In San Francisco, the souls of the dead are mysteriously disappearing - and you know that can't be good - in New York Times best-selling author Christopher Moore's delightfully funny sequel to A Dirty Job.
Something really strange is happening in the City by the Bay. People are dying, but their souls are not being collected. Someone - or something - is stealing them. No one knows where they are going or why, but it has something to do with that big orange bridge.
Death merchant Charlie Asher is just as flummoxed as everyone else. He's trapped in the body of a 14-inch-tall "meat puppet", waiting for his Buddhist nun girlfriend, Audrey, to find him a suitable new body to play host.
To get to the bottom of this abomination, a motley crew of heroes will band together: the seven-foot-tall death merchant Minty Fresh, retired policeman-turned-bookseller Alphonse Rivera, the emperor of San Francisco and his dogs, and Lily, the former Goth girl. Now if only they can get little Sophie to stop babbling about the coming battle for the very soul of humankind.
©2015 Christopher Moore (P)2015 Harper Audio
A Dirty Job is probably my favorite Christopher Moore novel, and it's a frequent re-listen in audiobook for me, partly due to Fischer Stevens' fantastic narration. I was so excited for this sequel.
While it was lovely to see some old friends (Minty Fresh! And I laughed out loud at Lemon), Lily (who has a much larger role in this one), Charlie, Jane, Sophie, the Emperor, Mrs Ling and Mrs Korchev, etc. - many of the characters seemed to have lost their heart or become a more slapstick version of themselves in Secondhand Souls: Sophie's urban slang/potty mouth was more jarring than funny to me; Jane was a one note joke; Minty was strung out and dropped the n-bomb way too much for me; the Emperor gets tasked with a list that basically meant nothing. Really? Moore couldn't have found a better use for such an awesome character?
The new characters seemed more to be plot devices than actual full-fledged characters. Mike Sullivan was sort of a Charlie-esque beta-male voice of reason from the first book, but in the end he was only an information delivery device and a convenient vessel. Lemon Fresh was awesome at first as we tried to guess his purpose, but I never really know how to feel about him either, and I wasn't thrilled about how Minty's character competed with him and got more abrasive/violent. Wiggly Charlie was the Jar Jar Binks of the book. Ugh. I hated the squirrel people and Bob/Thebe the Wise.
If you loved A Dirty Job, you will want to read this to see how the story ends. This is fast-paced, energetic (maybe even frantic), full of offbeat and ridiculous humor and snarky, irreverent verbal wordplay. Some of the jokes land well and others splat on their faces. There is more of everything - swearing, violence, action, romance, slapstick, and exposition... but I'm not sure that the final explanation really makes any sense. The great bits are really great, the rest mostly gets lost in the tornado of sound and furious madcap action. It felt like this sequel had a little less heart than A Dirty Job.
I felt like I was seeing old friends who I haven't really seen in a long time. I will admit I listen t0 Chris's books over and over. I move from A Dirty Job (my 1st book, by Chris) Fluke, You Suck and my favorite book ever "LAMB" and now I have this to add to that list. As a matter of fact I am about to start listening for a 2nd time. I finished it yesterday and as usual I will hear many things I didn't catch the 1st time because I was so excited to be listening and hearing certain people I would drift off remembering their quirks and peculiarities, them I had to back up
SPOILERS!!!! I will not answer this question because I don't want to ruin it for others. IT ONLY CAME OUT 2 DAYS AGO!
Charlie, Sophie, Dark, Minty, Riveria.....
I couldn't choose if I wanted to.
I think I've been smiling since I started. and I think I may have shed a tear or too. and when I had headphones on I did laugh out too loud a few times, a woman in a Dr's office asked me what I was reading and she took all the info and the list of my favorite C. Moore Books. the receptionist told me she was a voracious reader so I asked her to ask her how she liked them and to let me know. I LOVE TURNING PEOPLE ON TO CHRISTOPHER MOORE AUTHOR EXTRAORDINAIRE
Chris, will we have to wait another 9 years?
Please say no, it will be much. much sooner. and
I would have liked to complete this book to see what happened, the plot was really good but the vulgarity just never stopped every word it went on and on and drowned the story!
Christopher Moore is a complete genius. Combine that with the extremely versatile performance of Fisher Stevens and the result is pure magic. If you are looking for a witty and yet oddly complex tale of the meaning of life and death, with deep characters, insanely amusing phraseology, and deliciously performed voices, THIS BOOK IS FOR YOU. If you thought you liked mozzarella sticks before, just you wait.
I LOVE Christopher Moore's books. A Dirty Job is easily one of my favorite books. But this book is just so "meh".
I honestly feel like a publisher told the author that "the first book was awesome make a sequel" and the author was like "I have nothing to say", but then the publisher was like "here's money, find something to say."
So often you feel like the author was in the middle of writing a book of short stories, then the publisher forced this book, and the author was like "fuck it I need to get my word count up so let's include that baseball story I wrote here, and that Spanish/Russian love story here."
Narrator Stevens was so good in the first book but for some reason in this book he plays Minty Fresh as if he were a crack-head. In the first book Minty was, cool, suave, and unflappable, with a deep, silky tenor. But in this book, same author, same narrator, the same character is high pitched, nervous, insecure, and paranoid; *He sounds like a crack head!* What the hell? Why couldn't Lemon be the goddamn crackhead. If you like Minty Fresh the version in this book is going to be a huge disappointment.
The return of the Morrigan's is completely pointless. Any other mythical God could have been introduced. Their inclusion seems like a lazy plot device rather than characters central to a good original story. It seems like a "hey hey remember these guys? Ta-Da! SEQUAL! Money please..."
Read the first book and ignore this one.
The four books which came before Secondhand Souls which use many common characters raised the bar for storytelling, humor and great voice performance. I dove into Secondhand Souls with great vigor and expectations. Unfortunately, the story was a little formulaic and the audible laughs were less frequent. The hero of the previous installment was clearly Charlie Asher, whereas the main protagonist of this book would have been difficult to pinpoint having not read the previous book, "A Dirty Job." I was a little disappointed, but still enjoyed the book and Fisher Stevens did a wonderful job with the narration and did great work voicing the new antagonist, the humorously-monikered Lemon Fresh. The exploits of Wiggly Charlie were the highlight of the book, but those moments were all too infrequent. But Wiggly Charlie's dialogue stole the show much like Sophie Asher did in "A Dirty Job." There were also numerous opportunities to build a little suspense along the way, but were wasted in somewhat linear and obvious path.
If you haven't read the vampire series from Christopher Moore, it is a must read if you enjoyed this book in the slightest. Great characters and another fantastic narration job, this time by Susan Bennett. You will recognize Cavuto, Rivera, the Emperor with Lazarus and Bummer and Lily's friend, the inimitable Abby Normal.
Book Addict and a Fantasy Fanatic!
So it's been a year later in the story and some of the death merchants have been slipping on their duties. Thousands of souls are missing and a new Big Bad is in town to take advantage. Sophie has the mouth of a sailor and the cockiness of Kobe Bryant. Charlie has a unique story line that I won't spoil but let's say it's the funniest part of the book. Honestly this book isn't in the same league as the first, but it's still better than average. Now that we know the author isn't afraid to kill one of the major characters, it makes the suspense better as our favorites go up against a dangerous foe.
Brilliant book brilliantly read I wish there was a 3rd in the series. I have listened to the first book several times & think I will with this one too.
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