Already Dead

By Charlie Huston

Place: Publisher & Year: New York: Ballantine Books, 2005

Genres: Mystery, suspense,  paranormal, vampire

Series: Joe Pitt Casebook; 1

ISBN: 034547824X, 9780345478245

Intended audience: Adult

Number of pages: 268

Setting: Manhattan, NYC

Time period: Contemporary

Plot summary: Joe Pitt wasn’t born with his name.  Like most Vampyres he knows, he changed his name after he was turned.  It helps to put one’s old life behind and to focus upon the present – even when one doesn’t want to.  Presently, Joe has to deal with a shambler (or victim of zombification) that’s on the loose in his territory.  And he’s got to deal with it quick, before it turns other people into shamblers.  But that’s only one of his problems.  Other problems include dealing with Vampyre clan politics, finding a missing girl, feeding, staying out of the sun, and dealing with Vampyre clan politics.

Appeal factors:

Pacing: Incredibly swift pace throughout the entire story.  Joe is already in the thick of some gruesome violence by page 5.

Characterization: The story is told in first person through Joe’s eyes.  While Joe may be a psychopath, he is a sympathetic one.  The most important secondary character is Evie, his girlfriend.

Frame: Very dark – most of the story unfolds at night and in creepy locations like abandoned buildings and basement tunnels.

Story line: A darkly humorous and action packed story about a guy who has never been comfortable with his life (or afterlife).

Subject headings:

From PCPL:

Private investigators — New York (State) — New York — Fiction.

Manhattan (New York, N.Y.) — Fiction.

Suspense fiction.

Similar authors: Greg Herren – Scott Bradley series, Ken Bruen – Jack Taylor series, Walter Mosley – Fearless Jones novels, Charlaine Harris – Sookie Stackhouse series and Harper Connelly series, Jim Butcher – The Dresden Files series, Kat Richardson – Greywalker series

Personal notes: I really liked this book, but I don’t think I would have ever picked it up if I had not heard Charlie Huston speak on a paranormal fiction panel at the ALA conference (2009) and received a free copy of the book.  It is incredibly violent and gruesome, but also very funny with great characters and amazing pacing.  It’s a page turner.

Other (themes, diversity): Diversity – vampyres, street kids, runaways, lesbians, New Yorkers, HIV infected woman

Charlie Huston’s website

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