Saturday, June 20, 2009

The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death-a Review

The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston. If you enjoy pulp crime fiction, you simply must read this one!

When I finished it last night I knew it was really special, almost genius. It might be pulpy noir, filled with characters like the protagonist, a loser who gets a job cleaning up after violent death for a living and gets involved in tawdry affairs with low-lifes, but it is brilliant. I actually enjoyed this one more than the ones about Joe Pitt, Vampire detective (no vamps were in THIS novel, except maybe the human kind who prey on emo).

Anyway, after I got used to the style (no quotation marks for dialogue, instead a hyphen just before the dialogue; broken sentences, like real life conversations), I could hardly bear put it down.

And the characters! Chev, L.L., Theodora, Dingbang (-BANG! IT'S BANG!), Po Sin, Gabe, Jaime, not to mention the almost unbearably antagonistic protagonist Web! Memorable, funny, tragic, all too human and real, like a fist to the gut or a brush of fingertips against the nape of the neck. Huston's writing is sharp, hard, but lyrical, almost poetic.

I wish I could write like him.

Highly recommended.

Edited to add a caveat: There are a LOT of four-letter words in this novel. Also gore and bodily fluids of one kind or another. Also some sex. If you are easily offended, you might want to pass this one up.


gaby317 said...

This sounds like an interesting read! I'll check it out - thanks for the review.

Linda Ellen said...

What an interesting book. I wonder how I would feel about the style of it. In French, dialogue is written with a hyphen too.

I have an award for you. =)