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REVIEW | Already Dead (Joe Pitt 1) by Charlie Huston (Del Rey)

I know, I know. I was just ranting about Vampires in New York recently. How many books have come out in the last 10 years with Vampires in NYC? Shit loads. How many are aimed at men? Not as many as you would think. I've been seeing Charlie Huston's Joe Pitt series on UF for Men list for a few years, but until recently never looked beyond the covers, which are pretty cool. I'm glad I finally picked this one up as it hit all the right buttons. Already Dead is an easy and quick pulpish read at less than 270 pages, which can easily be finished in a couple sittings. Already Dead falls in the category of Crime novel more than Urban Fantasy, which is what sets it apart. I was reminded greatly of Richard Kadrey's Sandman Slim (reviewed here) in terms of its badass style, format, and creating anti-heroes you can root for, although Joe Pitt has better control of his temper than Stark. Pitt is a mercenary of sorts in Manhattan. He is also a card carrying, blood drinking Vampire with an attitude problem, which leads to some great dialogue and violence galore. NYC was once controlled by The Coalition, which is one of the oldest Vampire clans. Nowadays Manhattan is divided into different territories with the Coalition controlling the largest portion from 14th street up to Harlem with the rest of lower Manhattan divided into small clans. Vampires from one group are not supposed to travel through the areas of the others without permission although some groups are friendlier with others. Joe Pitt lives south of 14th street in the area controlled by The Society, a group Pitt was part of in the past, but he now works as a free agent for any group that pays. The Enclave group is the most original aspect of the world build as they go about things very differently than other Vampires and I can already tell a lot of future books will center on them. Pitt is pulled from one group to another and is one of those characters that seems to just fall into crap and get pulled deeper and deeper. With his rough tone and punk demeanour, Pitt gets cajoled into what looks like a simple case of a missing rich Uptown girl who likes to go slumming while tracking down some roving Zombies which are a little too close to home. The world building is huge with the hierarchy and division of the Vampires and deep history many of the characters share in addition to some prophetic statements made by certain clan members. Packed full of bloody action, off putting sex, Zombies, and terse dialogue Already Dead is an impressive start to a series that you have to force yourself to put down. The Vampire politics are gorgeous and I can't wait to see how big this world gets as Huston has four books out with the 5th and last due out soon. Did anyone say Vampire War? I give Already Dead 8 out of 10 Hats. I plan to pick up the next couple Pitt novels at some point in the not too distant future. Trying out Huston's standalone crime novel The Mystic Art of Erasing All Signs of Death is a distinct possibility as well. Book link: US Europe Canada


Scott said...

Charlie Huston has become my favorite author. The last Joe Pitt novel comes out in October so you got time to catch up. No Dominion is the next book in the series and it's just as good as Already Dead. Huston has written two stand alone titles Mystic Art and the Shotgun Rule both are excellent. He also has another series which is the Hank Thompson trilogy that starts with Caught Stealing which is excellent as well. They are straight up crime novels. I don't know if you like comics are not but Huston also had a nice run on Moon Knight which was a character I was not too familiar with but became a fan of due to Huston's work.

Peter said...

This might be a great book and I'm sure Charlie Huston is a great writer, but all I can think about is Denis Johnson's book also titled Already Dead which was phenomenal (as is everything Denis Johnson writes).

Harry Markov said...

I said to myself no more vampire fiction, but how can I resist this cover and this story. I'd always wanted to read about a male with a punk demeanor. :) Thank you for the heads up.