A Dirty Job is a novel perfect for the Halloween season – though I wouldn’t turn it down throughout the rest of the year, either. It’s funny, it’s dark, and it’s about coming to terms with being Death.
Well, a Death Merchant, to be exact. But, regardless, death plays a very prominent role in the novel.
I’ve always liked dark-yet-funny novels. I don’t know what exactly their appeal is for me – maybe that “dark” and “funny” aren’t things that are easy to pair together. But Moore does a wonderful job of meshing them.
At the same time, though, that meshing means this book isn’t going to be for everyone. It’s a very adult book, making jokes about everything from sex to death to murder. It doesn’t get into too much detail, but it gets into enough that I know not everyone will like it.
But for those who aren’t bothered by that sort of thing? I definitely recommend reading A Dirty Job. And I know I’ll be reading more of Moore’s novels in the future.
Oh, and one more warning. The cover on the paperback version of this novel glows in the dark. I just wanted to let you know so that you weren’t startled by it in the middle of the night. I won’t confirm one way or the other if that was something I experienced myself….
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 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.