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Publisher's Summary

Charlie Asher is a pretty normal guy. A little hapless, somewhat neurotic, sort of a hypochondriac. He's what's known as a Beta Male: the kind of fellow who makes his way through life by being careful and constant, you know, the one who's always there to pick up the pieces when the girl gets dumped by the bigger/taller/stronger Alpha Male.

But Charlie's been lucky. He owns a building in the heart of San Francisco, and runs a secondhand store with the help of a couple of loyal, if marginally insane, employees. He's married to a bright and pretty woman who actually loves him for his normalcy. And she, Rachel, is about to have their first child.

Yes, Charlie's doing okay for a Beta. That is, until the day his daughter, Sophie, is born. Just as Charlie, exhausted from the birth, turns to go home, he sees a strange man in mint-green golf wear at Rachel's hospital bedside, a man who claims that no one should be able to see him. But see him Charlie does, and from here on out, things get really weird.

People start dropping dead around him, giant ravens perch on his building, and it seems that everywhere he goes, a dark presence whispers to him from under the streets. Strange names start appearing on his nightstand notepad, and before he knows it, those people end up dead, too. Yup, it seems that Charlie Asher has been recruited for a new job, an unpleasant but utterly necessary one: Death. It's a dirty job. But hey, somebody's gotta do it.

©2006 Christopher Moore; (P)2006 HarperCollinsPublishers

Critic Reviews

  • 2006 Quill Award Nominee

"Moore's enthusiasm and skill make it convincing, and his affection for the cast of weirdos gives the book an unexpected poignancy." (Publishers Weekly)

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  • Story
  • Ben
  • madison heights, MI, USA
  • 03-28-09

One of the few books I'd listen to more than once.

This book is spectacular comedy most deadly. It takes a newish view of death and rebirth and makes a great story out of it. For about a week after reading this I really wanted to use "Like bear!" in conversation.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

started strong, finished weak

Like many of the other posters, I bought this book thinking it would be mindless fun. It started on an absurd, but intriguing note, and quickly degenerated into plain absurdity that could no longer hold my interest.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Dr.
  • Lake Oswego, OR, United States
  • 11-03-08

A fun read - but nothing too serious

A clever and entertaining story about a "death merchant" and his unusual daugther. Although the literary style, and the narrator's style of reading, make the characters seem cartoonish and immature, the story slowly grabbed my interest. Although I can't say that I did too much "laugh out loud" chuckling - there were quite a few times i had a quiet laugh as I enjoyed Moore's unusual story. By the time it got to the end though the story was quite absurd and had lost much of its earlier quirky charm and appeal. Nevertheless, I recommed the book as a fun, but not too serious, read (or listen as the case may be).

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Gary
  • Windsor, CA, USA
  • 08-12-08


We listened from start to finish on a long car trip. Very entertaining.

  • Overall
  • Kathy
  • Parrish, AL, USA
  • 07-29-08

so so

Never thought of the 'beta male' mentality before and I certainly hope I never hear the term again (believe me, the story does it to 'death')! The story was frequently amusing and overall enjoyable, if you don't mind hearing the F word every other sentence. No surprises with the ending, just left me wishing I'd used my 12 hours in better pursuits.

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall


Charming, quirky, wonderful audio book....I highly recommend this.

  • Overall

Quirky and Utterly Hilarious

Christopher Moore might be my new favorite author. His skewed sense of humor had my wife and I in stitches for the entire length of the audiobook. If you laugh at things others cringe or gasp at, this book will be one of your faves. Highly recommended by a highly disturbed couple.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Steve
  • Kinston, NC, United States
  • 07-03-08

What a delight!

Funny, fresh and well written, this was a nice find after so many disappointments lately. Best audio since Vonnegut and Confederacy of Dunces.

  • Overall
  • J
  • 06-28-08

Slow start, interesting modern fantasy

The book got off to a slow start, chronicling the life of its beta-male protagonist (the term used in the book), but after the first hour or so, I had a tough time turning it off.

Some of the concepts were quite good, and original to my ears, dealing with the concept of the soul as well as the body as it relates to Death (and his/her minions).

The wrap-up was a bit obvious, but still fun.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful


What a fun romp! Innovative story, where enlightment isn't always fun, but can be very funny. Loved the characters, and Fisher Stevens as narrator can't be beat. Didn't really like ending of book, but somehow it worked with story. If you are looking for unconventional story, that will make you laugh, this is a great pick.