three-and-half-stars
Bookmarks Issue: 
21-Mar-Apr-2006
user_rating: 
0

A-AlreadyDeadBy day PI Joe Pitt stays inside his East Village home. By night he roams the streets of Manhattan, searching for the weekly pint of human blood—and the victim—that will keep him alive. "And when the man is empty and I am full and my face is rinsed in his gore, I feel as I always do when I feed, like I want more," he admits. This is Manhattan, but with clans of territorial, bloodsucking vampires about to wage war any moment. Pitt plays these clans against each other until he’s asked to investigate some neighborhood zombies infecting others and to find a disappeared girl turned Goth. Unrelated cases … or not?
Del Rey. 268 pages. $12.95. ISBN: 034547824X

Washington Examiner 4 of 5 Stars
"Huston never pulls a single punch with his stunningly terse prose, and Already Dead is a winner, a pitch-black piece of anthracite fiction that burns intensely from start to finish. His perfect blend of atmospheric description and explosive violence propel the book towards its breathless conclusion, and his Joe Pitt is the sort of hard-boiled, one-liner-shooting character that readers of black-coffee detective novels and modern vampire fiction should embrace with a vengeance." Charles Devilbiss

Washington Post 4 of 5 Stars
"Already Dead is bloody but brilliant, a vampire novel for the here and now. … Among the new voices in 21st-century crime fiction, Charlie Huston, as much as anyone I can think of, is where it’s at." Patrick Anderson

Entertainment Weekly 3 of 5 Stars
"A heady mix of noirish hard-boiled dialogue (‘I’d offer you guys some coffee or something, but I don’t like you. So.’) and East Village scumminess (dive bars, junkies, and Internet pornographers), Already Dead is a refreshing rejiggering of vampire mythology. While the ending is confusing and anticlimactic, the world that Huston creates is both brutal and vividly realized." Gilbert Cruz

Critical Summary

Already Dead is not for the squeamish. Even so, it surprised even critics who had never thought themselves fans of Count Dracula. Huston portrays a noirish, gritty, alter-Manhattan world, with political rivalries comprised of all sorts of vampires, even "revolutionary" gay and lesbian ones. The terse, hard-boiled prose and characters contain shades of Raymond Chandler, Hunter S. Thompson, and Quentin Tarantino, but are wholly original. Despite the novel’s sophistication, it’s not for everyone. "Huston deserves hardcover publication and will get it soon enough, but it’s probably true that this book’s core audience is among the young, the cool, the hip, and the unshockable" (Washington Post).

Also by the Author

Caught Stealing (2004): The first of a planned trilogy features Hank Thompson, a high-school-basketball-star-turned-bartender who unwittingly attracts the attention of the Russian mafia.