A Dirty Job Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Dirty Job

Newly widowed Charlie Asher discovers he has been chosen by supernatural powers to become a "death merchant", which complicates his life. Mind mannered San Francisco shopkeeper Charlie Asher visits his wife in the hospital the day after giving birth to their daughter Sophie, but finds a strange man in a green suit who tells him his wife has died.
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Devastated he does his best to run his small second hand shop and raise his infant daughter with the help of his sister and neighbors. But things get weird when he sees a man get hit by a bus, right after noticing the man's umbrella glowing red. Even though he was a stranger, Charlie realizes he knows his name; he wrote it on his bedside calendar in his sleep.

Meanwhile the man in green has sent a book to Charlie to explain his new predicament, it turns out that Charlie has been chosen to be a "death merchant" and the book is his manual. Unfortunately the goth shopgirl at Charlie's store has intercepted the book and taken it for herself.

Charlie continues to see people who are about to die, with glowing objects in their possession. As a secondhand shop owner, he finds this has a silver lining when he gets first dibs on the deceased's items. He sets the glowing items aside, uncertain as to their significance.

Eventually Charlie gets an anonymous call about the book, and confused he traces it to a shop where he finds the man in green again. After an altercation, since Charlie believes the man is responsible for his wife's death, the man introduces himself as Minty Fresh and explains he is a fellow death merchant. He explains that their job is to protect the souls contained in the glowing objects and pass the souls on to a new human vessel. But there are a group of harpies living in the city sewers that grow stronger with each soul they consume.

Things get further complicated when Charlie discovers that his infant daughter has become mixed up in the supernatural shenanigans. She has suddenly developed the power to kill with a word, and has two large black dogs with glowing eyes watching over her at all times.
Best part of story, including ending: It's very funny and irreverent, with a lot of fun supporting characters. It's also quite touching at times when it focuses on Charlie's loss and his love for Sophie.

Best scene in story: When Sophie first discovers her powers, she's just an infant so she has no idea what she is saying and the effect it has, but Charlie's panic makes it hilarious.

Opinion about the main character: He's doing his best under extremely trying circumstances, and really misses his departed wife and loves his new daughter. It's very sweet.

The review of this Book prepared by Maria Nunez a Level 11 Prairie Warbler scholar

Chapter Analysis of A Dirty Job

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Plot & Themes

Composition of Book Descript. of chases or violence 20%planning/preparing, gather info, debate puzzles/motives 30%Feelings, relationships, character bio/development 30%Descript. of society, phenomena (tech), places 20% Tone of book    -   humorous or laughable FANTASY or SCIENCE FICTION?    -   fantasy story on current Earth Magical Beings/Mental/Magical/Powers    -   Yes magical powers:    -   angels or other afterlife Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book

Main Character

Identity:    -   Male Profession/status:    -   small businessman Age:    -   20's-30's


Earth setting:    -   current (early 21st century) Takes place on Earth?    -   Yes

Writing Style

Accounts of torture and death?    -   moderately detailed references to deaths How much dialogue?    -   significantly more dialog than descript

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Christopher Moore Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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