Charlie Asher is a regular guy (the “beta-male”) who is married to the love of his life, and they’re expecting a baby on the way. But just after the birth of dear Sophie, his wife Rachel dies, and when “death” comes to collect her soul (embodied in her favourite Sarah McLaughclin CD), he can see “death”. This is bad. This is really bad, says “death”.
Then, Charlie seems to be the cause of everyone dying around him. As he is trying to grieve for the loss of Rachel, and raise Sophie on his own, he is haunted by voices in the storm drains of San Francisco, randomly glowing red objects, and people dying. It doesn’t make much sense, until he receives “The Big Book of Death” from the “death” that visited his wife.
After he comes to terms with being a “soul collector”, Charlie starts to witness even weirder things. He beings to think that this may be getting bigger than this was for the other Death Merchants. The Sewer Harpies (death’s underlings) won’t leave him alone and they feed on soul vessels (objects through which a soul is passed from one human to another), and are getting much stronger. Everytime a Death Merchant (there are about a dozen in San Fran alone) misses a soul vessel, the Sewer Harpies get stronger… not to mention that his daughter can kill with the word “kitty” and has mysterious Hell Hounds protecting her.
This was a hilarious book by Christopher Moore. I found myself laughing out loud at the dialogue and characters’ responses to the bizarre situations. I would highly recommend this book — it’s a really interesting look at death and souls (not to mention humourous).