A Dirty Job


Author: Christopher Moore

Title: A Dirty Job

Genre: Horror

Publication Date: 2006

Geographical Setting: San Francisco

Time Period: Present

Series: No

Plot Summary: Charlie Asher is a neurotic thrift store owner whose wife has just died after giving birth to their first child. Full of grief, he worries about how he’ll raise his daughter Sophie, even with the help of his sister Jane. But after a brief encounter with a mystery man in his wife’s hospital room, strange things start happening to Charlie. Unseen by any of his employees, items in his shop begin to glow a mysterious red. When Charlie sees a man at the ATM machine with a glowing red umbrella, he tries to ask him about it, but the man immediately gets hit by a bus, and the police and other observers act as if they can’t even see Charlie. People and pets starting dying all around him, and Charlie starts to see dark shadows and hear voices from the sewers. Convinced he has become the Grim Reaper, Charlie sets out to find the man from the hospital to get some answers. What he finds out will put him and his family in great danger, unless he can hold off the evil forces that are trying to take over the world. But first he has to figure out how.

Although it is a horror novel, with plenty of death and evil, this book manages to have a lighter tone thanks to the author’s use of humor and quirky characters. The main character—who refers to himself as a Beta Male because of his wimpiness—usually has no idea what he is doing or what he is up against, which puts him in plenty of outlandish situations and lets readers laugh at heavy subjects like death and dying. Secondary characters are colorful and mouthy; even the evil sewer harpies banter. The storyline moves quickly and holds your interest, with plenty of plot twists and turns, especially at the end.

Appeal Terms: humorous, neurotic, outlandish, mythical underworld, spiritual, strong language, sexual situations, witty, fast-paced, quirky characters, action-oriented, complex, violent, plot-centered, racy, contemporary, details in San Francisco, plot twists, urban, cynical, dark, lots of dialogue, battle scenes, epilogue, resolved ending

Subject Headings: San Francisco, California – Death and Dying –Secondhand Retail – Children – Gay and Lesbian – Dogs – Celtic Mythology – Luminatus – Police Detectives – Buddhism – Reincarnation

Three Terms that Best Describe this Book: satiric, unpredictable, surreal

Three Nonfiction Titles:

The Guises of the Morrigan: The Irish Goddess of Sex & Battle by David Rankine
– Learn more about The Morrigan, the starring villain of A Dirty Job.

Buddhism for Dummies by Jonathan Landow
– Learn more about Buddhism and its teachings about reincarnation.

Lonely Planet San Francisco by Alison Bing
– Learn more about San Francisco, where the novel was set.

Three Fiction Titles:

The Hollow Chocolate Bunnies of the Apocalypse by Robert Rankin
– Depicts an animated toyland of living dolls stalked by a serial killer

Blood Lite: An Anthology of Humorous Horror Stories presented by the Horror Writers Association edited by Kevin J. Anderson
– A collection of short horror fiction by such authors as Charlaine Harris, Jim Butcher, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and Kelley Armstrong

A Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
– A diner in the middle of the desert is a portal to another dimension, and it’s up to a zombie and a werewolf to save the world.


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