brian 's Reviews > Already Dead

Already Dead by Charlie Huston
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Jan 31, 2009

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Recommended to brian by: donald

1977. NYC. CBGBs. ramones on stage. some suit offers simon twenty bucks to let him suck his dick. sure: a mouth’s a mouth. simon pops off, and takes another twenty to give the guy a handjob. guy pushes his face into simon’s neck, bares his fangs, and – bam! – instavamp.

let that scene serve as a microcosm of this sloppy pulpy drunken joyride of a book: it’s kinda absurd having all this happen at the place in the year seeing the band... but it’s also kinda so fucked up and fun we ignore the author’s anachronistic invasions.

anyway... twenty-eight years later simon's changed his name to joe pitt and is a fixture on the LES scene with a hot little LES bartender girlfriend and plenty of work as a detective, money collector, etc... and yeah, he’s also a vampyre.

huston’s carved out a pretty cool world here. manhattan’s filled with bloodsuckers and they don’t all share the same philosophy. uptown you got The Society. LES filled with The Coalition. west village: The Enclave. you got some 60s leftover vampyres, a gay and lesbian faction, a group that wants to come out and try to work a deal with ‘normal’ society, a group of suicide vampyres (led by creepy-as-shit daniel). but fuck all that. joe’s a Rogue. does some work for all of ‘em, but part of none. ain’t his style. scrape up some dough, watch old movies with evie, slug cheap whiskey, kick some ass, drink some blood...

huston’s great at all that. his manhattan, crawling with vampyres who are very careful not to attract attention (frequenty they prey on a drunk chick or drug addict or homeless dude and rather than kill ‘em, they knock ‘em out, drain a pint of blood and fix), is well constructed, smart, complete... and i must admit to having a particular fondness in that my twenties were spent on the LES so i had that flash of recognition every time he mentioned a pizza joint where i'd sucked down a slice or a bar at which i'd puked out the bathroom!

what huston's not so good at are the mechanics of the genre. for example: three times in this book of 268 pgs joe gets knocked over the head and dragged unconscious to the bad guys' lair. beyond the plot contrivance, this illuminates a larger problem: joe’s a pretty passive hero. people keep approaching him, people come from behind and knock him out, people feed him information and save him from an otherwise certain death. huston took great pains to describe joe as a crafty badass toughguy, but the actions of the book tell a different story. it’s important to show a hero with vulnerability, but it’s also important that s/he be the captain of his/her fate.

all in all, a damn enjoyable book. i just ordered the next three in the series. i hear joe ventures into the other boroughs. fuck. rumor says it's full of savages. no order. crazy vampyres part of no Clan, just taking people out. watch it joe!

a shout-out to donkey don for recommending this. bitch can wax poetic on du fu, coetzee, or rimbaud and in the next breath throw some pulped-out crime shit (winslow, nunn, etc) that goosebumps the fuck outta ya... yay donkey don!

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message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Huston is awesome.

I just met him the other night, and he is a very cool and nice dude.

And damn can he write.


brian   that's cool, donald. thanks.
he's reading at a book store a friend of mine just started working at that's about five minutes from my place. gonna stop by for sure...


message 1: by Jessica (new)

Jessica Hah! The publishing hack was wrong: look, now you've infected Brian, doubling Huston's Bookface reports for this book, starting this thread and now spreading the germ of interest onto others....!

I might read this. I <3 NYC fiction!


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