• Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks; Reprint edition (May 10, 2016)
Series: Grim Reaper #2
In San Francisco, the souls of the dead are mysteriously disappearing—and you know that can't be good—in this delightfully weird and funny sequel to the New York Times bestseller A Dirty Job.
It seems like only yesterday that Charlie Asher took on a very dirty job—collecting souls and keeping the Forces of Darkness at bay. The new gig came with the Big Book of the Dead and a host of other oddities: creatures under the streets, an evil trinity of ravenlike Celtic death goddesses, and one very bad Underworld dude attempting to conquer humanity. Along with a cohort of other oddballs, Charlie faced off against these denizens of darkness—and met his own end. But thanks to Audrey, his Buddhist-nun boo, his soul is still alive . . . inside a fourteen-inch-high body made from lunchmeat and spare animal parts. Waiting for Audrey to find him a suitable new body to play host, Charlie has squirreled himself away from everyone, including his adorable seven-year-old daughter, Sophie, who enjoys dressing up like a princess, playing with her glitter ponies, and—being the Luminatus—spouting off about her power over the Underworld and her dominion over Death.
Just when Charlie and company thought the world was safe, some really freaky stuff hits San Francisco. People are dying, but their souls are not being collected. Someone—or something—is stealing them and no one knows where they are going, or why, but it has something to do with that big orange bridge. Then there's the Taser-wielding banshee keening about doom who's suddenly appeared while Sophie's guardian hellhounds, Alvin and Mohammed, have mysteriously vanished.
Charlie is just as flummoxed as everyone else. To get to the bottom of this abomination, he and a motley crew of heroes will band together: the seven-foot-tall, two-hundred-and-seventy-five-pounds-of-lean-heartache Death Merchant Minty Fresh; the retired policeman-turned-bookseller Alphonse Rivera; the lunatic Emperor of San Francisco and his dogs, Bummer and Lazarus; Mike Sullivan, a bridge painter in love with a ghost; a gentle French-speaking janitor named Jean-Pierre Baptiste; and former Goth girl Lily Darquewillow Elventhing Severo, now a part-time suicide hotline counselor.
With little Sophie babbling about the coming battle for the very soul of humankind, time is definitely not on their side. . . .
Irresistibly zany, rich in humor, heart, and spirit, Secondhand Souls is vintage Christopher Moore.
Charlie Asher is back in the most peculiar fashion. Audrey is still weird, and it got even weirder with her hair. Minty Fresh has a cousin named Lemon, oh you guessed it, and Lilli has found a new calling dealing with the dead, depressed, and suicidal. Everything is so out there that my jaw dropped on more than one occasion.
I liked the pacing with this book better than the first. The dialogue is still the most important part to the author's humor, but it wasn't as lengthy, and I felt the flow to this book to really drag me in.
The characters felt far more separated this time. In the first book they all felt like one person, they just served different purposes to the plot and had maybe one or two quirks to set them apart but all had the same sense of humor and what one would say, the other would too, kind of no distinction between them. This was much more distinctive, to me.
New characters like Wiggly Charlie are given kind of a Hodor aspect. Simple and sweet in their predicament, but in WC's case, ridiculous in the best way possible.
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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.