Second Hand Souls
By Christopher Moore
Grim Reeper, Book 2
Publisher: William Morrow Paperbacks Reprint Edition (Harper Collins)
Release Date: August 26, 2015
Genre: American Satire/Fantasy
Length: 371 Pages
About the book:
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.
A fan of paranormal books and any book that can make me laugh, I was very excited about reading Second Hand Souls by Christopher Moore. A huge fan of the artwork – common admit it – it’s eye catching – I read the description and thought it sounded like it would be hilariously funny and an overall hoot to read. While I knew it was the second book in a series, and that I had not read A Dirty Job, or any other book by Mr. Moore, I’ve jumped into many other series without reading the books in order and enjoyed them just fine, and while I did enjoy Second Hand Souls, I’m going to recommend, strongly recommend, that you read A Dirty Job first.Mr. Moore has a very distinct author’s voice and writing style. Filled with zany character descriptions, snarky dialogue and references to many of the characters introduced in A Dirty Job, Mr. Moore takes a decidedly irreverent look at life and death, but especially death. Mr. Moore has an end goal (yes, pun intended) about death, especially the fear of the unknown and I feel his sense of humor really tackles that subject well.While it took me a while to understand the primary characters, Charlie and his friends seemed a bit odd to me, I did find their physical descriptions interesting and the storyline of Charlie’s transformation unique. I also enjoyed reading about the Book of the Dead and about how the souls of the dead had to be collected. While I enjoyed a lot of the humor in the story, I was a little uncomfortable with some of the language used, in particular the “F” word and how often it was used, while it can be funny once in a while, if it’s used too often is ceases to be funny.Overall, Second Hand Souls loosely worked for me as a tongue in cheek look at death and our fears/obsession over it. Mr. Moore’s story reminded me that life is to be enjoyed to the end and that we don’t have to fear the unknown – after all it’s not like we get a choice – at some point we will all die. And Second Hand Souls has made me curious about some of Mr. Moore’s other books, and which ones I want to give a try.My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 Crowns