Reposting this 2011 review because the Kindle Edition is the Amazon Deal of the Day and on sale for $1.99 today only.
Takeaway: Funny, but very irreverent look at the life of a ‘death dealer’.
This is my second Christopher Moore book. I picked up Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, on the recommendation of a friend. It is a novel about Jesus narrated by his childhood friend Biff. You can assume it was irreverent. But I enjoyed the humor and all in all, I thought Jesus was treated fairly respectfully in a satirical novel.
In A Dirty Job, Asher, a resale shop owner becomes a “Death Dealer”. Death Dealers are people that take soul containers (the physical objects that hold people’s souls once they die, usually a beloved possession) and then pass them on to a new person. The theology behind this is an odd bit of Tibetan Buddhism with Karma and reincarnation but unlike any actual religion that I am aware of.
There is some slight overlap between Piers Anthony’s On a Pale Horse, which also deals with a man that assumes the position of death. But in A Dirty Job, Asher is one of many regular people that become death dealers. Of course the concept of death and life are explored. But Moore seems more interested in the concept of the Beta Male, the guy that is never in charge and never stands out, but is always doing what it takes to get by. Asher is a good example of a Beta Male. He is a good father and would have made a good husband, but his wife dies immediately after childbirth which in some way leads to him originally becoming a Death Dealer.
I was not excited about the end. Part of the end I guessed from about a third of the way in, but another part of the end, I just didn’t like and did not think served a real purpose.
The book meanders around a little bit, but overall, if you like satirical humor and are fine with some bad language and sexual discussion (I listened to this on audiobook, but was careful to not listen with other people around because the language is BAD), then you should go for it.