I became interested in this book when I heard that it was funny. As I got into it and learned that it was filled with inappropriate and politically incorrect language plus described fantasy characters, I decided I wasn't going to like the book. Furthermore, the main theme of the book is death. How can that be funny? But I had a smile on my face all through the book and laughed out loud with great frequency in spite of myself. So I guess the book must be funny to do that.
The story is set in San Francisco and there are frequent references to streets and places in the Bay Area. I've spent enough time in San Francisco to conjure up a mental image of the various action scenes. This book helps to explain why so many of those homeless people in San Francisco go around talking to themselves. (the previous sentence is said tongue-in-cheek)
There is a strong emphasis in the book on the characteristics of a beta male. I could certainly identify with that!
Below is a succinct description of the book taken from the PageADay Booklover's Calendar for 2008:
As a beta male, Charlie is a guy who picks up after alpha males, avoids change, and worries about his children. But a peaceful life is not Charlie’s fate: He has been chosen to become a “Death Merchant,” a “secret agent of karma” who collects “soul vessels” containing the essence of the newly departed. Aiding or deterring Charlie in his new career are very large ravens; Lily the Goth girl; Ray, an ex-cop; Minty Fresh, another Death Merchant; and a pair of hellhounds. It’s all Moore’s way of satirizing death and our modern take on it, and it’s wildly fast paced and wickedly funny. A DIRTY JOB
, by Christopher Moore (William Morrow, 2006)