A Dirty Job: 08/24/06
Collecting souls after death is a dirty job but someone has to do it; that's the premise to Christopher Moore's current book, A Dirty Job. Most of these agents of Death (or Death Merchants) are antique dealers or junk shop owners like the protagonist, Charlie Asher. Every city has its own team of independently operating Death Merchants, each working from the "Big Book of Death" and the story focuses on a select few who live and work in present day San Francisco.
For fans of Moore's writing, A Dirty Job revises characters from Blood Sucking Fiends and Coyote Blue. While the book can stand alone, I was grateful to have recently read the other two books and see these characters come together under such unusual circumstances. People who have not read any previous Moore should still read A Dirty Job as he does a fine job of making sure the story stands on its own. All the back story one needs is provided.
Here is my BookCrossing review:
After finishing the book, read the acknowledgements. In them Moore explains the inspiration for the story, namely the deaths of a dear friend and two mothers. Taking what he experienced in the hospice he put his own supernatural spin and sense of humor to work to create a book that both celebrates life (and death) and pokes fun at the whole process.
He returns to San Francisco for this story and in many ways it is a sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends but one that plays out with some of the minor characters. M. F. has also moved to town and fans of Coyote Blue will enjoy what his character brings to the story. Best of all Moore took the time to capture San Francisco's personality which he failed at doing in Bloodsucking Fiends. He does it in getting the little things right, like the fog that always manages to roll out in October, the absurdity of a seven mile per hour cable car chase, and the odd ex-suburb that is the Sunset District.