A Dirty Job
Goodreads ratings
4.05 / 5

"A Dirty Job" Summary

By Christopher Moore

humor | 387 pages | Published in 2006

Charlie Asher is a pretty normal guy with a normal life, married to a bright and pretty woman who actually loves him for his normalcy. They're even about to have their first child. Yes, Charlie's doing okay—until people start dropping dead around him, and everywhere he goes a dark presence whispers to him from under the streets. Charlie Asher, it seems, has been recruited for a new position: as Death.It's a dirty job. But, hey! Somebody's got to do it.


Estimated read time: 5 min read

One Sentence Summary

A man becomes a grim reaper and must navigate the world of death and dark humor.


In "A Dirty Job" by Christopher Moore, readers are taken on a darkly humorous and fantastical journey through the life of Charlie Asher, a mild-mannered Beta Male turned reluctant Grim Reaper. With Moore's signature blend of wit, irreverence, and supernatural elements, this novel explores the themes of life, death, love, and the absurdity of the human condition.

Brief Synopsis

Set in modern-day San Francisco, "A Dirty Job" introduces us to Charlie Asher, an ordinary man living a relatively normal life. However, everything changes when Charlie becomes a father and is suddenly thrust into the role of a Death Merchant. As a Death Merchant, Charlie is tasked with collecting the souls of the recently deceased and ensuring their safe passage to the afterlife.

As he grapples with his newfound responsibilities, Charlie discovers that he is not the only Death Merchant in the city. Alongside his quirky and loyal crew, including his goth assistant Lily and a pair of Hellhounds, Charlie embarks on a series of bizarre and often hilarious adventures. Together, they navigate the challenges of the supernatural world, battling demons, soul-sucking creatures, and even a cult of squirrel people.

Main Events

1Charlie Asher, a thrift shop owner, becomes a father and unknowingly inherits the role of a Death Merchant.
2Charlie encounters his first "death" and learns about his new responsibilities.
3Charlie meets Minty Fresh, a fellow Death Merchant, who introduces him to the world of the supernatural.
4Charlie and Lily, his goth assistant, encounter a soul-sucking creature called a "Morrigan" and narrowly escape its clutches.
5Charlie attends a Death Merchant conference and learns more about the rules and hierarchy of the supernatural world.
6Charlie discovers that his daughter, Sophie, has the ability to sense death and is being targeted by sinister forces.
7Charlie and his crew go on a mission to rescue Sophie from the clutches of the squirrel people cult.
8Charlie learns the truth about his wife's death and confronts the dark forces that have been manipulating him.
9The climactic battle ensues as Charlie and his allies face off against the forces of darkness.
10Charlie comes to terms with his role as a Death Merchant and finds a new sense of purpose in his life.

Main Characters

  1. Charlie Asher - The protagonist and accidental Death Merchant. Charlie is a kind-hearted and slightly neurotic man who is thrust into the supernatural world after becoming a father.
  2. Sophie Asher - Charlie's daughter, who possesses the ability to sense death. Sophie becomes a target for dark forces due to her unique gift.
  3. Minty Fresh - A charismatic and enigmatic Death Merchant who becomes Charlie's mentor and friend. Minty has a penchant for flashy fashion and an uncanny ability to navigate the supernatural realm.
  4. Lily - Charlie's goth assistant at the thrift shop. Lily is fiercely loyal and possesses a deep knowledge of the supernatural world.
  5. The Emperor of San Francisco - A mysterious and powerful being who resides in the city and holds sway over the supernatural forces within.

Themes and Insights

1. Life and Death

"A Dirty Job" explores the interconnectedness of life and death, challenging conventional notions of mortality. Through the lens of supernatural elements, the novel delves into the existential questions surrounding the meaning of life and the inevitability of death.

2. Love and Loss

The book examines the profound impact of love and loss on human existence. Charlie's journey as a Death Merchant forces him to confront his own grief and navigate the complexities of love in the face of mortality.

3. Absurdity of the Human Condition

With its dark humor and fantastical elements, "A Dirty Job" highlights the absurdity of the human condition. Moore uses satire and wit to comment on society's obsession with death and the futile attempts to control or make sense of the inevitable.

Reader's Takeaway

"A Dirty Job" offers readers a captivating blend of humor, fantasy, and introspection. Through its memorable characters and imaginative world-building, the novel invites readers to reflect on the meaning of life, the inevitability of death, and the power of love and resilience in the face of adversity.


Christopher Moore's "A Dirty Job" is a delightful and thought-provoking read that seamlessly blends the supernatural with the mundane. With its quirky characters, witty dialogue, and exploration of profound themes, this novel is a testament to Moore's unique storytelling prowess. Whether you're a fan of dark comedy, fantasy, or philosophical musings, "A Dirty Job" is sure to leave a lasting impression.

A Dirty Job FAQ

  1. Who is the author of 'A Dirty Job'?

    The author of 'A Dirty Job' is Christopher Moore.

  2. What is the genre of 'A Dirty Job'?

    'A Dirty Job' is a dark comedy fiction novel.

  3. What is the main plot of 'A Dirty Job'?

    The main plot of 'A Dirty Job' revolves around a man named Charlie Asher who becomes a Death Merchant after his wife's death and is tasked with collecting souls.

  4. Is 'A Dirty Job' part of a series?

    No, 'A Dirty Job' is a standalone novel.

  5. Is 'A Dirty Job' suitable for young readers?

    'A Dirty Job' is intended for adult readers due to its mature themes and language.

  6. What are some other popular books by Christopher Moore?

    Some other popular books by Christopher Moore include 'Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ's Childhood Pal', 'Fool', and 'Practical Demonkeeping'.

  7. Where can I purchase a copy of 'A Dirty Job'?

    You can purchase a copy of 'A Dirty Job' from various online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Book Depository.

  8. Has 'A Dirty Job' won any awards?

    Yes, 'A Dirty Job' was nominated for the Goodreads Choice Awards for Best Humor in 2006.

  9. Is there a movie adaptation of 'A Dirty Job'?

    As of now, there is no movie adaptation of 'A Dirty Job'.

  10. Are there any sequels or spin-offs to 'A Dirty Job'?

    No, 'A Dirty Job' does not have any sequels or spin-offs.