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5.0 out of 5 starsEntertaining conclusion to an offbeat, quirky story
Reviewed in the United States on April 21, 2017
This, and the first book in this storyline, "A Dirty Job" are my two favorites out of the Christopher Moore books I own. You can't help but fall in love with little, foul-mouthed death-bringer, Sophie, her "goggie" companions, and her father Charlie Asher. I think the character development is what makes these two books so entertaining. The story is somewhat predictable, but in a good way. It is the characters and the quirkiness of the story that really draws you in. You end of bonding with the offbeat, quirky characters over the course of time (Charlie Asher, Sophie, Lily, Minty Fresh, Audrey). I still wonder why this has not been made into a movie...what a romp that would be. I haven't enjoyed reading fiction so much in a long time. When I finished the first book, I was so hoping there would someday be a sequel. When "Secondhand Souls" came out, I was overjoyed. So much so that I dove right in. Though a slow reader, I read more than half of it in a day. Then suddenly I slowed down, and put it down for a time, reading a few pages here and there. It was not because the story bogged down, but because I did not want to end the book so soon as I feared this would be the end of this story. So I finally finished and enjoyed every minute reading it. My one complaint would be that I could've used a few less sub-stories from the ghosts. and maybe more plot twists. Is this truly the end? Will we see these characters again in their own story, or will they pop up occasionally in other Moore stories? The ending seemed to wrap things up rather conclusively, though a door may have been left open. Either way, if you enjoyed "A Dirty Job", even though that book stands well on its own, you owe it to yourself to read this sequel.
Reviewed in the United States on November 22, 2019
Mr. Moore’s San Francisco is a weird happenin’ place. The souls of the dead are not being collected and chaos ensues. If that last sentence makes no sense to you, it’s no surprise. The author is known for writing odd funny stories with plot lines that are nearly impossible to anticipate because Mr. Moore’s imagination is two steps away from insanity.
‘Secondhand Souls’ has a generous amount of off-color humor and profanity. Despite dealing with death, ghosts, demons, and other assorted oddities, it is not a scary book. It is a sequel to ‘A Dirty Job’ which I read back in August 2010. However it is not necessary to have read the first installment to enjoy ‘Secondhand Souls.’ I don’t remember much about ‘A Dirty Job.’ That was nine years ago and my memory is not so razor sharp to hold onto the author’s outlandish storylines for that long period of time. In any case, the author fills in enough of the backstory from ‘A Dirty Job’ to get the reader up to speed. You just have to be patient because he disperses the information in bits and pieces as ‘Secondhand Souls’s story moves along. Mr. Moore’s works are fun forays into nonsensical laughs but don’t leave a lasting impact beyond tickling my funny bone. The story revolves around about a dozen characters, some with odd names like Minty Frost and Wiggly Charlie. To avoid the world being overwhelmed by darkness forever, the group must figure out where a year’s worth of souls have gone, collect them, and move them along to their next hosts before demons from the Underworld get to the souls first. It’s reincarnation given Mr. Moore’s eccentric treatment. The paperback edition includes a brief mostly silly interview with the author.
‘Secondhand Souls’ is not suspenseful reading. I use Mr. Moore’s work when I need some laughs. His books are so unpredictable and off-color, they always keep me entertained. The author states in the book’s interview, “I don’t like anything that’s done to be mean-spirited and I try not to do it. I feel that I can tease and make fun of something without attacking it.” Upon reflection, I realized that statement is at the core of Mr. Moore’s works. As oddly as it may sound, ‘Secondhand Souls’ has its share of blood, gore, and death but not in a way that is unsettling. Even its funeral scene has its giggles. If you find quirkiness appealing and like death being treated in a Monty Python sort of way, you’ll likely love ‘Secondhand Souls.’
I have read a few Christopher Moore books and own most of them. I very much enjoy Christopher Moore. I recommend his books to friends and family regularly. However, this is not my favorite. The characters, as usual, are totally lovable. There are parts that made me laugh out loud. But the story itself just did not live up to A Dirty Job. Secondhand Souls didn't improve it. It didn't make me want to know more/what happened next. This made me sad because I was very much looking forward to reading this book.
Some of my favorite parts of the story actually didn't even do anything for the plot itself. I don't want to spoil it for those that plan to read it, so I'll just say the "short stories' within the story itself is what I am referring to.
For me, at least, this book tells me that Christopher Moore is back. I first discovered Moore's work with A Dirty Job and loved it so much, I read his entire back catalog as fast as I could and loved every one. Moving forward, I liked his Fool Pocket books OK, but Sacre Bleu just didn't do it for me. I just couldn't get invested in the characters as I had with Moore's other books. With Secondhand Souls, we're back with the characters from A Dirty Job, and I loved reconnecting with these folks. While I understand some of the criticism of other readers about the plot being superfluous, the denouement too quick and easy, I still enjoyed this tale more than most any other book I've read recently. Moore's humor and snark are back in top form here, and spending some time with these characters I love was a real pleasure. Great read. As usual with Moore's books, I was disappointed when it ended. Hoping for more with this great cast of characters. We need to find out what happens with Sophie!
5.0 out of 5 starsA worthy sequel to one of Moore's best novels
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 9, 2015
I was afraid I had forgotten all about the characters and events from "A Dirty Job", but Moore eased me back in and before I knew it, I recognized my old friends Charlie & Lily & Audrey & Sophie and her Goggies & the Emperor and his men etc. These wonderful characters are joined by a crew of well-crafted new ones (or had I just forgotten them from the first book) ...?
The story is of the same high quality as before, and Moore tries to give all his characters ample space.
If you enjoyed the first book in the Grim Reaper-duology, you'll love this one.
4.0 out of 5 starsThis a the very delayed sequel to 'A dirty job' and it follows the new adventure of Charlie ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 12, 2016
This a the very delayed sequel to 'A dirty job' and it follows the new adventure of Charlie Asher. If your are a Moore fan, you will get what you expect - funny and crazy phantasy. I like Moor's style and enjoyed the book, although I find the cursing of some of the protagonists a little heavy. For me personally I can say that it doesn't help to relate to the character, quite the opposite.
5.0 out of 5 starsAlways good to Jump back into an established story
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 10, 2015
I have read all of Christopher Moore's books and have had quite a wait for this recent offering so I was glad to be able to revisit old friends from where the last book in this line left off. Funny witty and drool I really enjoyed this read. Hope you do too
5.0 out of 5 starslaugh out loud funny dialogue. It has the added bonus of massaging ...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 18, 2017
Classic Christopher Moore. Fast paced, superbly rendered characters, laugh out loud funny dialogue. It has the added bonus of massaging your ego when you spot references to literary greats. Very funny and very clever. Make sure you read "A Dirty Job" first though.