. Thus, the soul of the departed gets transferred to a new, soulless person. But Sophie isn't exactly a normal little girl either. Every pet that Charlie purchases for her ends up dead. Very strange. And to this little macabre family, Moore adds some very nasty creatures of the Underworld, ones who will stop at nothing to rule the Earth.

This was an excellent novel. The writing had me laughing out loud. The way that Charlie handles his new daughter, his place as a Death Merchant, and the realization that he is the only thing standing between the Underworld and humanity had me in stitches. Also, Sophie's baby-sitters are great characters, one a Russian, the other Chinese. They add some real sparkle to the novel, and provide Sophie with some great catch phrases (you know, those impressionable children). The dialogue and the characters pulled me through the book. It is one of those books that I found hard to put down. If you have never read Christopher Moore, this is an excellent introduction. Now, I have another author that I have to follow. :-)

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More A Dirty Job: A Novel reviews
review by . December 17, 2011
Charlie Asher wants people dead. Or more accurately, he needs people dead. He's recently been recruited for the job of death merchant, which has him taking little personal tokens called soul vessels off the recently deceased and passing them on to their next soul.     In A Dirty Job, literary funnyman Christopher Moore takes on the themes of death and dying. Asher is his personal vessel for telling the story this time. At first read, there would apear to be a lot of chaos going …
review by . June 29, 2010
Christopher Moore's story of a recently widowed man who learns he must become a soul gatherer (also known as one of the levels of being a grim reaper).  The novel is filled with creative characters, one of my favorites being a fellow grim reaper named Minty Fresh, and a series of plot turn that keep you turning the pages long after you should be in bed.       Moore has been my favorite contemporary author for over a year.  I started with Lamb, …
Quick Tip by . June 30, 2010
I love Christopher Moore's books. They are just hilarious and they make you feel good about your place in the world and that you don't have to deal with the supernatural on a regular basis.
review by . July 21, 2010
it is a brilliant author that can somehow spin a tale that combines death, humor, love, and battle with sewer harpies from the underworld into a book that you simply cannot put down.  there are elements that make you laugh out loud (to the chagrin of your coworkers) to moments which remind you of the truth that every moment in life should be savored like a piece of cheese -       the book is set in the city of san francisco, and has a slew of lovable characters that …
Quick Tip by . July 21, 2010
while i love all of christopher moore's books, this one and lamb are my favorites. they are absolutely hilarious, but definitely have some deeper elements that are worth exploring as well.
review by . February 23, 2009
I really enjoyed this farsical look at the job of collecting souls and the battle between good and evil. Charlie Asher obtains a "dirty job" when he sees a soul collector at the bedside of his wife shortly before she dies. Strange things start happening to Charlie such as people mysteriously dying around him and red-glowing objects that only Charlie is able to see. Then names and numbers start appearing on a datebook and Charlies hears wierd noises from the sewer.     Charlie …
About the reviewer
Gregg Eldred ()
Ranked #72
It never ceases to amaze me how many doors have opened up for me since I started reviewing the books I read. Publishers now send me free books to read and review. Authors contact me. Kind folks at Lunch … more
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