Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Already Dead

I didn’t hear about this author until last December when RedEyedGhost from the ASOIAF message board starting talking about him. Then Amras of A Slight Apocalypse and Graeme of Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review both did reviews raving about how much they loved this series. I love the Dresden Files so I’m always on the lookout for new urban fantasy, particularly about vampires.
Joe Pitt is a local tough and occasional unlicensed private investigator in Manhattan. Oh, and he’s also a Vampyre. In the city, vampyres cannot survive unless they align with one of the clans that run the city’s underground, but Joe somehow manages to play the opposing clans and remain independent. His latest case involves tracking down a shambler, a zombie infected with a flesh-eating virus and goes around trying to feed on human brains, and find the source of the disease. He also has to find a runaway teenager for a powerful Manhattan family. He must find the girl and the shambler, fend off the clans, and somehow keep enough blood on hand to keep the Vyrus from taking control; it’s a tough job even for a vampyre.
This book reminds me quite a bit of the Dresden Files, if told from the opposite side. It definitely has it’s own style however. For one thing, Huston’s book is quite a bit grittier, which is to be expected when the protagonist is a member of the city’s underworld. Also, things are not as clear-cut, not as black and white in Pitt’s world. While Joe is definitely a vampyre, he is not “evil” simply because of what he is. The vampyres are more like humans, with their own motivations for their beliefs and actions. I like how Huston makes his vampyres as realistic as possible. Joe tries to survive as a vampyre, while being his own person and keeping a girlfriend to boot. Huston also does a little explaining about the vyrus and how vampyres relate with humans. I certainly hope he expands on this in later books.
Only two things really bothered me about this book. Huston often uses terms and locations unique to New York City so I didn’t always understand what he was talking about. The other thing is that I found it hard to suspend my disbelief on how Joe was able to pay for things. It seemed to me he didn’t make enough money to throw money around, have two apartments, and afford a girlfriend.
I was surprised by the lack of chapters. Huston makes use of spaces and asterdisks but other than that there aren’t any breaks. The book is short enough so I suppose it doesn’t make any difference. Huston’s style of dialogue wasn’t hard to get used to at all.
I enjoyed this book quite a bit and I’ve already picked up the next Pitt novel. Definitely recommended.
Rating: 8/10.


Amras said...

Thanks for the link, beniowa! Always appreciated ;)

And I see we're pretty much in tune when it comes the the book, too. I wasn't bothered by the lingo or the the lack of the chapters, but I can see why you're complaining.

Benjamin said...

No problem Amras!

Luckily, the complaints are really minor and don't bother me too much.

RedEyedGhost said...

I really do love these books (not just the Joe Pitt, but all of Huston's work)! I'm glad you enjoyed it. No Dominion is even better IMO.

...and I've actually been pimping them in the reading threads for over a year, every time after I read one of his books and pretty much every time I saw that somebody else did too. I psyched that a lot of the bloggers are reading them now and getting the word out to a much wider audience.

Benjamin said...

I just finished No Dominion last night and I would have to agree. :-)

Sorry, somehow I didn't notice you had been pimping longer than that. But hey, at least I finally did notice.