Reviews Logo
SearchHomeContents PageSite Map
Every Last Drop
Charlie Huston
Del Rey, 249 pages

Every Last Drop
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: Already Dead
SF Site Review: No Dominion
SF Site Review: Already Dead

Past Feature Reviews
A review by Tammy Moore

Joe Pitt is one of those men who could start a fight in an empty room. Not that he needs to, there's a whole city full of vampires who have an axe to grind with him.

After the events in No Dominion, Joe has been exiled the South Bronx. He's doing his best to keep a low profile and eke out enough of a living to keep him in blood, bullets and smokes. It's not easy. He's there on sufferance -- despite the tolerance and interest of local boss Esperanza -- and he's down to his last three bullets. Staying out of trouble doesn't come naturally to him either.

So when Dexter Predo of the Coalition offers him a chance to go back to Manhattan, Joe takes it. Sure, Predo wants him dead but it's not like he's the only one.

Joe is sent to spy on Manhattan's new vampire clan: the Cure. They were set up by Amanda Horde -- a broken, brilliant, teenage millionaire with a soft spot for Pitt -- and are dedicated to finding a cure for Vyrus, the cause and carrier of vampirism. Some vampires consider the Cure to be heretics, others, like the Coalition, consider them a threat to the status quo. Dexter Predo wants to know what they are doing and what they have planned for the future.

What does Joe want though?

Caught up in the treacherous web of vampire politics, with the few alliances he'd once had long since severed, Joe sets about robbing Peter to pay Paul not to kill him. Each fragile alliance and casual betrayal buys Joe a few more hours of life, but is that all he's after? Or is he manipulating them all to his own ends?

Not that it matters, because one thing he couldn't have planned for was being tasked to find out the Coalition's deepest, darkest secret. Whether he succeeds or not, there's going to be a high price to pay.

This time it isn't just his own existence that Joe Pitt is putting on the line.

There's something oddly addictive about Charlie Huston's novels. I hate the structure he uses -- the use of dashes instead of quotation marks is aesthetically unappealing and I dislike the use of present tense -- but I admire how neatly he has taken the template of the hard-boiled detective novel and grafted on fangs. Take away the Vyrus and Joe Pitt, of the clipped, cynical narrative and reluctant morality, wouldn't have been out of place in the Black Mask magazine. With his stated amorality and motivations that are hidden from the reader, Pitt reminds me of Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon:

"Don't be too sure I'm as crooked as I'm supposed to be. That sort of reputation might be good business, bringing high-priced jobs and making it easier to deal with the enemy."
The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammett
It's hard for the reader to know where Pitt's loyalties lie. Pitt himself is caustic about his character and the world he moves in necessitates violence. For most of the book -- except when trauma shatters down to the truth at the core of him -- it's only through others that we see a better side of Pitt. That and in the quality of his enemies.

As I said earlier, I don't like some of Huston's grammatical choices, but I can't deny he has crafted a riveting and enjoyable story. There's something quite stylised about the prose -- his dialogue tends to sound slightly stilted on first reading but the use of rhythm and repetition is almost hypnotic. Lyric. His treatment of violence in the novel is also interesting. Pitt frequently commits, or has committed on him, acts of extreme violence... that are, ironically for a vampire novel, almost bloodless. Pitt reports what has been done, rather than the reader seeing it. I think it works in the novel since it serves to highlight Pitt's own attitude towards the violence, which is that it's business as usual.

If you enjoyed the other Joe Pitt novels then you'll enjoy this one too. If you haven't read them, but you like hard boiled fiction, then I'd suggest starting from the first book, Already Dead. Every Last Drop does work as a stand-alone novel, but it works better if you understand all the allusions and the source of the grudges that dog Joe's heels.

Copyright © 2008 Tammy Moore

Tammy Moore is a speculative fiction writer based in Belfast. She writes reviews for Verbal Magazine, Crime Scene NI and Green Man Review. Her first book The Even -- written by Tammy Moore and illustrated by Stephanie Law -- is to be published by Morrigan Books September 2008.

SearchContents PageSite MapContact UsCopyright

If you find any errors, typos or anything else worth mentioning, please send it to
Copyright © 1996-2014 SF Site All Rights Reserved Worldwide