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It is a Dirty Job!


Christopher Moore’s Dirty Job is set in San Francisco, Calif., much like the vampire novels I have reviewed here and here. This book starts off with Charlie Asher and his wife Rachel, and they are about to have a baby. In one fateful moment, Charlie’s world is turned upside down and inside out. His wife dies and he is left to be a single parent to his daughter, Sophie. This doesn’t tell you anything the reader won’t find out in the first few pages of the book.

***Spoiler Alert***

Charlie looks up to find a 7-foot tall black man standing over his dying wife and he’s wearing a sea green leisure suit. Minty Fresh is a death merchant, and that is exactly what Charlie has become by seeing him. His wife dies, leaving him to parent his daughter alone. Charlie wakes up and finds notes on his bedside with people’s names on them. These are the souls he must collect within the allotted time frame. Their souls get caught in material objects that only he and the other death merchants can see glowing red. Missing those soul vessels can spell dire trouble for the residents of San Francisco. The trouble that emerges shortly after a series of missteps by Charlie and others in the book. And only the luminatus can save them and the city.

***End Spoiler Alert***

My husband and I listened to this audiobook on our commutes to and from work. It was a riot to listen to, and I had a great time roaring with laughter at 5 A.M. People driving alongside us on the highway must have thought we were crazy.

I just love Moore’s dark humor and his witty descriptions of his characters, their actions, the city, and the dark beings that live beneath the city. The Morrigan, the dark beings, play off of one another’s weaknesses and bumble around the city trying to steal souls and bring darkness to the city.

Moore’s imaginative language, plush with imagery, takes a witty look at death, life, from his 14-inch high squirrel people to the goth-girl turned chef to the Asian bride perusing ex-cop who works in Charlie’s Second Hand store.

One scene in particular will make you stand up and say I better get the most out of this life. I must enjoy that wedge of cheese, every little lick, nibble, and swallow. The plot and language had us running through the audiobook and refusing to get out of the car when it came time to get into the office. While the plot was a little predictable, I enjoyed every minute of this book.

Also Reviewed by:
Monniblog
Books & Other Thoughts
No More Grumpy Bookseller

Bloodsucking Fiends

Christopher Moore’s Bloodsucking Fiends is the first book in the vampire series with C. Thomas Flood and Jody. It’s too bad that I read You Suck first. However, even though I knew what happened at the end of this book, it was still a great read.

***Spoiler Alert***

C. Thomas Flood arrives in San Francisco from Indiana with stars in his eyes about his future as a writer in the city after living in small town, unionized Indiana. He arrives and stumbles upon an apartment for $50 weekly and he shares his room with 5 Wongs. The funniest part of this living situation is that the Wongs are illegals seeking a way to become legal citizens of the United States. They leave bouquets on his bed unbeknowst to Tommy.

After running into the Emperor of San Francisco and his men (a golden retriever and a terrier), he gets a job at the Marina Safeway, which will help him keep a roof over his head while he writes. He makes fast friends with the night crew, one of which translates what the Wongs, his roommates, are after. Tommy discovers they have asked for his hand in marriage and have attempted to court him with flowers.

Moving along in the story line, Jody is accosted outside of her work one evening and she black out, only to awaken as a vampire. She makes her way home to Kurt, her live-in boyfriend, who has little sympathy for her plight. She eventually bashes him on the head, drinks his blood, and books it to a motel.

***End Spoiler Alert***

These are just some of the uncanny events that occur in this book from ghastly murders to robbery to explosions and cops chasing the Marina Safeway gang. This book is chock full of fun and adventure as well as humor. Between this book, You Suck, and Dirty Job (which the husband and I are listening to on CD) Christopher Moore’s books are wrought with unique humor that will have every reader doubled over in the stomach pain of laughter.

Rose Red and the Haunted Diary

Joyce Reardon and Stephen King’s The Diary of Ellen Rimbauer: My Life at Rose Red was the latest audio book selection of my husband for our daily rides to and from work. It is billed as a thriller or suspense novel, but I found that the diary format did not lend itself to suspense over the audio. I’m not sure if I would feel differently if I had read the hard copy of the book.

The book begins with Ellen Rimbauer and her budding relationship with her future husband John Rimbauer, who is building a mansion to surpass all mansions in Seattle–Rose Red. The construction of the home is rittled in controversy as it is built on an Indian burial ground and contractors are killed on the site.

Her marriage to John is wrought with marital turmoil as she continues to uncover the depths of her husband’s perversity and sexual desire. While the premise of the house being haunted is obvious from Ellen’s visits to psychics in Chinatown and the various disappearances inside the home, I was not scared while this audio book played, and I found it a bit predictable.

The diary is entertaining until you get near the end when the supposed paranormal investigator, Joyce Reardon, interrupts the narrative to interject her reasons for eliminating portions of the narrative and to explain about speculation at the time of Ellen Rimbauer’s behavior after major events happen in the house, etc.

Overall, this was a good book to listen to in the car and maybe to pick up and read, but it is not something that will frighten you. It is interesting to see how Ellen learns how to take control of her life with the help of her African handmaid Sukeena.

If you have reviewed this book, feel free to drop me a link and I will add it to the review.

Bronzed Vampires, You Suck

Christopher Moore’s You Suck audio book is another find at the library that I should have taken out in book form. This book had us roaring with laughter in the car on the way to work over the weeks we listened to it.

***Spoiler Alert***

This is a vampiric tale of one young fledgling, Jody, turning her Midwest boyfriend, Tommy Flood, into a vampire so they can be together forever. Jody, who was turned by an older vampire, Elijah, teams up with Tommy and his co-workers at the San Francisco Marina Safeway to bronze the older vampire who has gone on a killing spree among the sick and infirm. Jody hopes to get away from the elder vampire and take Tommy into her dark world.

Along the way, Tommy starts getting used to his vampiric ways, but eventually “enjoys” some aspects of his nature too much for his Midwestern sensibilities. Tommy adopts the name Lord Flood with his minion, Abby Normal–o yes, you guessed it an old fashioned play on words. She is nothing short of normal by today’s standards with her Gothic clothes, her sarcasm, attempts to fit in with the rebels, and her love of the undead…but she also has a perky side and you eventually discover her favorite literary character is not from Lovecraft, but it is Pipi Longstocking, a perkier side of Abby.

Even Abby falls in love, and its not with a vampire or her gay friend, Jared.

***End Spoiler Alert***

Not only is their vampire hunting, love, sex, drugs, and stealing, but there is sarcastic humor, self-deprecating humor, and twists of fate in this book that are great. The narrator chosen to read this novel was well selected. Her character voices were believable.

What made the vampire book for me, beyond the vampires of course, was the narration, hilarious lines, and the character of Abby Normal. I would love to see an entire novel of her adventures from Moore; that would make great reading. I recommend this book, You Suck, in any form you choose. I’m going to have to go out and get the hard copy to add to my collection since I foresee myself reading it for the first time, only to re-read it again and again.

A Soldier’s Promise

I’m not one for audio books, but the husband couldn’t resist this one when we were browsing through the discount book section. The audio book, A Soldier’s Promise, chronicles the struggles of our troops in Iraq, particularly those of First Sergeant Daniel Hendrix. I probably would never have picked up this book off the shelf because I tend to find these stories drawn out and boring in parts. However, given the way this story was read, I may have liked to read the actual book because the writing style is not obtuse or too militaristic. We were listening to this audio book on and off for about three weeks in the car as we drove into work together, so it took us longer than it would have taken me to read it on my own, but he enjoyed it. This book is set just after the fall of Saddam.

***Spoiler Alert***

The beginning of the book starts off before Hendrix leaves his wife for duty and after his unit, Dragon Company, completes specialized training. Once in Iraq, there are a series of ambushes and other events that occur, but things start to turn around for the American troops when informants turn up at their checkpoint offering information about insurgents in exchange for money or other items. The troops come to expect any Iraqis to seek monetary gain for their information, until Jamil enters the checkpoint demanding to be arrested.

The book does not completely focus on just the American troops, and I think this is what caught my attention the most. The chapters alternate between the troops and Jamil’s family. His father is a leader of one of the insurgency movements in Husaybah, Iraq. His father and his neighbor are blood thirsty and eager to battle American troops. His father wants his son to join the insurgency and stage raids and use other guerrilla tactics against the Americans. Jamil is not interested in this life and eventually sees the Americans as the only way to escape his abusive father.

At the checkpoint, he is taken into custody and begins informing the Americans about his father and the local insurgency’s weapons and plans. The troops, after much debate, agree to stage a raid, ultimately capturing Jamil’s father and several others. The problem is that his father’s neighbor, Sayed (excuse the spelling here), is on the loose and even more blood thirsty than Jamil’s father.

Jamil, who garners the nickname Steve-O, becomes a great asset to Dragon Company and the marines that take their place, but in the process a 14-year-old boy grows up too fast and loses his family to the insurgency and Iraq’s battle with itself. Hendrix promises that he will one day get the boy out of Iraq into the safety of the United States.

***End Spoiler***

I was captivated by the images in this audio book and was captivated by the underlying message that as humans we are all striving toward similar goals. We all want to be loved for who we are, we all want to be independent of other’s rule and oppression, and we are all capable of seeing past prejudice to find the humanity within. We also all have the capacity to do the right thing when the time is right. I would recommend this audio book for long road trips or just commuting to and from work.