Master your Minecraft
 
 

Special Offers see all

Enter to WIN a $100 Credit

Subscribe to PowellsBooks.news
for a chance to win.
Privacy Policy

Tour our stores


    Recently Viewed clear list


    Best Books of the Year | December 9, 2014

    Aubrey: IMG Best YA Fiction of 2014



    So what is with all the hullabaloo about young adult literature these days? Do we have John Green to blame for getting us sucked in to the tragic... Continue »

    spacer
Qualifying orders ship free.
$6.95
Used Hardcover
Ships in 1 to 3 days
Add to Wishlist
Qty Store Section
1 Burnside Mystery- A to Z

More copies of this ISBN

The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death

by

The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death Cover

ISBN13: 9780345501110
ISBN10: 034550111x
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
All Product Details

Only 1 left in stock at $6.95!

 

Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

With a style that is razor sharp, an eye that never shies from the gritty details, and a taste for stories that simultaneously shock, disturb, and entertain, Charlie Huston is one of a kind. And The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death is the type of story — swift, twisted, hilarious, somehow hopeful — that only he could dream up.

The fact is, whether it's a dog hit by a train or an old lady who had a heart attack on the can, someone has to clean up the nasty mess. And that someone is Webster Fillmore Goodhue, who just may be the least likely person in Los Angeles County to hold down such a gig. With his teaching career derailed by tragedy, Web hasn't done much for the last year except some heavy slacking. But when his only friend in the world lets him know that his freeloading days are over, and he tires of taking cash from his spaced-out mom and refuses to take any more from his embittered father, Web joins Clean Team — and soon finds himself sponging a Malibu suicide's brains from a bathroom mirror, and flirting with the man's bereaved and beautiful daughter.

Then things get weird: The dead man's daughter asks a favor. Her brother's in need of somebody who can clean up a mess. Every cell in Web's brain tells him to turn her down, but something else makes him hit the Harbor Freeway at midnight to help her however he can. Is it her laugh? Her desperate tone of voice? The chance that this might be history's strangest booty call? Whatever it is, soon enough it's Web who needs the help when gun-toting California cowboys start showing up on his doorstep. What's the deal? Is it something to do with what he cleaned up in that motel room in Carson? Or is it all about the brewing war between rival trauma cleaners? Web doesn't have a clue, but he'll need to get one if he's going to keep from getting his face kicked in. Again. And again. And again.

Full of black humor, stunning violence, singular characters, and neon dialogue, The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death is classic Charlie Huston: a wild ride that'll leave you breathless and shaken, grinning and begging for more.

Review:

"Noir master Huston (The Shotgun Rule) should win himself a whole new audience with this bizarre and utterly grotesque stand-alone, told mostly through dialogue that highlights the author's uncanny ear for the spoken word. Former Los Angeles grade school teacher Web Goodhue, now a full-time slacker suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, falls into a job on a crime scene cleanup crew, scrubbing up the remains of the recently deceased. After the crew has finished cleaning up a messy suicide scene in Malibu, Web gets a phone call from the dead man's daughter, Soledad. She and her thug half-brother have another big mess on their hands that needs cleaning, on the QT. Unable to resist the beautiful Soledad, Web soon finds himself in way over his head. Huston, one of his generation's finest and hippest talents, shows in grisly detail what cleaning up after the dead entails. This one should appeal to Chuck Palahniuk fans as well as hard-boiled crime readers." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Violent and uncomfortably graphic at times, but the dialogue is sharp and funny, and Huston, as always, does it his way." Kirkus Reviews

Review:

"Readers likely will be charmed enough by the literate, funny, and sensitive Web to care about whether he cleans up his act. And...the criminals he tangles with...give Huston plenty of opportunities to create his signature witty mayhem." Booklist

Review:

"Huston tells a wild and fanciful tale with gritty and witty skill, although the graphic language may be too strong for some patrons." Library Journal

Synopsis:

From the acclaimed and bestselling author of The Shotgun Rule and Six Bad Things comes a swift and stylish novel of blood and guts in the City of Angels.

About the Author

Charlie Huston is the author of The Shotgun Rule, the Henry Thompson trilogy — Caught Stealing, Six Bad Things (an Edgar Award nominee), and A Dangerous Man — and the Joe Pitt novels — Already Dead, No Dominion, Half the Blood of Brooklyn, and Every Last Drop. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the actress Virginia Louise Smith. Visit his website at www.PulpNoir.com.

What Our Readers Are Saying

Add a comment for a chance to win!
Average customer rating based on 2 comments:

crowyhead, May 29, 2009 (view all comments by crowyhead)
When I was reading this book, I assumed it was the author's first novel, since it had many of the hallmarks of first-novel-itis, in particular self-consciously clever dialog and a tendency to cram in as many plot elements as possible. I was surprised and disappointed to learn that Huston has actually published a number of other novels, which leads me to believe that the distracting tendencies I noticed are probably endemic.

There were parts of the book that I enjoyed hugely. I liked the main character, Web, a former elementary school teacher who is mentally recovering after a horrific incident that he absolutely refuses to talk about. Instead he sleeps for hours, and hangs out in his friend's tattoo parlor, and refuses to take the bus, and gets on everyone's nerves. Eventually he wears on everyone so much that he's forced into a job working for Clean Team, a company that cleans up the worst kinds of messes. Who cleans up after someone commits suicide in the bedroom, or dies in an apartment full of trash and isn't found until weeks later? Web and his team. The problem is, Web is the kind of guy who will help a pretty girl clean up a mess she doesn't really want anyone to know about -- and that lands him in a lot of trouble.

I guess I'm just not the right audience for this book, or something. I really did NOT care about the crime/caper aspect of the book. I wanted to read more of the parts about Web and his complicated relationships with all the people around him, and the way he gradually comes back into himself through the strange, grotesque business of cleaning up after death. Those were good, fascinating, well-written things. But instead there's the whole convoluted crime plot, a character who exists only to be gratingly stupid, and a whole mess of dialog that screams "I hope this gets optioned for a film." Really just not my cup of tea, I guess, even though usually I enjoy mysteries and crime novels.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(5 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)
Larry Robinson, March 19, 2009 (view all comments by Larry Robinson)
Charlie Huston hits another home run with this story of competing firms that clean up crime scenes (really disgusting crime scenes). Great dialogue and characters. If you haven't read Charlie Huston before, this is a good place to start.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(2 of 3 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 2 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780345501110
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Huston, Charlie
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Subject:
General
Subject:
Cleaning
Subject:
Los angeles county (calif.)
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Crime scenes - Cleaning
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Suspense
Subject:
Thrillers
Copyright:
Publication Date:
January 2009
Binding:
Hardback
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
336
Dimensions:
9.42x6.44x1.16 in. 1.20 lbs.

Other books you might like

  1. How America Gets Away with Murder:... Used Trade Paper $15.00
  2. Bones (Alex Delaware Novels)
    Used Mass Market $1.95
  3. The Cricket in Times Square... Used Trade Paper $3.50
  4. Boca Knights
    Used Hardcover $2.50
  5. Every Last Drop
    New Trade Paper $14.50
  6. Faery in Shadow Used Mass Market $3.50

Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z

The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$6.95 In Stock
Product details 336 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345501110 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Noir master Huston (The Shotgun Rule) should win himself a whole new audience with this bizarre and utterly grotesque stand-alone, told mostly through dialogue that highlights the author's uncanny ear for the spoken word. Former Los Angeles grade school teacher Web Goodhue, now a full-time slacker suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder, falls into a job on a crime scene cleanup crew, scrubbing up the remains of the recently deceased. After the crew has finished cleaning up a messy suicide scene in Malibu, Web gets a phone call from the dead man's daughter, Soledad. She and her thug half-brother have another big mess on their hands that needs cleaning, on the QT. Unable to resist the beautiful Soledad, Web soon finds himself in way over his head. Huston, one of his generation's finest and hippest talents, shows in grisly detail what cleaning up after the dead entails. This one should appeal to Chuck Palahniuk fans as well as hard-boiled crime readers." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "Violent and uncomfortably graphic at times, but the dialogue is sharp and funny, and Huston, as always, does it his way."
"Review" by , "Readers likely will be charmed enough by the literate, funny, and sensitive Web to care about whether he cleans up his act. And...the criminals he tangles with...give Huston plenty of opportunities to create his signature witty mayhem."
"Review" by , "Huston tells a wild and fanciful tale with gritty and witty skill, although the graphic language may be too strong for some patrons."
"Synopsis" by , From the acclaimed and bestselling author of The Shotgun Rule and Six Bad Things comes a swift and stylish novel of blood and guts in the City of Angels.
spacer
spacer
  • back to top

FOLLOW US ON...

     
Powell's City of Books is an independent bookstore in Portland, Oregon, that fills a whole city block with more than a million new, used, and out of print books. Shop those shelves — plus literally millions more books, DVDs, and gifts — here at Powells.com.