Written by: Christopher Moore
Paperback: 405 pages
Publisher: Harper Collins
March 2007, $13.99
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.
I have read some of Christopher Moore’s stuff (Lamb is highly recommended), but somehow I never got around to reading this one. Can’t imagine why it took me so long. I needed a break from the usual urban fantasy and graphic novel niche I have recently decided to reside in. I wanted funny ha ha and that is exactly what I got. Granted there are heavy shades of Terry Pratchett and Dead Like Me for me, but I haven’t laughed out loud this much in a long time and that is always a good thing.
The story begins with Charlie Asher, a recently widowed beta male and consignment shop owner, discovers he has been recruited to help death. However, a little difficult when your goth employee throws away the ‘how-to’ guide to all things death. Throw in some other death dealers, ancient death gods who really want to party topside instead of being stuck in the sewers and a daughter who cannot seem to keep her pets alive for longer than a day and you have a good time in store.
Things I loved: I laughed a lot. One of my favorite parts in the book is the mini montage of Sophie’s pets with the final ‘Kitty’ moment. Hi-larious. There are many moments like this, ones that you cannot help but giggle over or recite as if others will understand what you are talking about. Also made me want to go read Mort again and watch the mini movie of Dead Like Me (because I haven’t seen it yet).
*The characters are wonderful from Charlie, To Minty Fresh, to the wonderful neighbors Charlie and Sophie have, to the Hellhounds and even to the Squirrel People. They are all wildly imaginative, funny and yet there is more than laughs to them. There is a poignancy if you look hard enough and that makes the book endearing while making you laugh. Shiny gold star Mr. Moore.
* I loved seeing some familiar characters like The Emperor.
* The dialogue is witty, the action funny and quirky and the pace even and quick. Of course anything with Mrs. Ling and Mrs. Korjev is top notch…like bear.
* I love that most people don’t have souls, that instead when they are ready their soul finds them. It is an interesting take without getting overly religious.
Things I didn't love so much: The squirrel people are a bit odd, almost too odd and yet somehow I didn’t mind all that much. Not that the rest of the book isn’t absurd enough, but it was a tad too much, though made for hilarious scenes in the little movie adaptation in my head. After all it is squirrels and other oddities in costumes.
Buy or Borrow: Buy. Buy. Buy. And by the way this would make a hilarious film. Though to be honest I suppose it depends on your sense of humor. I love snark. I love the absurd and the odd. So if you like those things I think you would enjoy this.
Part of: Stand Alone
Also Recommended: Lamb and Bloodsucking Fiends by Christopher Moore, Mort by Terry Pratchett
4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks
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