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The Serialist: A Novel
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The Serialist: A Novel

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,139 Ratings  ·  196 Reviews

Harry Bloch is a struggling writer who pumps out pulpy serial novels—from vampire books to detective stories—under various pseudonyms. But his life begins to imitate his fiction when he agrees to ghostwrite the memoir of Darian Clay, New York City’s infamous Photo Killer. Soon, three young women turn up dead,

ebook, 352 pages
Published March 9th 2010 by Simon Schuster (first published February 16th 2010)
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James Thane
Mar 25, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Serialist is one of the most unusual and entertaining books that I've read in a long time. The protagonist and narrator is Harry Bloch, an aspiring writer who barely eeks out a living by grinding out pulp novels in a variety of genres under various pseudonyms. One of his most successful is a vampire series that he writes under his mother's maiden name, Sybilline Lorindo-Gold. Harry gets his mom to pose for the author photo and then, when his mother dies, he has no choice but to don a wig, pu ...more
Here’s something I haven’t done before: read two books by the same author one after another. I’d never heard of David Gordon until I came across a very funny essay by him in the NY Times magazine one Sunday this January. In the essay he explains that his debut novel, The Serialist, was mostly ignored in the U.S. but was loved in Japan, where it won three literary prizes and sold the film rights. Gordon, bewildered, mute, ushered about by adoring Japanese fans, was hosted in Tokyo when the film c ...more
Jan 22, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Crime/mystery fans looking for something a bit meta
This article, about author David Gordon being famous in Japan and not even realizing it, made me curious enough to read the book that made him an accidental, foreign celebrity.

The book starts with a really great, memorable opening, including this line -- which isn't the first line of the book, but the last line of the first chapter:
It all began the morning when, dressed like my dead mother and accompanied by my fifteen-year-old schoolgirl business partner, I opened the letter from death row and
Great sense of humor, a lot of in-joke about the publishing industry and authors of pulp fictions, cleverly written twists and an decent ending. I like the characters as well. Although the ending is a bit on the "That's it? It's fine, but..." side, still I know I will keep my fingers crossed for the next book of this author.
Amy Rosenkoetter
I am done with The Serialist. A very weird novel. The first half of the book is expository, defining and fleshing out the protagonist and his offbeat business partner (a teenaged girl). Until I was halfway through the book was wondering why it was labeled "Adrenaline." Then I got to the reason. The second half takes off with the discovery of INCREDIBLY grisly murders and the subsequent investigation, culminating in the discovery of the weirdest murder duo I've ever heard of, but it doesn't end t ...more
Nov 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
People like David Gordon really annoy me. I can't believe he was able to produce a book like this on his first attempt. The main character is a lovable loser, content to waste his writing talent on producing serial science fiction novels, along with the occasional pornography just to balance it out. His latest hit is a series of novels about vampires, written under a fictitious name and wearing his dead mother's clothes for the author picture (I felt there was an implied dig at the new vampire c ...more
I usually try to read the Edgar nominees for best first novel within the year of the award but had put this book off (it was nominated for 2010) because I frankly thought it would be pretentious literary fiction posing as a genre story so I was pleasantly surprised by how much I liked it. I do enjoy different and this book definitely was that and the narrative voice and dark humor really won me over. The only downside was the whole serial killer obligatory graphic violence thing.
Apr 07, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book had plenty of laughs, lots of fun characters, and definitely a page turner. A real winner for a first book (if it was a first book). ;)
Oct 13, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So, this would get all 5 stars if the whole story didn't turn out so gross and disturbing in the end (and this is coming from a person who usually reads stuff like that). When I read the blurb at the back, I imagined this Photo-killer to be a regular killer, but this was far more deranged then I thought it would be. Definitely not a book for everybody. I appreciated the humour and passages about writer's struggles, and I liked the first half much more. There were a couple of unnecessary plot twi ...more
Apr 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a very interesting book. Self deprecating and funny,at the same time gory and a good mystery. The style really reminded me of Christopher Moore. I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Feb 07, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery-thriller
This was awful. It had so much promise, and I very nearly recommended it to a couple of people before I got very far it--it's funny, cutting, a satire of the postmodern novel while also being a bit of a postmodern novel. But then the murders start, and it's the most gruesome thing I have read in a long time. And in a way that sort of celebrates that gruesomeness. When I got to the chapter that began "The first thing I ever killed was a gerbil" I just wanted to put the damn thing down, but I fini ...more
Apr 26, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It's an interesting premise, but it's not written nearly as well as it thinks it is. And being that the book is very much about books, writing and reading, this particular flaw stands out rather glaringly.
Jun 11, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: mystery lovers, readers looking for an unconventionally funny literary novel
Shelves: mystery, fiction
Author David Gordon engages the reader as if demonstrating his prowess at seduction. It is a very literary seduction. He opens by confiding the importance of an attention-grabbing first sentence. Of course, he's already given us his first sentence, so its as if he's disclosing a new part of his personality when he unleashes an over the top new “first sentence.” THE SERIALIST is narrated in the first person. The author (in the character of Harry Bloch) is at times disingenuous, cheeky, self-mocki ...more
Oct 19, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes when serious writers take a break from their high-brow endeavours and play around with genre fiction the results are less than stellar. They feel the need to insert ironic little references to make sure we understand that they're just fooling around, and I find this contempt for the mainstream a little off-putting. Reading the blurb by Rivka Galchen, where she carefully explains that Gordon makes high art out of trash, I was worried that The Serialist would be one these self-indulgent ...more
Tina Hayes
May 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: vine
"The Serialist" by David Gordon has that classic mystery feel, but with a whole lot more going on. It has suspence, humor, and grisly horror all bound between the covers.

New York writer Harry Bloch makes his living penning genre fiction--vampire stories, urban crime novels, and pornography--all written under different names, never his own. When a convicted serial killer asks him to write his biography, Harry decides it could be just the thing to boost his career, after being convinced by his te
Jun 13, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Clever, but I thought the beginning was a slog. I put it down for over a week because I was bored, and when I finally picked it back up the real action started within three pages, and it was much better after that. On and off very smart, and I loved the section about how obsessive readers really are addicts:

"Why do we read? In the beginning, as children, why do we love the books we love? For most, I think, it's travel, a flight into adventures, into a dream that feels like our own. But for a fe
Jennifer Martin
Oct 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The Serialist is a whimsical tale of Harry, a down on himself and defeated writer, his colorful past filled with "slut whispering" and vampire novels, and those hilariously lovable or nauseatingly creepy individuals who surround him, both in his life and in his writing. When reading this book, I fell deeply in love with Harry, and Claire as well! These characters feel so real. Every one of them is individually distinct and dynamic in a way that is not easily achieved in fiction. I began to care ...more
Feb 13, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I picked this book up completely on a whim and I'm so glad that I did. It starts of disarmingly light and I was laughing out loud in parts, but then as the mystery starts to develop and the bodies start to drop, it gets deeper darker and really good. I did figure out the killer pretty early on, but nevertheless the plot threw in enough twists and turns after that to keep it interesting. But what makes this book so great is not the substandard murder mystery, but its clever narration which altern ...more
Sebastien Castell
Jun 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller, mystery
David Gordon's debut novel is a mixture of mystery, thriller, and, well, I guess I'd have to say literary self-reflection. Oddly, it's that last part that really makes the book sing for me. The story follows an unusual path, with the main character narratively going off-track to examine one of the many slightly failed parts of his life. It's here that Gordon's fantastic and yet highly accessible prose sets the book apart from traditional genre novels. You really can't help but root for his pulp ...more
Caroline Quek
Feb 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love mystery novels and I like to write, and this book combined both of these into a very well-written murder story. I haven't read many adult mystery books yet, but The Serialist will no doubt be one of the more impressive ones. Because the protagonist of the story is a writer, the language used is really stylish. It was also a really good mystery, save from the blood and gory details that I could do without, but I guess it's through such careful writing that made The Serialist a really good ...more
Sep 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
LOVED this book LOVED it. It was so freaking funny. Just unbelievably clever on so many levels, a snarky highbrow sense of humor, a silly lowbrow sense of humor.
I loved the silly excerpts from his trashy novels, loved his serious novelist ex, loved this book. It was full of in jokes for people who read, funny insights into literary pop culture
And, AND it was a decent mystery with a strong plot and decent characters. Write more books David Gordon!!!!
Freesiab (Bookish Review)
First, I didn't finish this book and second I tried to listen in audiobook. I got it from my library for a road trip. We didn't make it too far. I just kept wondering more about the author. I understand you want a strong start but when you're trying too hard to sound edgy and raw it shows.
Apr 30, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
What a waste. As one other reviewer pointed out, this book is not nearly as clever as it thinks it is.

I found it tasteless in parts and I really did not like the protagonist, if that's what you could call him.
The Subway Reader
Apr 18, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great pulp, not great art, not to be taken too seriously but it keeps you reading and the term page-turner is not used in vain. Funny and especially great fun! Recommended!
EJ Knapp
Jan 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A most interesting twist on a writer's story. Very different, very fresh. Excellent writing, excellent pace and great characters.
Sep 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites, e-book
Premis buku ini terbilang tidak biasa; seorang penulis yang juga adalah pecundang yang sangat lovable yang terlibat dengan pembunuh bayaran terpidana mati. Nasib tidak memperlakukan Harry dengan baik; karirnya mentok sekadar menulis novel2 kacangan, pacarnya mencampakkan dia, dan untuk bertahan hidup dia mengajar anak2 tajir New York untuk membuat essay sastra. Dia tak punya apartemen dan harus tinggal bersama ibunya. Sebagai laki2, Harry benar2 epic fail.

Novel ini merupakan surat cinta untuk p
M.L. Falconer
Nov 15, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A phenomenal read! A clever mix of hilarity, disturbing psychosis and deranged images. The power of the book lies within the writing, the characters and the deep, dark psychological undertones; the ebbs of mental stability and the tides of the human condition. It grabs you like a freeway accident ... your better judgment doesn't want you to look but the curiosity in the possibility of severed limbs or blood stains is too powerful to pull yourself away. Its human nature to be magnetically drawn t ...more
Sep 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: debut-novel
Remember, one man's snap summary may be another man's dreaded spoiler.

Harry Bloch is the serialist. He's a writer who writes schlocky serial novels in sci-fi, vampire, goth and other niche modes.

He gets the chance of a lifetime to interview a Death Row serial killer: In exchange for writing soft-porn adventures for the inmate, Bloch gets to write the inmate's tell-all bio.

Bloch is a hapless Woody Allen type character who's got more going for him than he probably admits. He's self-analytical and
Sep 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Has to be the funniest and most unusual book I've read all year long! I listened to the audiobook and highly recommend that as the narrator was really great! I genuinely laughed out loud in multiple places which is something I almost never do. I recommend this book to anyone who's looking to read something quirky and offbeat and yet with a lot of heart.
Kimberly Fradale
Jul 21, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I found it dry
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[SPOILER ALERT] How easy is it to become a lawyer in the US? 2 8 Jul 21, 2016 09:26PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Combine editions 2 31 Oct 19, 2011 09:13AM  
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David Gordon was born in New York City. He attended Sarah Lawrence College and holds an MA in English and Comparative Literature and an MFA in Writing, both from Columbia University, and has worked in film, fashion, publishing, and pornography. His first novel, The Serialist, won the VCU/Cabell First Novel Award and was a finalist for an Edgar Award. His work has also appeared in The Paris Review, ...more
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“Anyway, that's all art school is. A big clusterfuck for rich poseurs. Who the fuck needs it? But it's a system, right? You have to go to the art schools to get into the galleries, to learn how to talk that bullshit. That's what they're learning, to talk bullshit.

The Serialist
David Gordon”
“This is the only boundary that nature herself imposes on us, the limitations on what we can accomplish, in space and time, with one body and one life.” 0 likes
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