Today we added a book review of Charlie Huston’s Already Dead, which can be found inside. Joe Pitt is 45 but looks 28. His beauty secret? He’s a vampire. Pitt resides on the Manhattan turf of the Society clan, which dreams of bringing vampires into the open and curing their virus. He also runs errands for the rival Coalition clan–stuff like snuffing zombies before they give the undead a bad name. He’d love to leave both clans behind but worries that “Vampyres in the suburbs last less than a year. Plus those places are soulless pits.” He can eat garlic (although he hates it) and once drank holy water with no ill effects. Crosses are no problem, and he can see himself in the mirror. But if he steps into sunlight unprotected the virus will finish him, so he dons a white burnoose for daytime sojourns. But the dominant color is blood red as Pitt tracks a zombie bacteria carrier and endures inhuman torture in the process…
By Charlie Huston
Reviewed by Jessica Dwyer
Vampire Detective’s aren’t necessarily new. See Forever Knight as an example in the realm of television. In fiction they aren’t new either, PN Elrod had a great series of novels called The Vampire Files set in a noiresque time frame with a hard boiled vampire **** as its main character.
Already Dead takes this subgenre in a slightly different direction than either of those examples. Already Dead gives us a vampire investigator who, surprise, will actually kill people when he needs to.
Joe Pitt (not his real name) is a survivor, he’s a bad ass and he’s not afraid to put the hurting down when needed. He was changed during a Ramones concert. Left for dead by the vamp that bit him, he was found and taught the rules of the game by a pseudo hippie vampire named Terry.
He’s does jobs for the various vampire groups around New York. In this world, the island of Manhattan has been sectioned out to the different vampire groups, turfs are protected by these gangs of vamps and there is a pecking order to each. Joe is a sort of rogue, doing jobs as needed to keep his own semi-freedom.
Zombies are also a part of this world, and Joe finds himself sucked into a mystery after messily stopping a couple of these “shamblers”.
Huston’s story is an interesting take on the vampire ****. It’s nice and refreshing to see a vamp that is willing to kill. He’s not happy about what he is, but he’s not going to die just so a wannabe Van Helsing can feed his own vendetta. Pitt is an anti-hero ala Mike Hammer and Phillip Marlowe. He’s not pretty in how he operates, but he’ll get the job done. The more back story you get on him, the more interesting he becomes. He’s practical and cynical. He’s also an ex-punk with just a touch of a romantic in his undead heart. He’ll also beat the crap out of you if you owe someone some money and it can get him the information he needs.
The book is set in modern day New York, but you can’t escape the old school detective vibe that he has imbued the story with. Modern problems touch the story as well, such as Pitt’s girlfriend having HIV. I really enjoyed that paradox that Pitt is dealing with. He could cure her, but infect her with his own virus. There’s fact that she won’t have sex with him and that he knows that she could and it would never harm him, but to tell her he’d be breaking the secrecy that surrounds what he is. Touches like that make this all the more juicy of a read.
If you are a fan of vampire novels, detective novels, or just good books in general pick this one up.