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A Dirty Job

by

A Dirty Job Cover

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Charlie Asher is a pretty normal guy. A little hapless, somewhat neurotic, sort of a hypochondriac. He's what's known as a Beta Male: the kind of fellow who makes his way through life by being careful and constant — you know, the one who's always there to pick up the pieces when the girl gets dumped by the bigger/taller/stronger Alpha Male.

But Charlie's been lucky. He owns a building in the heart of San Francisco, and runs a secondhand store with the help of a couple of loyal, if marginally insane, employees. He's married to a bright and pretty woman who actually loves him for his normalcy. And she, Rachel, is about to have their first child.

Yes, Charlie's doing okay for a Beta. That is, until the day his daughter, Sophie, is born. Just as Charlie — exhausted from the birth — turns to go home, he sees a strange man in mint-green golf wear at Rachel's hospital bedside, a man who claims that no one should be able to see him. But see him Charlie does, and from here on out, things get really weird.

People start dropping dead around him, giant ravens perch on his building, and it seems that everywhere he goes, a dark presence whispers to him from under the streets. Strange names start appearing on his nightstand notepad, and before he knows it, those people end up dead, too. Yup, it seems that Charlie Asher has been recruited for a new job, an unpleasant but utterly necessary one: Death. It's a dirty job. But hey, somebody's gotta do it.

Christopher Moore, the man whose Lamb served up Jesus' "missing years" (with the funny parts left in), and whose Fluke found the deep humor in whale researchers' lives, now shines his comic light on the undiscovered country we all eventually explore — death and dying — and the results are hilarious, heartwarming, and a hell of a lot of fun.

Review:

"Cult-hero Moore (The Stupidest Angel) tackles death — make that Death — in his latest wonderful, whacked-out yarn. For beta male Charlie Asher, proprietor of a shop in San Francisco, life and death meet in a maternity ward recovery room where his wife, Rachel, dies shortly after giving birth. Though security cameras catch nothing, Charlie swears he saw an impossibly tall black man in a mint green suit standing beside Rachel as she died. When objects in his store begin glowing, strangers drop dead before him and man-sized ravens start attacking him, Charlie figures something's up. Along comes Minty Fresh — the man in green — to enlighten him: turns out Charlie and Minty are Death Merchants, whose job (outlined in the Great Big Book of Death) is to gather up souls before the Forces of Darkness get to them. While Charlie's employees, Lily the Goth girl and Ray the ex-cop, mind the shop, and two enormous hellhounds babysit, Charlie attends to his dangerous soul-collecting duties, building toward a showdown with Death in a Gold Rush-era ship buried beneath San Francisco's financial district. If it sounds over the top, that's because it is — but Moore's enthusiasm and skill make it convincing, and his affection for the cast of weirdos gives the book an unexpected poignancy." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"The tradition of Death taking on a fumbling apprentice might seem fully plumbed by now in the literature of the fantastic, on a par with all those 'deal with the devil' tales. But if any contemporary humorist could be relied on to spin engaging variations on this riff, it would be Christopher Moore. Since his debut in 1992 with 'Practical Demonkeeping,' Moore has produced eight books that deftly blend... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"Dizzyingly inventive and hypnotically engaging, A Dirty Job is...like no other book I've ever read." Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked and Son of a Witch

Review:

"One of the antic Moore's funniest capers yet." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"This novel makes light of hellhounds, demons and outlandishly costumed squirrel cadavers....For all its tumultuous lunacy, A Dirty Job requires the occasional level-headed individual to provide a semblance of focus." New York Times

Review:

"A Dirty Job offers wit, chaos, subversion and a chance to flip death the middle finger." Portland Oregonian

Review:

"To keep a straight face while reading this book, one would have to be dead already and in the final stages of rigor mortis." Rocky Mountain News

Review:

"Smart people will be enormously amused." Library Jounral

Review:

"[T]his showcases Moore's most distinctive gift: maintaining a breakneck pace while seemingly just numbly fumbling along." Booklist

Review:

"Moore's signature tossed-off humor is in full effect...and it's easy to care about his warm, lumpy, honest characters. Because of that, we'll forgive the occasional talking bobcat with a torso made of ham. You heard me." (Grade: B) Entertainment Weekly

About the Author

Moore is the author of eight previous novels: The Stupidest Angel, Fluke, Lamb, Practical Demonkeeping, Coyote Blue, The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove, Bloodsucking Fiends and Island of the Sequined Love Nun. He divides his time between San Francisco and Hawaii. He invites readers to e-mail him at BSFiends@aol.com.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 8 comments:

OkGuy, March 21, 2013 (view all comments by OkGuy)
This is one of those books that is purely amazing, but few have read them. I have enjoyed this book ever since i started reading it. Every one needs to read this book. It´s a nonstop laugh from start to finish. Charlie Asher is a pawn shop in owner in San Francisco around 2006. He recently had a family member added, and another taken away. His life is lightened with his daughter, Sophie. Also, he learns he is Death! There are actually many Deaths, they have to collect precious items that belong to someone who has died. These are called ¨Soul Vessels.¨ This book is full of comedy, action, and adventure.
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Gypsi, June 5, 2010 (view all comments by Gypsi)
Charlie Asher is a nice, likable and (except for his exceptionally over-worked imagination, common in a "Beta Male") normal guy. At least he was normal, until the day he accidentally walked in on Death--well actually, one of his minions, the dapper and cool Minty Fresh--and finds himself as one of Death's Little Helpers as well, collecting the souls from the newly departed and saving these souls from unscrupulous use by a set of female demons and their wicked lord. Once Charlie gets the hang of it, he finds out that it's not such a bad job, makes him a decent living and gives him plenty of time with his daughter Sophie. There's just one flaw. . . it seems that the Sewer Harpies (as Charlie comes to call the female demons) are growing stronger. So strong in fact, that there will be no other course of action than a ferocious battle for the world, between the forces of good and evil.

Charlie is alternatively helped and hindered on his path by the sort of wonderful characters only Moore could create. There's Lily, the wise-cracking teenaged Goth and "creepiness child prodigy" (who quickly became my favorite), and Ray, an ex-police officer searching for love on Asian dating sites. Charlie's sister Jane -the Alpha Male that Charlie isn't- gives Charlie strength and love--all the while looking better in his suits than he does. Even Charlie's daughter Sophie, who grows up before our eyes, has some odd tendencies--bad luck with pets, one very dangerous word, her own personal hounds from hell and the typical child's memory for things that one was not supposed to hear in the first place. Of course, one couldn't expect her to be completely normal, given her father (who was convinced he saw a tail on her six-month sonogram) and the influence of her unintentional hilarious babysitters, Mrs. Korjev (and her bears) and Mrs. Ling (and her wok). Even Charlie's enemies are wonderful; I adored the Sewer Harpies with their bickering, evil ways, puppet shows and continually amusing antics. In addition, Moore throws in a few return characters from other books which was a thrill for the Moore fan. I was especially glad to see the Emperor again.

Charlie's experiences as a soul collector are both funny and touching. As is so often the case with Mr. Moore, a surprising tenderness turned up on some scenes. There is one scene in particular (the cheese scene--read it and you'll agree with me), that made me step back and say, "Wow! I need to be sure I appreciate life to the fullest!". Terminal illness, hospice care, nurses, and death all received a reverential treatment at his hands--while still being funny in that twisted Moore way. Read it!!
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jennnington, March 2, 2007 (view all comments by jennnington)
Ever since Fluke made such a big, ahem, splash, I've been enjoying Christopher Moore. So when Dirty Job came out, I wasn't surprised that I liked it. What did surprise me is that, as funny as his other works have been, this was the funniest. I laughed out loud at least every other page, which is not something I normally do. Combine that with some intense musings on the nature of the soul, transmigration, and death, and you get not only to laugh, but to think about what you're laughing at as well.
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(5 of 14 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780060590277
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Moore, Christopher
Author:
by Christopher Moore
Publisher:
William Morrow
Subject:
General
Subject:
Humorous
Subject:
Death
Subject:
Fathers and daughters
Subject:
Fantasy - Contemporary
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Science Fiction and Fantasy-Fantasy-Contemporary
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Hardcover
Publication Date:
20060321
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
A.”
Language:
English
Pages:
400
Dimensions:
9 x 6 x 1.25 in 20.16 oz

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Related Subjects

Arts and Entertainment » Humor » General
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Science Fiction and Fantasy » Fantasy » Contemporary

A Dirty Job Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$5.95 In Stock
Product details 400 pages William Morrow & Company - English 9780060590277 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Cult-hero Moore (The Stupidest Angel) tackles death — make that Death — in his latest wonderful, whacked-out yarn. For beta male Charlie Asher, proprietor of a shop in San Francisco, life and death meet in a maternity ward recovery room where his wife, Rachel, dies shortly after giving birth. Though security cameras catch nothing, Charlie swears he saw an impossibly tall black man in a mint green suit standing beside Rachel as she died. When objects in his store begin glowing, strangers drop dead before him and man-sized ravens start attacking him, Charlie figures something's up. Along comes Minty Fresh — the man in green — to enlighten him: turns out Charlie and Minty are Death Merchants, whose job (outlined in the Great Big Book of Death) is to gather up souls before the Forces of Darkness get to them. While Charlie's employees, Lily the Goth girl and Ray the ex-cop, mind the shop, and two enormous hellhounds babysit, Charlie attends to his dangerous soul-collecting duties, building toward a showdown with Death in a Gold Rush-era ship buried beneath San Francisco's financial district. If it sounds over the top, that's because it is — but Moore's enthusiasm and skill make it convincing, and his affection for the cast of weirdos gives the book an unexpected poignancy." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Dizzyingly inventive and hypnotically engaging, A Dirty Job is...like no other book I've ever read."
"Review" by , "One of the antic Moore's funniest capers yet."
"Review" by , "This novel makes light of hellhounds, demons and outlandishly costumed squirrel cadavers....For all its tumultuous lunacy, A Dirty Job requires the occasional level-headed individual to provide a semblance of focus."
"Review" by , "A Dirty Job offers wit, chaos, subversion and a chance to flip death the middle finger."
"Review" by , "To keep a straight face while reading this book, one would have to be dead already and in the final stages of rigor mortis."
"Review" by , "Smart people will be enormously amused."
"Review" by , "[T]his showcases Moore's most distinctive gift: maintaining a breakneck pace while seemingly just numbly fumbling along."
"Review" by , "Moore's signature tossed-off humor is in full effect...and it's easy to care about his warm, lumpy, honest characters. Because of that, we'll forgive the occasional talking bobcat with a torso made of ham. You heard me." (Grade: B)
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