Reviewed by Caleb Shadis
Secondhand Souls is the second book in the Death Merchants series and if you haven’t read any Christopher Moore books, I would recommend starting with the first book. This is my first Christopher Moore read and although I did enjoy it quite a bit, I think I would have enjoyed it more had I started this story at the beginning.
We start with finding out that the main character from the last book, Charlie Asher, who supposedly died, has actually spent the last year living in a 14” tall meat puppet with a small crocodile skull and a 10” shlong he wears as a cummerbund. And when he gets aroused, he passes out. This should give you some idea of the type of book you are getting into. A bit crass, at times vulgar and entirely funny.
Charlie Asher and his Buddhist nun girlfriend, Audrey, have spent the last year trying to figure out how to get Asher a new body to inhabit that wasn’t 14” tall and made of lunch meat. Meanwhile, his daughter Sophie is death incarnate with a mouth like a sailor with protective hell hounds that have gone missing. Leaving her relatively defenseless. This increases Charlie’s need to find a new body rather urgently. Minty Fresh has gone back to business as usual, and Inspector Alphonse Rivera, retired, opened a bookstore to be a Death Merchant and didn’t actually do his job. And Lilly got a job with the suicide hotline.
First, the Emperor of San Francisco shows up at Rivera’s book shop with a quest to write down all the names of the dead. Soon after, a banshee shows up and starts screaming about impending doom–it doesn’t look like things are going to be quiet for much longer. Rivera goes to meet Minty – the only other Death Merchant he knows of who is still alive – to discuss these developments. All the these people start sharing information and the picture being painted – for anyone still living or dead and still on Earth – is not good.
They need to find someone willing to give up their body, preferably a healthy male body, so that Charlie can help the group stop the apocalypse. Oh, and Audrey’s little friends, the squirrel people, are going beyond expectations and have a little revolt of their own. Adding just that much more chaos into the mix.
This book was funny and well written, even with the vulgarity thrown in. I enjoyed reading it and think that anyone who likes Terry Pratchett with a bit more sex and dirty words thrown in will enjoy it as well. If you’re easily offended, I would suggest finding something else. I will certainly be trying more of Christopher Moore’s writing in the future.
Caleb is a software engineer and amateur woodworker living in southern Minnesota. He has more hobbies than he has time or money for, and enjoys his quiet time reading.
Review copy was provided free of any obligation by William Morrow Paperbacks. No monetary or any other form of compensation was received.