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Already Dead
Charlie Huston
Narrated by Scott Brick, unabridged
Blackstone Audio, 9.3 hours

Already Dead
Charlie Huston
Charlie Huston is a former actor who lives in Manhattan with his wife, the actress Virginia Louise Smith. He is the author of the Henry Thompson trilogy (Caught Stealing, Six Bad Things, and A Dangerous Man) and the first Joe Pitt Casebook, Already Dead.

Charlie Huston Website
ISFDB Bibliography
SF Site Review: No Dominion
SF Site Review: Already Dead

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Jennifer McCann

If Anne Rice and Mickey Spillane had a baby, Joe Pitt would be that child. Charlie Huston brings a new twist on the classic vampire story. Part detective drama, part horror show, Already Dead brings to "life" the tale of Joe Pitt, a semi-detective and full time heavy with a soft spot for kids. He struggles with his past as he works odd jobs and tries to stay out of the grasp of the Mafia-like vampire factions that rule Manhattan.

Hired by the lovely and rich Marilee Horde to track down her runaway daughter, Pitt finds himself caught between Marilee and her husband, Dr. Dean Horde, in a battle for the child. With claims of drunkenness and loose morals on the part of Marilee, Dr. Horde compels Joe to bring the child to him when she is found. Marilee implies that the doctor's intentions are not as wholesome as they seem. In the midst of what is a fairly common detective story is the backdrop of Joe Pitt's reality. Joe, while dealing with the search for the girl, is trying to find the source of a new virus that is creating zombies, "shamblers" that are eating people in his neighborhood.

Joe suffers from a different disease know as the "Vyrus." The Vyrus has all the classic symptoms of Vampirism. To keep their presence quiet from the non-infected, blood is taken by transfusion. In this shadow world of the Vyrus, groups of the infected have joined together. The most corporate is the "Coalition" who also has an interest in Joe's potential for becoming a member. Other groups include the "Society," a mish mash of many gangs trying to keep everyone playing by the same rules, and the "Enclave," a pseudo-spiritual cult, that is trying to lure Joe into their clutches.

Much as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle with Holmes addiction to heroin, Charlie Huston uses Joe's illness to make what would be an invincible character humble. Huston gives Pitt a past that comes back in somewhat disjointed flashes, but really give insight to where Joe has come from and why he behaves as he does. Huston brings the heady flavor of the Bronx to life with the flow and voice of Joe Pitt. The anecdotes from Joe's past jobs has a grim sort of humor that invokes the feel of a New York tough guy.

This is not a book for the faint of heart. If you are of a delicate disposition some of the scenes are harsh. The language, though very much the culture of the Bronx, has not been heard to this degree since Deadwood went off the air. But it lends to the verisimilitude of the story and the people in it.

Scott Brick is both an actor and narrator and has recorded over two hundred audiobooks. As Joe Pitt, he brings dimension to the story. In the beginning of the book, the Bronx accent brings back memories of "Rocky the Gangster" from old Bugs Bunny cartoons. However, as you settle into the story, the musical quality of the speech flows. Brick's portrayal of Joe in the throws of the Vyrus is tremendous. The agony and the struggle are palpable. It's no wonder that Brick has won eighteen Earphones Awards and was honored with an Audie Award in 2003. Here, he delivers a "Wow" performance with his interpretation of Already Dead.

Copyright © 2008 Jennifer McCann

A belly dancing, dyslexic wife and mother who in her spare time works as a library clerk. A full and rich life is lead through the books she listens to and/or reads. Dyslexics Untie!

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