OK, so I didn't REALLY take a holiday. I've been right here, working six-day weeks and late nights trying to get the new exhibits up and devoting most of my spare time to doing laundry, paying bills and playing World of Warcraft (level 55 now, bitches!!!). But somewhere in there, I found some time to visit my favorite library and pick some stuff up. I'd heard good things about Christopher Moore, so I got A Dirty Job.
I finished it late last night without ever really connecting to it. File this under "It's not you, it's me:" when you read half a chapter a day, right before bed or while you're standing at Office Max AGAIN waiting for them to finish your large format copies because your wranglings with the large format printer that everyone insists actually works continue to be unsuccessful, it doesn't really make for a comprehensive reading experience. I'm starting to understand why many smart executives go for such trashy books: it's because they're easy. Who knows, amybe that explains the proliferation of reality TV, too: it's for people who've been thinking all day and just want to relax, dammit. But anyway, I digress.
A Dirty Job is the tale of Charlie Asher, a regular joe who runs a secondhand shop. He loses his wife to childbirth, but right before she dies, he catches someone in her hospital room stealing a CD he'd brought her. Turns out, that person was a Death Merchant, who picks up soul vessels from those who are dying or recently deceased, and makes sure they get into the right hands. And now Charlie's one too. You can learn all this from reading the dust jacket, so I didn't really give away much of anything, but I have to say that the exposition on all of this was a little too long. For about sixty pages, Charlie couldn't figure out why all the stuff in his shop was glowing, why people kept bringing him things and then dropping dead the next day, why none of the pets he bought his baby daughter survived, and you're yelling all along: IT'S BECAUSE YOU'RE DEATH! This probably wasn't Moore's fault: he had no idea how this novel would be marketed when he wrote it, after all, and probably very little control over the decision.
Premise fiction is hard to get right. At times, the premise here overwhelmed the story. But overall, it wasn't bad. There is a lot of humor in the book, for being all about death and all. There's a lot of outright goofiness too: his daughter has the ability to kill with a word, that word of choice being "kitty"; a fellow Death Merchant is a seven-foot tall black dude named Minty Fresh; stuff like that. Like I said, I was kinda "meh" about the book. I know there are a lot of real Christopher Moore fans out there and I can see why, but I have no strong feelings one way or the other after reading this. I would try another, but wouldn't rush to do so.