Monday, May 10, 2010

One of a Kind: Charlie Huston and The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death

Author Charlie Huston doesn't seem capable of writing quiet or cautious fiction. Surprising would be the word I'd use when it comes to experiencing or explaining his work (and it's a highly recommended one at that by my book blogger friends). Sick, and not for the squeamish, could well be on the warning label for his book covers (if publishers did that sort of thing). Hysterically funny should certainly be listed there, too. One should take note, perhaps as a warning to some, of the novelist's marvelous and creative use of profanity in the dialogue of his characters  (I think only filmmaker/writer Quentin Tarantino rivals him in the expletive arena). Like him or not, there's no way you can ignore this man's talent. Exciting and unexpected would be the words that summarize my latest foray into Huston territory (my second behind Caught Stealing).

This post has been updated and moved to my current blog, which can be found here.
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28 comments:

  1. LOL! I think you're clever. Excellent review!

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  2. Thank you, John, for the RT!

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  3. Very kind of you to say. Thank you very much, Naomi.

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  4. I've yet to read any of Charlie Huston's books, but Brian's a fan.  I did know about the humor and language after I had Brian read a particular passage that had him laughing.  From that passage, I expected a completely different word hidden in your review.  ;)

    Great review, lp13!

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  5. Pop Culture NerdMay 10, 2010 at 1:27 PM

    Haha! I caught the hidden word at the beginning and thought, "Who are you calling that? What did I do?"

    Excellent review, Michael. I love Charlie's work. He's working on some exciting new projects; hopefully we'll get to see them soon.

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  6. This author is quite an experience. I guess I can't be surprise that Brian is a fan of Huston given his great taste in authors (Crais, Winslow, etc.) and the people he chooses to live with  ;) .

    Thank you very kindly, Christine.

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  7. I'm not surprised you caught the word early in the post given your book editor/writing experience, Elyse. I'm glad you enjoyed the review, especially since you're one of those who I have to thank for pushing me toward this author. BTW, CH was kind enough to respond to my email about how much I enjoyed the book. We should run into him again come September's West Hollywood Book Fair. Thanks for the kinds words (and for the word of good things coming), PCN.

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  8. Well you've certainly piqued my interest! And because I'm immature the expletives alone would probably get me curious. Ha! Adding to my TBR pile...

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  9. Thank you, kind sir.

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  10. I hope you enjoy your first Charlie Huston experience, Rachel. Please let me know what you think. Thank you very much.

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  11. By the by, PCN, Brian and I loved your comment on Craig Johnson's review of Charlie Huston over at Jen's Book Thoughts!  Stuffing books down pants to get them to read...well played.   :-D

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  12. I've moved Brian's copy of The Mystic Arts... to my TBR pile/trunk.  With all these enthusiastic reviews, I'm sure I can ignore my delicate sensibilities and muddle through the "novelist's marvelous and creative profanity."   O:-)

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  13. That sound you hear is your BS meter pegging at maximum.  :-P

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  14. I certainly will! And I just noticed Minority Report up as your next movie. Please, please, please* do a post on it as I love love love* it and it would be great to see your breakdown and then discuss. Also, I love the short story but for entirely different reasons. Also, even if you hate it I don't care, do a post and we'll chat it up. :)

    *more evidence of my immaturity... repetitiousness. hehe

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  15. You've convinced me that a post on Minority Report is worth doing. We'll definitely talk.  ;)

    Thanks, Rachel.

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  16. I love Charlie Huston! Have to enjoy that kind of humor..which I do; great "warped" reading, and that I mean as a compliment.
    Let me know when you're ready to read Jim Butcher...there is a trip down fantasy lane!

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  17. Bev - my husband and I are big fans of Jim Butcher, too!  I've got Brian's copies of the Codex Alera series in my TBR que, but I've read all of the Dresden Files.  

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  18. I've heard the name, but have read none. Looks like I have something else to look forward. Thanks, Bev.

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  19. You two have read everything!  :-P

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  20. Pop Culture NerdMay 11, 2010 at 10:06 PM

    Thanks, Christine (and Brian)! I will resort to extreme measures to get people to read him.

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  21. I'm back and have finished Mystic Arts. I really liked it! As in, totally hella loved it actually. It was really different from what I expected. I should say, if you asked me what I was expecting I would not have an answer but it certainly wasn't what was in there. What fun! I'll be looking out for more Huston soon.

    Side note - I'm a natural speed reader (I say natural because I once signed up for a speed reading class back when I was in college thinking it would be a useful time saver and then discovered that they were describing the way I read. huh.) but Huston's style is very hard to speed read. His departure from the typical structure of paragraphs/dialogue forced me to read more actual words than I am want to do. No big deal, really, his words are worth reading it just stuck out for me.

    Speaking of speed reading, I always say the highest compliment I can give a book is to say, "I read every word." It's so rare that I do. This book almost got that out of me. So I must say again I'm so glad you posted a review that got me interested.

    And maybe I'm being too metaphysical (or somesuch fancy sounding word) as I kept thinking a better title would have been "The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of LIFE."

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  22. I'm really glad the review got you interested in the book (and Charlie Huston's work), and that you ultimately enjoyed after reading it. BTW, I'm envious of your speed reading ability. Thanks, Rachel.

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  23. I've finally jumped on the Charlie Huston bandwagon!  Thank you so much for sharing your audiobook of THE MYSTIC ARTS..., Michael!!!  I listened to it on a recent roadtrip, and had just pulled into my brother-in-law's driveway when Web was about to explain why he doesn't ride the bus.  It was only the good manners I was taught, and definitely not the fact that my nephew had seen me pull into the driveway, that kept me from pulling back out and driving around until I got the story. O:-)

    Anyway, loved this book and look forward to raiding Brian's stash of books to find some of Huston's others.   

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  24. So glad you enjoyed it, Christine. It's always great to hear that a shared book can pull the same reaction from friends. And I understand the plight you went through in the driveway--done that myself a few times. The kids never understand why dad is sitting in the car after pulling into the garage. Thanks, Christine.

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  25. I had this in my TBL queue as an Edgar Award nominee; but I'm pretty sure I didn't have sense of the autor's style! As a person who loves gritty and profane writing in conjunction with good storytelling (Chuck Pahalniuk's INVISBLE MONSTERS - narrated by Anna Fields and, Josh Bazell's BEAT THE REAPER - narrated by Robert Petkoff) this sounds great! This review definitely pushes"Mystic Arts" up on my list!

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  26. Great to have you stop by, DEC. Welcome. If you enjoyed Beat the Reaper (as I did), then I believe you'll get a kick out of this one. And Paul Michael Garcia does great work here in his narration. I'll have to put Pahalniuk's Invisible Monsters on my TBL stack. Thank you for your comment, my friend.

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