Skip to main content

Cannonball Read #3: A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore

I really really wanted to like Christopher Moore's A Dirty Job. Nearly everyone I know has told me I just MUST read Moore...he's so quirky and funny and hilarious and quirky and I will LOVE HIM!

I'm not sure what my friends think of me to try and get me to read this book.

I'm not saying the story of Charlie Asher--a neurotic recent widower and single dad who discovers he is a part of the machinery of death--is bad, or that I didn't enjoy it. I just felt like the author was...trying too hard. I guess I can relate, because--and perhaps this is why my friends thought of me when they read this--when I was writing, I had the very same problem Moore seems to have: a raft of "quirky" side characters who totally overwhelm the relatively dull main character. I liked the side characters, particularly Goth assistant clerk Lily and fellow "Death Merchant" Minty Fresh. Their descriptions were clear and vibrant. I wanted to know more about them and watch them go about their lives. However, I found Charlie himself kind of whiny and annoying. I was rather disappointed when we had to leave some of the other viewpoints and go back to Charlie and his fussing. Plus Moore's constant return to the them of the neurotic, overprotective, ultra-worried "Beta Male" also seemed kind of like a cop-out to explain why Charlie was such a freak.

The plot in itself is not bad. There were many things I like and parts that I found funny. Moore is clearly a writer who knows how to cleverly turn a phrase. However, on the whole I found the book more or less forgettable. In fact, although I just finished it yesterday, it has left no particular dent on my memory--I know I read it, I remember what it was about, but I am left with nothing except the basic knowledge of what happened and a vague feeling of irritation.

I will probably give Moore another shot if only because I am tired of being asked if I have read that one about Biff, Christ's childhood pal yet. As far as recommendations go, I guess it's not bad as something to read on a bus trip or while stranded in an airport, but otherwise, there are probably a lot of better books out there.


Popular posts from this blog

CR3 # 17: Mount Misery by Samuel Shem

Mount Misery is the sequel to Samuel Shem's first book, House of God (review here). It follows Dr. Roy Basch as he leaves the House of God and moves to psychiatric hospital Mount Misery to begin his psychiatric residency. Unfortunately, it turns out that psychiatrists are just as crazy, confused, and often detrimental as medical doctors. As Dr. Basch cycles through the various sectors of the hospital (talk therapy, admissions, Freudian Analysis, drug therapy) he is horrified to discover that it seems everything he is being taught is not only wrong, but potentially dangerous. He begins to fall into terrible patterns of behavior, mirroring the problems his patients are having. Each area is worse than the last, with one doctor who thinks the best way to treat is to be aggressively hostile, one who cares only about insurance premiums and efficiency, one who treats with silence and "regression," and one who thinks the only viable treatment is to pump every patient full of exp…

CBR9 #5 Borgin Keep by Ron Ripley

I've read the entire Berkeley Street series, as well as the Haunted series, and I think this was definitely one of the better offerings. This time, former Marine Shane and his slowly growing band of willing (and unwilling) ghost hunting allies face their biggest challenge yet. While the ghosts of Borgin Keep are both very dangerous and very evil, Shane also must keep one step ahead of The Watchers, a ruthless and powerful organization who find him to be a threat to their shadowy goals.

As always, for me the best part are the characters. Shane and his ghost-hunting partner Frank (a former soldier/former monk) are joined once again by police detective Marie LaFontaine, who is a very tough woman determined to avenge a dead friend. I'm not as fond of Shane's girlfriend Courtney, but I understand her uses as far as character development.

The plot moves along quickly, and I found this book a little better fleshed out than a few of the previous ones in the series -- while I enjoye…

CBR9 #3: Missing Wives, Missing Lives by JJ Slate

There's a lot of discussion these days about things that are dangerous to women--is it heart disease? Is it stress? Car accidents? Drugs? Serial killers? Trans women in bathrooms?--but it seems like one of the biggest hazards to women are the men in their lives.

This book details the cases of thirty women who vanished. Stretching back to 1976, and with cases as recent as 2007, the women featured in this book seemingly disappeared off the face of the earth, never to be seen again. For some, the legal system was able to prove a case against the men in their lives, but for others, the search for justice may never be resolved.

The amazing thing to me was the stories that the husbands gave upon their wives' disappearances. "So, you had a fight, and she just left the house--at 3am. In her pajamas. Barefoot. Without her purse, or her glasses, or her car, or her TEETH? Leaving her small dependent children behind. And you decided to say nothing for three weeks? And while she was gon…