Sometimes it takes you nine years to write a sequel, and it takes the reader nine years to realize they needed a sequel! Secondhand Souls is the sequel to A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore. A Dirty Job is on my top ten favorite books ever; I even remember the day I found it. The sequel is decent, though like many series, not as good as the original. I’ll try not to spoil it too much, but some minor spoilers to follow. So without further ado…
by Christopher Moore
Genre: Urban Fantasy, Humour
Rating: 3/5 Moose
Set a year after Charlie Asher has died (to the world – to close friends, he is actually trapped in a the body of a 14 inch meat suit by his Buddhist nun girlfriend Audrey), San Francisco is starting to feel a shift in the balance. Souls are mysteriously disappearing, and it’s not because the Death Merchants are collecting them. Someone or something is stealing them, and the only clue involves the Golden Gate Bridge. The group from A Dirty Job must get together and figure out what’s going on, before the Underworld tries to come topside again.
THERE ARE SO MANY CHARACTERS. Let me see if I can organize this.
Charlie Asher – A former Death Merchant, beta-male, who is trapped in a 14 inch meat suit with a ten inch dong. Father of Sophie, the big D Death. He is trying to find a human body to move back to.
Minty Fresh – A seven foot tall death merchant. Owns a record store and a failed Pizza/jazz store. Probably the closest thing to a best friend that Charlie has, begrudgingly.
Alphonse Rivera – A newer death merchant and a semi-retired cop. Starts to realize something is wrong in San Fran, especially when the Emperor comes in looking to write down all the information of the dead who haven’t moved on.
Lily – A former goth who worked with Charlie and dated Minty. Had dreams of being a chef, but currently works at a suicide crisis center. She is grumpy and angry, especially since she has nothing magical or special about her.
Audrey- Charlie’s Buddhist nun girlfriend who trapped him in his current meat suit. She is in charge of the Book of the Dead, which is how she creates all the meat people.
Sophie Asher – Depressingly not a main character, despite being the Big Actual Death at the age of 7. Can kill any living thing by pointing at it and saying “kitty.” She is followed by two hellhounds (goggies) who have gone missing at the beginning of the book.
Jane and Cassie – Jane is Charlie’s sister, and Cassie is her wife. They are Sophie’s legal guardians.
Emperor of San Francisco and his dogs Bummer and Lazarus-
Wiggly Charlie/Bob/Meat People – The group Audrey created to save souls. Wiggly Charlie and Bob are the only ones who can speak.
The Man in Yellow – Also know as Lemon Fresh, who is Minty’s cousin. He’s the avatar for an underworld god. He’s also helping the Morrigan try to get back topside.
Mike – A Golden Gate Bridge painter who can see ghosts.
Rant, Raves, General Thoughts
I am actually not a Christopher Moore fan. I’ve tried a few of his other books, but I haven’t finished any of them but this one and A Dirty Job. Unfortunately, this book seems to fall more in the “why I’m not a Christopher Moore fan” than “YAY CHRISTOPHER MOORE” category. I need to also realize that if a book takes me longer than 4 days to read, I probably don’t like it too much.
I can’t express how much I love Charlie and Sophie, especially Sophie who has been living with Jane and Cassie. For instance, Sophie is currently vegan, which means she eats only chicken nuggets and cheese newts. I will read a third book if it’s about a grown up Sophie (or hell, if Sophie is the main character.) If it had been more about Sophie with such little action going on, I probably would have enjoyed this book so much more. I mean, quotes from Sophie:
“A little girl’s voice said, ‘I am become Death, destroyer of worlds!’ Audrey held the phone out for Charlie. ‘It’s for you.'”
“At ‘tooth fairy,’ Sophie popped her head out the door. ‘I will smack that bitch up and take hr bag of quarters! I will not be fucked with!‘”
“‘Their names are Death, Disease, War, and Sparkle-Darkle Glitter-tits,’ Sophie said. ‘They’re the four little ponies of the Apocalypse.'”
Yeah, the book would have been better if Sophie had been the main character. It wasn’t terrible, but very slow moving. I listened to a ton of Read It and Weep instead of reading this book, which serious makes me sad. The actual story – who is stealing the ghosts and why – is just very meh and kind of forgotten. I actually had to skim over parts – like the ghosts telling the stories of how they died – because I just didn’t care.