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The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death

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The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death Cover

 

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.

From the Hardcover edition.

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

Review:

"The novel had me laughing out loud many times.... Life is violent, messy and all too short, and laughter is the best revenge." Washington Post

Review:

"Huston isn't as noir as he probably wants to be. But the outlandish characters...are brazen originals, and the dialogue is the roar of a death-defying talent." New York Times Book Review

Synopsis:

With his teaching career derailed by tragedy and his slacker days numbered, Webster Fillmore Goodhue makes an unlikely move and joins Clean Team, charged with tidying up L.A.'s grisly crime scenes. For Web, it's a steady gig, and he 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. Every cell in Web's brain tells him to turn her down, but something makes him hit the Harbor Freeway at midnight to help her however he can. 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.

About the Author

Charles Huston is a novelist and screenwriter. He currently lives in Manhattan with his wife, the actress Virginia Louise Smith.

Product Details

ISBN:
9780345501127
Author:
Huston, Charlie
Publisher:
Ballantine Books
Subject:
Suspense
Subject:
Thrillers
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Mystery fiction
Subject:
Crime scenes - Cleaning
Subject:
Popular Fiction-Suspense
Subject:
fiction;mystery;crime;thriller;los angeles;novel;noir;death;california;forensics;suicide;suspense;american;crime fiction;crime scene
Edition Description:
Trade paper
Publication Date:
20091231
Binding:
TRADE PAPER
Grade Level:
General/trade
Language:
English
Pages:
352
Dimensions:
7.96x5.24x.74 in. .55 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Mystery » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Contemporary Thrillers
Fiction and Poetry » Popular Fiction » Suspense

The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death Used Trade Paper
0 stars - 0 reviews
$10.50 In Stock
Product details 352 pages Ballantine Books - English 9780345501127 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."
"Review" by , "The novel had me laughing out loud many times.... Life is violent, messy and all too short, and laughter is the best revenge."
"Review" by , "Huston isn't as noir as he probably wants to be. But the outlandish characters...are brazen originals, and the dialogue is the roar of a death-defying talent."
"Synopsis" by , With his teaching career derailed by tragedy and his slacker days numbered, Webster Fillmore Goodhue makes an unlikely move and joins Clean Team, charged with tidying up L.A.'s grisly crime scenes. For Web, it's a steady gig, and he 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. Every cell in Web's brain tells him to turn her down, but something makes him hit the Harbor Freeway at midnight to help her however he can. 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.

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