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A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

A Dirty Job (2006)

by Christopher Moore

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Death Merchants (1)

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5,043211894 (4.04)59
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English (202)  German (4)  Italian (3)  Spanish (2)  All languages (211)
Showing 1-5 of 202 (next | show all)
One of the funniest things I have ever read. ( )
  wmnch2fam | Oct 22, 2015 |
I normally love Christopher Moore and his writing style, but I just didn't find this one as engaging. It's set in San Francisco, his new(ish) home, and it just seems like a paean to all the things he loves about the city and I just don't share the same enthusiasm.
It's also less subtle than his stuff usually is -- the main character is happily oblivious to most of his surroundings and we get beaten over the head with a certain assumption he makes so many times that, by the third time (of many, many more times) you feel like shaking the character and maybe just dropping the book altogether.

But if you want to read something fantastic, have a look at Sacré Bleu or Fool by Christopher Moore. ( )
  mhanlon | Oct 2, 2015 |
I checked out A Dirty Job only because I'd won its sequel, Secondhand Souls through the LibraryThing Early Reviewers program. Charlie Asher was really getting on my nerves during the first CD, but by the time Mr. Moore parodied the opening to Tennyson's 'The Charge Of The Light Brigade' (Half a block, half a block, half a block onward...) I was won over.

The Emperor reminded me San Francisco's beloved 19th century Emperor Norton, which made me smile. (Charlie Asher, Beta male, is a US citizen too young to know that he should have been addressing the Emperor as 'Your Imperial Majesty,' so please forgive him.)

Death Merchants, squirrel people, Minty Fresh and his great car, death god & goddesses, little Sophie Asher... so much fun! I loved the way [almost everything worked out in the end. Thank goodness I didn't know this book existed before I got the sequel. I'd have been waiting nine years for more, and that would have been a shame.

Dog lovers, not only does this book rejoice in a nice Golden Retriever named Lazarus and an intrepid Boston Terrier named Bummer, but there are two massive Hell Hounds -- Alvin and Mohammed.

Mr. Fisher's narration was just right for the tone of the book. ( )
  JalenV | Sep 18, 2015 |
This was truly a weird story. I read this book on recommendation from others on Goodreads (I am trying to break out of my comfort zone). It started off quite well and I was really starting to enjoy it, but then it kind of fell flat and raced toward an ending. Charlie's wife dies in childbirth and he sees a strange man in her room. The CD he is bringing her disappears and he is confused. Things start to happen and he finds out he has become a "Death Merchant", His job is to retrieve souls from newly departed bodies and keep them until the person who is supposed to have that soul claims it. Things get strange when phantom beings like ravens show up and try to steal the souls. His friends and daughter are threatened and Hellhounds show up to protect his daughter. His babysitters are a laugh as well as his employees at his thrift store. It would make a good summer read, where you really do not want to think too much when you are reading. ( )
  Carlathelibrarian | Aug 18, 2015 |
This book was recommended to me as a cheerful read when I was feeling rather stunted and generally annoyed with everything. And low and behold, despite the seemingly not at all cheerful premise and rather gloomy and dark events it did lift me from my looming depression and with a new lust for reading.

The idea that souls can ingrate themselves into a cherished object upon their owners deaths is reminiscent of Warehouse 13. But unlike in that TV show, here the hunt for the haunted objects is not lead by a highly specialised governmental organisation but rather left to untrained, uninformed and maybe even unwilling individuals. Becoming a soul retriever is not something you choose, it is something that happens to you (for apparently unclear reasons). Once a person becomes a so-called death merchant, he or she might receive a set of instructions based on the collective experience of their predecessors but that is all.

That is a mighty responsibility! How would one cope? Especially when also entrusted with the care of a young child. Our protagonist does not handle it all very elegantly but certainly tries. On his way, he meets people he never thought he would interact with, but his new found allies bring him further than he would have gotten by himself.

The two hounds of hell are my absolute favourites in this story! They lead to many hilarious scenes. How practical it would be to actually be able to feed your dogs whatever is nearby and still have such healthy and lively pets.

The story in itself is not as strong as it could have been. I do hope that the ending and the mere existence of the (horrible sounding) squirrel people will prove satisfying in the sequel, which luckily almost comes out. There are many plot holes and unanswered questions. Maybe the interesting premise of life and death, and what constitutes a soul makes the readers expect more clarity than usual. Why bring these topics up if you do not have something interesting to bring to the table? This could be why the inconsistencies stand out so much. They did not take away from the reading pleasure however and might be vindicated in the second instalment of this story.

Throughout the language use is excellent, well-paced and whimsical. This is a fun read and I would recommend it to anyone. ( )
  JessicaSim | Aug 12, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 202 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (8 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Christopher Mooreprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Stevens, FisherNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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What you seek, you shall never find. / For when the Gods made man, / They kept immortality for themselves. / Fill your belly. / Day and night make merry, / Let Days be full of joy, / Love the child that holds your hand. / Let your wife delight in your embrace, / For these alone are the concerns of man. -- The Epic of Gilgamesh
This book is dedicated to Patricia Moss, who was as generous in sharing her death as she was in sharing her life.


To hospice workers and volunteers all over the world.
First words
Charlie Asher walked the earth like an ant walks on the surface of water, as if the slightest misstep might send him plummeting through the surface to be sucked to the depths below.
'I don't even want to make her eat her green beans for fear she'll KITTY me.'
'I'm sure you have some kind of immunity.'
'The Great Big Book says that we're not immune to death ourselves. I'd say the next time a kitten comes on the Discovery Channel my sister could be picking out caskets.'
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Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
The story centers on Charlie Asher, a "beta-male" (as opposed to "alpha-male") who leads a satisfying life as the owner and proprietor of a second-hand store in San Francisco. At the moment when his wife Rachel unexpectedly dies in the hospital shortly after the birth of their first child (Sophie), Charlie becomes involved in a new sideline of retrieving the souls of the dying, so as to protect them from the forces of the underworld. He only gradually realizes the ramifications of this business as various clues and complications unfold. Ultimately Charlie resolves to confront directly the forces of darkness.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0060590289, Paperback)

Charlie Asher is a pretty normal guy with a normal life, married to a bright and pretty woman who actually loves him for his normalcy. They're even about to have their first child. Yes, Charlie's doing okay—until people start dropping dead around him, and everywhere he goes a dark presence whispers to him from under the streets. Charlie Asher, it seems, has been recruited for a new position: as Death.

It's a dirty job. But, hey! Somebody's gotta do it.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:15:11 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

Charlie Asher, a neurotic and anxious hypochondriac who hates change, confronts the challenges of being a widower and a single parent when his wife dies of a freak medical condition on the day his new daughter, Sophie, is born.

» see all 3 descriptions

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