The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death: A Novel

3.83 avg rating
( 4,078 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780345501110: The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death: A Novel

When a beautiful woman asks for his help cleaning up after her brother has gotten in trouble, every cell in Webster Goodhues brain is telling him to turn her down.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

Review:

Amazon Best of the Month, January 2009: If you love crime fiction--preferably wickedly profane, unabashedly grisly, and laugh-out-loud funny "pulp" fiction--your number one New Year's resolution needs to be to read Charlie Huston. It only takes one to get you so hooked you'll read everything you can get your hands on, so take a couple of days off and give yourself room to binge on the brutal and hilarious Hank Thompson and Joe Pitt series, the blistering Shotgun Rule, and this latest and greatest stand-alone, The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death. The best thing about reading a Huston novel is that you never see it coming--laughter, tears, the passing urge to vomit--everything is a surprise, creating a wholly unsettling and exciting reading experience. The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death has all the makings of a perfect Charlie Huston novel--the down-but-not-out antihero, the outrageous supporting characters (each of whom deserves their own spin-off), the very bad situation involving money and violence, and the hilariously inappropriate dialogue that is Huston's signature--but with one surprising addition, hope. It does little good to break down the plot of a book this bizarre and brilliant. You're just going to have to trust us (and our Guest Reviewer, Stephen King), and read it. --Daphne Durham

Amazon Exclusive: Stephen King Reviews The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death

Stephen King is the author of too many bestselling books to name here, but some of our favorites include: Cell, The Stand, On Writing, The Shining, and his epic Dark Tower series. King also received the National Book Foundation 2003 Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, has had many movies and television miniseries adapted from his novels, short stories, and screenplays, and is a regular columnist for Entertainment Weekly. Read King's review of Charlie Huston's The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death below.

For more from Charlie Huston, check out his "true stories about messes I've seen, helped clean up, and made" on Amazon's books blog, Omnivoracious.

There are some things you never wonder about until someone--usually someone whose mind lives on Weird Street--brings them to your attention. Who cuts the barber’s hair? How does a guy wind up with the job of test-smelling armpits for a deoderant company? Or de-wrinkling dress shoes before they’re put on sale? Why does one kid become a college dean while another grows up to be a key grip? And just what is a key grip, anyway?

Here’s another one. Who scrubs down the scene after a spectacularly messy death--a guy who shoots himself in the head, let’s say, or dies of natural causes in a hot back room and then goes undiscovered for a couple of weeks? What sort of janitorial problems would such work entail? It turns out there are firms that specialize in those problems, and in the Weird Street world of Charlie Huston, a couple of these companies might even do battle over the smelly, maggoty spoils of war.

“Trauma scene and waste cleaning is a growth industry,” remarks Po Sin, the owner/operator of Clean Team. The observation comes early in Charlie Huston’s terrific new novel, which is about just what the title suggests: getting rid of the messy stuff after the deal goes down.

When The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death opens, Webster Fillmore Goodhue--another in a long line of likeably slack Huston protagonists--is sponging off his friend Chev, who runs a sleazier-than-thou tattoo parlor. Enter the proprietor of Clean Team, who knows Web from Web’s previous life as an elementary school teacher (a career that ended badly). Po Sin needs help in his particular growth-industry. Web agrees to a little blood- and brain-scrubbing not because he particularly wants a job but because he’s suffered his own trauma and finds cleaning up other people’s end-of-life messes strangely soothing.

Enter Soledad, a beautiful young girl whose father just aired out his brains with a 9mm. Also enter Jaime, her half-bright half-brother who imagines himself a Hollywood playa but can’t get out of his own way. There are many things to love about Charlie Huston’s fiction--he’s a brilliant storyteller, and writes the best dialogue since George V. Higgins--but what pushes my personal happy-button is his morbid sense of humor and seemingly effortless ability to create scary/funny bad guys who make Beavis and Butthead look like Rhodes Scholars.

There are a lot of those in this book, and several I-can’t-believe-I-laughed-at-that scenes of grue (I can’t even talk about the pipe-bomb thing, not on a family website), but the best thing about Mystic Arts is how decency and heroism rise to the top in spite of everyone’s best efforts to crush them under heel.

Web wanders from the nightmarish underworld of body clean-up into the equally nightmarish worlds of hijacking and smuggling; he endures cross, double-cross, and triple-cross; he pees his pants while trying to shield his girlfriend from a bullet. He’s scared but never cowardly, down but never completely out. He is, in short, a guy worth watching.

So’s Charlie Huston. He’s written several very good books (including the Caught Stealing trilogy and the Joe Pitt novels, which concern a PI who’s also a vampire), but this is the first authentically great one, a runaway freight that feels like a combination of William Burroughs and James Ellroy. Mystic Arts is, however, fiercely original--very much its own thing.

Besides, admit it: you’ve always wanted to know how to get blood out of a deep-pile carpet.

About the Author:

Charlie Huston is the author of The Shotgun Rule, the Henry Thompson trilogy: Caught Stealing, Six Bad Things (an Edgar Award nominee), and A Dangerous Man, and the Joe Pitt novels: Already Dead, No Dominion, Half the Blood of Brooklyn, and Every Last Drop. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the actress Virginia Louise Smith.

www.pulpnoir.com

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Huston, Charlie
Published by Ballantine Books, New York, NY (2009)
ISBN 10: 034550111X ISBN 13: 9780345501110
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Mad 4 Mysteries
(Columbia, SC, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Ballantine Books, New York, NY, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: Near Fine. First Edition. First edition, first printing. Bottom spine lightly bumped. Dust jacket in Mylar. Bookseller Inventory # 001547

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 5.00
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.60
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

2.

Charlie Huston
Published by Ballantine Books (2009)
ISBN 10: 034550111X ISBN 13: 9780345501110
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Rumford, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Ballantine Books, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. book. Bookseller Inventory # M034550111X

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 18.84
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

3.

Charlie Huston
Published by Ballantine Books (2009)
ISBN 10: 034550111X ISBN 13: 9780345501110
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Ballantine Books, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # DADAX034550111X

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 18.24
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

4.

Huston, Charlie
Published by Ballantine Books, New York, New York, U.S.A (2009)
ISBN 10: 034550111X ISBN 13: 9780345501110
New Hardcover First Edition Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Joe Staats, Bookseller
(Los Angeles, CA, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Ballantine Books, New York, New York, U.S.A, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Dust Jacket Condition: New. 1st Edition. Author of SHOTGUN RULE, CAUGHT STEALING, SLEEPLESS and SKINNER, among other stellar contemporary crime novels. New, unread, first edition, first printing, in new, mylar-protected dust jacket. {Not remainder-marked or price-clipped} BUND. Bookseller Inventory # 023071

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 21.00
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.75
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

5.

Huston, Charlie
Published by Ballantine Books (2009)
ISBN 10: 034550111X ISBN 13: 9780345501110
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Ballantine Books, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P11034550111X

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 34.01
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 1.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds

6.

Huston, Charlie
Published by Ballantine Books, New York (2009)
ISBN 10: 034550111X ISBN 13: 9780345501110
New Hardcover First Edition Signed Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Owlsnest Books
(Ooltewah, TN, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Ballantine Books, New York, 2009. Hardcover. Book Condition: Very Fine. Dust Jacket Condition: Very Fine. First Edition - First Printing. First edition, first printing with a full number line starting with a 1. A very fine and unread copy in a very fine dust jacket, now in a clear removable protective cover. Bubble wrapped and shipped in a well padded, sturdy box, not an envelope. A finalist for the Edgar Award for Best Novel. Author of the `Joe Pitt Casebooks, the Henry Thompson Trilogy, and "The Shotgun Rule". SIGNED by Charlie Huston on the title page. Not inscribed, price clipped, remaindered or otherwise marked. Lovely copy. Signed by Author(s). Bookseller Inventory # 011145

More Information About This Seller | Ask Bookseller a Question

Buy New
US$ 36.00
Convert Currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 4.50
Within U.S.A.
Destination, Rates & Speeds