by Christopher Moore
Paperback: 405 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (March 27, 2007)
Annotation/Flashtalk: "Congratulations, you've been chosen to act as Death. It's a dirty job, but someone has to do it."
The birth of your first child is supposed to be one of the highlights of your life; however, for Charlie Ascher, a mild-mannered beta-male, and second-hand store owner the day turns out to be so much more. Charlie's wife Rachel dies shortly after childbirth, and Charlie sees a tall black man in a mint green suit by her bedside -- but no one else sees him. The man turns out to be Minty Fresh, a soul-collector, or as Minty like to say - "death merchants."
Charlie is coping with his grief and raising his daughter, Sophie, with the help of his sister and his neighbors, when strange things start to happen to him. People start to die and objects near them begin to glow red. Sophie begins to exhibit some unusual traits -- killing people by uttering the word "Kitty", and a very unlucky streak with pets, that is until she finds herself protected by two (big, like bear) hell hounds. Minty steps in to help Charlie understand his new responsibility.
In his new role, Charlie is tasked with collecting soul vessels of those people who passed, and then keeping them in his shop (which is the perfect cover for a death merchant) until the new owner comes in to buy it. He must strictly adhere to the names and dates that start showing up in his death datebook; for if he doesn't the underworld can take over. As the story unfolds, the demons of the underworld, or in this case the San Francisco's sewers, start to get restless. Charlie and Minty, with the help of a police detective and Charlie's employee Lily work to keep the balance in order.
Genre/Subgenre: Absurdist Fiction/Paranormal