Thursday, February 5, 2009

Not suitable for children or the weak of stomach

Charlie Huston's Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death has been well reviewed in the press-- the New York Times review for example, is worth reading. Since this book is available for the Kindle, I thought I'd mention it here briefly.

The book is a visceral experience in the truest sense of the word--the main character goes to work for a trauma-cleaning service, which involves vivid descriptions of the process of cleaning the bits of people that normally (absent a gun in the mouth, for example) stay inside them. The humor is dark, the writing vivid, sharply observed, and unflinching. If you like hard-boiled fiction, this is a book for you, but if you have a weak stomach, you may want to stay away. Or at least not read it while you're eating.

The main character, Web, does as little work as possible in his friend's tattoo parlor, and generally is kind of a low-life. We find out that he was formerly a teacher, which at first seems an unbelievably large leap. Of course, as the book develops and peels away layers of the onion, we find out how he got from there to here. Of course, there's a girl, there's trouble of various kinds, there's taut noir adventure as well as the aforementioned black comedy along with worthy challenges for Web, and that's about all I'm going to say. I don't want to spoil the book--the bottom line, it's a great read, and even those well versed in hard-boiled fiction will find something new here.

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Emm said...

I think I am going to read this. Perhaps it is ill advised, as I was once a trauma victim, but I am fascinated by the authors take on this. Thanks for the review!

KindleDude said...

Emm, thanks so much for your comment. I have never been a trauma victim, so I can't really advise or even stand in your shoes. I can tell you that some of the descriptions are really, really gritty, so be prepared.

If you feel that you can without undue distress, I would love to know what you think of the book.

Emm said...

Cool! What is Amazon Kindle by the way?

KindleDude said...

It's an electronic book reader and portable library made by Amazon. It uses electronic ink technology to closely replicate the experience of reading on paper, with the benefits that you can download books over the air, store hundreds of books in an easily portable format, and search text. The main Kindle site is at Also, if you go back into my blog archives there's more information.

Amazon is holding a press conference on February 9th, and it is generally believed they are going to announce a new version of the Kindle.

Of course, the books I review that are available for the Kindle are also available in regular editions.

Thanks for your interest!

JD at I Do Things said...

This sounds great! When it comes to fiction, I have a cast-iron stomach. Thanks for the review!

KindleDude said...

Hey, JD, thanks for stopping by! You did eat braunschweiger, so this book may well be clear sailing for you. If you do read it, I'd like to know!

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