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Hell's Half Acre (Phineas Poe #3)

4.18 of 5 stars 4.18  ·  rating details  ·  853 ratings  ·  33 reviews
Kidnapping, snuff films, amputee geeks and a requiem of lost love.Cast adrift after the blood symphony of Penny Dreadful, Phineas Poe is looking for answers in the form of a woman. He tracks Jude to San Francisco, where he finds her involved with John Ransom Miller, a wealthy sociopath with a mysterious hold over her. Jude is nursing her own revenge fantasy, but she needs ...more
Hardcover, 385 pages
Published September 10th 2004 by MacAdam/Cage Publishing (first published 2004)
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Hell's Half Acre by Will Christopher BaerThe Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey NiffeneggerKiss Me, Judas by Will Christopher BaerPerfect Alibi by Sheldon SiegelThe Chessman by Jeffrey B. Burton
MacAdam Cage
1st out of 50 books — 3 voters
Shadow Roll by Ki LongfellowGood Dog, Bad Dog by Ki LongfellowThe Girl in the Next Room by Ki LongfellowCaught Stealing by Charlie HustonAmerican Tabloid by James Ellroy
Best Noir of the 21st Century
73rd out of 132 books — 265 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,633)
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I don't really know what to think of this book. I'll try to form some sort

I really dreaded writing this because I wasn't really sure how to put my thoughts on this into a review. Whenever I feel negative or just..weird..about a book, the review seems a lot harder to do than when I love something. In this case, it's even harder because I can't really pinpoint exactly what this book did wrong. The structure was pretty similar to that of Kiss Me, Judas. From page one, to the end; almost
Jason P
A few dark and dusty years ago I was introduced to a fellow by the name of Phineas Poe, an ex-cop bent on drugs still trying to catch loose-leads, with a thunder cloud following his every step. Until...

Jude. Judas. Kiss me, Judas.

A mystery wrapped in pvc pants, cigarette hanging from her mouth, and a tab of ecstasy under her tongue. She's ex-military with all the training.
She can kill you five ways from Sunday before you even hit the ground. She's a bitch. She makes the girl with the dragon tatt
This book was had the potential to be a fantastic conclusion to the series, which is quite a feat considering a certain lacking in Penny Dreadful to make up for. Very dark, surprisingly funny, and somehow redemptive, Hell's Half Acre is brought to a screeching halt but what I can only describe as an incomplete ending - not an ambiguous ending to grow on with relevant questioning, but one that had me checking to see if my copy simply had a last few chapters missing. An inconclusive note can be ve ...more
Colin McKay Miller
Three stars, but reaching higher.

Omnibus review:

Will Christopher Baer is a more respectable version of Chuck Palahniuk. They’re very similar—both are dark, first-person storytellers with a predilection for the twisted underworld of sex and violence—but I’d place Baer more on the side of dark storyteller and Palahniuk on the side of shock writer. Plus Palahniuk bled one narrator into (many, but for sure his initial) four novels; Baer just accepted his love for that voice and made a trilogy.

The P
Oh, how I'd missed Jude, my biggest literary crush since Marla Singer or Lauren Hynde (though, she could dismember both with her bare hands). Just a mind blowingly good novel. I absolutely loved 'Kiss Me, Judas', and was very skeptical at everyone who told me the other books in the trilogy were even better, but after reading them, I completely agree. 'Hell's Half Acre' was definitely my favorite of the three, and that's saying something. I genuinely wish I could have my memory erased in some kin ...more
Given how much I loved the first two books of this trilogy, I stayed away from this book for a very long time because, well, how could I be anything but disappointed?

But I should not have stayed away, because, while I will admit that it's not as good as the first two (there are stray sentimental strands that Baer seems unable to help himself from excluding), it's still THE RETURN OF JUDE (who isn't in the second book, by the by), and so it's still entirely worthwhile.

I'm really looking forward t
With HELL'S HALF ACRE we're back to a Phineas Poe/ Jude story after the bizarre, surrealistic mindfuck that was PENNY DREADFUL. PENNY DREADFUL was definitely a little detour after KISS ME, JUDAS, and HELL'S HALF ACRE sort of gets us back on track.

Sort of.

There's still something a bit PENNY DREADFUL about HELL'S HALF ACRE. And that's the meandering tendency that Baer created in PD. We sort of start at D wind up at W, go back to A, and end on N.

That kind of thing. And the way everything goes, you
The new trends being explored in neo-noir are impressive. Perhaps no author/voice in the genre is more interesting and compelling than Christopher Baer. The staples of noir are all intact here, although not always immediately recognizable. The themes are dark and the action is violent. The protagonist is guided by a moral compass, which rusty though it may be, results in a great deal of personal conflict. Therein is the real attraction of neo-noir. Protagonist Phineas Poe is a protagonist living ...more
May 14, 2013 Linus rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: just read it.......
Terrific. My personal favorite of the trilogy. It's sort of cute how Baer tries to cover up certain links from the previous books (i.e., the sly hint at Jude's allusion to Penny Dreadful's Game of Tongues when she tries it on Phineas). But anyway… this book seemed like the most focused out of all three. There weren't so many fluctuations in plot for one thing. There was just one plot arc that took longer to develop, and allowed Phineas more of his own voice and interiority. I think what we enjoy ...more
Maaz Sheik
“Anything you can imagine is probably true.”

I had finished this book exactly two weeks ago, and still the book is clear in my head.
A great ending to the trilogy I must say and the ending scene is also the best ending of all three books. I won't write much so I'll just say that Poe shall be missed.

“You turn around and another chunk of your life drifts by like unrecognized trash and it was never yours to begin with.”
This is my second attempt to finish this book.

Despite - or maybe because of its manic energy, this books reads at a fast clip. Not even a day and I'm already past the halfway mark, doggedly following the distracted (imagined?) misadventures of Kiss Me, Judas's ex-cop antihero protagonist Phineas Poe despite my internal clock's best efforts to start my nightly allotment of sweet, sweet sleep. Other readers accustomed to light, airy things might find the narrative of drugs, sex, violence appaling.
Aug 22, 2008 Carol is currently reading it
So far, this is disappointing. Hell's Half Acre is the third in a series of trippy thrillers by a guy a went to high school with. The tales are of Phineas Poe, a junkie ex-cop. The first in the series is Kiss Me, Judas, which I can recommend for a good ride, crisp and surprising. In the first book our protagonist gets his kidney stolen by a beautiful assassin, who he later falls in love with. The second novel follows easily with the prerequisite violence, drugs, sick attitude towards women. In t ...more
More excellent, dark writing
i try not to review the same author more than once on here, but i will break these rules for my favorites. of which baer is most certainly one. the rad conclusion to the phineas poe trilogy, it's every bit as dark and weird as the others, but with more tom waits references. and that's always good by me.
I really enjoyed the way WCB continued Poe's story bringing you back to the secondary characters of Kiss Me Judas. It was a great escape from my personal reality and his writing style was adjusted from the first book to the second to clarify the sudden scene changes and internal character shifts.
Worth reading. The film was intriguing and unsettling, and the last half of the book was very captivating. However, the whole trilogy just seems so disjointed. There were some very interesting ideas and stories, but nothing seemed to fit, and there really didn't seem to be an end.
Better than Penny Dreadful but still not measuring up to Kiss Me, Judas, Hell's Half Acre is a solid installment in the Phineas Poe saga. Baer, as I said before, sets a mood and doesn't go where you want him to which amplifies the sense of discomfort his novels engender.
Nov 19, 2007 Robb rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Noir fans, dark fiction
Shelves: 2007, favorites
Bring back Jude, throw in some Apotemnophilia, and you've got something I find staggeringly better than either of the previous two. The end was great, the middle was great, and the beginning was great. Awesome book, and awesome series.
Best book I've read in years. He goes way out there. Makes you wish a world like this really existed.

But you should read Kiss Me Judas first, but its not as good. You just need it for the context.
Third and final in the Phineas Poe trilogy, and just as dark and disturbing as the first two (Kiss Me, Judas and Penny Dreadful). They're not for everybody, but they do hold your interest throughout.
Livius Nedin
The third and final installment of the Phineas Poe trilogy. HHA gives us another opportunity to hug Phineas and it brings the return of Jude. I can't recommend this trilogy enough.
Matthew Morrison
I loved this. It's weird and a little graphically violent, but he writes like a poet. My favorite of the Phineas Poe books.
Lewis Williams
A really good conclusion to the Phineas Poe trilogy. Maybe a little rushed in conclusion, but still very good.
Sep 16, 2007 Marie rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: neo noir fans, fans of violence and drug addled heroes
Makes it glaringly clear that the second book suffered from lack of Jude! Loved the way the series ended.
Carlos Lavín
What the fuck?

...And I do intend to ramble about this book and the whole trilogy. Eventually.
Richard Thomas
The third in the trilogy, neo-noir fiction that does not disappoint. Baer is the master.
Justin Nixon
Good book. Penny Dreadful is still my favorite from the trilogy though.
Liam Jennings
A brilliant return to form after the disappointing penny dreadful.
Aug 10, 2010 Denese added it
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Tried twice to read--too gruesome.
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Will Christopher Baer is an American author of noir fiction, often delving into sex, violence, mystery and erotica. Currently published works include Kiss Me, Judas, Penny Dreadful and Hell's Half Acre, all of which have since been published in the single volume Phineas Poe. His long-awaited fourth novel, Godspeed, was originally set to be published in 2006, but saw several delays before publisher ...more
More about Will Christopher Baer...

Other Books in the Series

Phineas Poe (3 books)
  • Kiss Me, Judas
  • Penny Dreadful
Kiss Me, Judas Penny Dreadful Phineas Poe: Kiss Me, Judas / Penny Dreadful / Hell's Half Acre Godspeed

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“Anything you can imagine is probably true. And the worst you can imagine is probably worth money.” 6 likes
“The digital sunset always looks better than the real thing, always. Because a sunset generated by the basic package of yellow sun and blue sky is unreliable. Today it may be stunning, hypnotic. Tomorrow it may be lifeless and dull, a white sky scorched with yellow. Tomorrow the sky will be velvet.” 3 likes
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