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Already Dead review

If Raymond Chandler had written about vampire PIs

Author: Charlie Huston

Publisher: Orbit

279 pages • £6.99

ISBN: 978-1-84149-526-2


Already Dead is an incredible book. It is not, however, for the faint of heart. If you’re not comfortable wading through page after page of brain-munching gore then this one probably isn’t for you.

As far as fiction goes, vampires have been done to death. It’s practically impossible to think of anything new to add to the field established by Bram Stoker. Perhaps, then, it is a surprise that the latest novelist to enter these weary waters is Charlie Huston, best known for his brilliantly Chandleresque crime novels featuring the unfortunate Hank Thompson. Huston is an unusual writer, and the comparison with Chandler is widely acknowledged. It’s no surprise, then, that Joe Pitt, the vampire protagonist of Already Dead leaps off the page, armed with punchy dialogue and a raft of black humour.

Joe Pitt is a freelance dilettante in a world vaguely reminiscent of those in the Underworld movies or the brilliant Masquerade RPG. He prowls the night with his own agenda, avoiding the unwanted attentions of the Mafia-like vamp clans. Foremost among these is the Coalition. Though Pitt doesn’t owe allegiance to them, he’s soon called to heel when his investigations become sloppy. The city has plenty of problems, including a dangerous carrier who is bringing unwanted heat on the dead by infecting victims with a brain-eating hunger. Pitt is soon retained by the Coalition to investigate, but he’s also looking for the daughter of a wealthy benefactor. Some dark fun ensues…

Already Dead is the horror debut of a writer who’s equally at home on the wider shores of crime, noir and comedy fiction. You might think that blending all these genres would be a clumsy disaster, but Charlie Huston has written a book that is the most horrific and the most hilarious novel to hit the bookshelves in a long

David Lee Stone

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