Title: Already Dead
Author: Charlie Huston
Genre: Hardboiled Vampire
Length: 288 pages
Read: Dec 1 – Dec 9, 2011
Summary: Good hardboiled fun
Already dead is a contemporary New York take on the vampire myth, mated with, and steeped in the tradition of hardboiled crime fiction. Crucial to the hardboiled style, established by such masters as Dashiell Hammett and Raymond Chandler, is the voice. Huston may be writing decades later but from the first few pages it’s obvious that he’s highly adept at the hardboiled voice. The novel is written in a lean mean first person present, unsentimental, even stripped of all dialog tagging (this last goes too far and it’s sometimes hard to tell who is speaking).
The protagonist is a vampyre (I don’t normally use the ‘y’ but this book does), and he’s also a sort of private dick for the seedy supernatural side of the Manhattan underworld. Huston’s vampires are not obviously supernatural, but the product of a Vyrus (his spelling). The narrator is very specific on the pros, cons, and lifestyle choices required to “live” with the Vyrus. This is no small part of the story’s appeal. The plot, is modeled after the hardboiled classics. He protag is hired to find someone. Several forces all have a steak in the outcome. The protag gets beat up a lot. There’s twisted sex wound up in the reveal.
This may be formula, but the execution is top notch and the ride well worth it.