A Dirty Job by Christopher Moore
I’m new to Christopher Moore and I picked this book up for a quick read on a plane ride after seeing it mentioned by complete strangers on a few web sites (now you know my standards). If you insist on reading this book in a relatively public place like I did, be forewarned . . . I almost passed an entire baguette through my nose as I tried to suppress my laughter. I’m not talking giggles, or even chuckles, but full blown tears-in-the-eyes, abdominal-muscle-pain kinda laughter. Not always, of course, but frequently enough to make the book a complete blast.
The story is about a guy named Charlie Asher, a beta male in San Francisco who wakes up one morning to discover that he’s Death (that’s right, with a capital D). The passage below is a good example of Moore’s writing – no worries, I’m not giving away anything . . .
“The Cadillac Eldorado Brougham was the perfect show-off of death machines. It consisted of nearly three tons of steel stamped into a massively mawed high-tailed beast, lined with enough chrome to build a Terminator and still have parts left over – most of it in long, sharp strips that peeled off on impact and became lethal scythes to flay away pedestrian flesh. Under the four headlights it sported two chrome bumper bullets that looked like unexploded torpedoes or triple-G-cup Madonna death boobs. It had a noncollapseable steering column that would impale the driver upon any serious impact, electric windows that could pinch off a kid’s head, no seat belts and a 325 horsepower V8 with such appallingly bad fuel efficiency that you could hear it trying to slurp liquefied dinosaurs out of the ground when it passed. It had a top speed of a hundred and ten miles per hour, mushy, bargelike suspension that could in no way stabilize the car at that speed, and undersized power brakes that wouldn’t stop it either. The fins jutting from the back were so high and sharp that the car was a lethal threat to pedestrians even when parked, and the whole package sat on tall, whitewall tires that looked, and generally handled, like oversized powdered doughnuts. Detroit could not have achieved more deadly finned ostentatia if they’d covered a killer whale with rhinestones. It was a masterpiece.”
Moore’s characters are terrific and the story is unusual. I could hardly put it down, and that’s saying a lot since I have the reading speed of an average kindergartener. Highly recommended.