Charlie Huston, Already Dead

Posted June 1, 2011 by Kathy Davie in

Already Dead (Joe Pitt, #1)Already Dead by Charlie Huston
Series: Joe Pitt, 1
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

First in the urban fantasy series, Joe Pitt, set in contemporary New York City.

The Story
Joe is such a sleaze. He does enforcement, collects on bad debts, hangs out in bars, and is trying to maintain his independence while living on one Clan’s turf, the Society, which is led by an aging hippie type, and doing contract jobs for yet another Clan, the Coalition, representing the traditionalists.

It’s a tough balancing act for Joe and gets worse when Predo, chief of the Coalition’s secret police, forces him into two tight spots: finding a zombie carrier who is infecting people on the streets and finding the runaway daughter of a major corporate tycoon. At which point, yet another vampire Clan, the Enclave, led by Daniel, steps in to complicate Joe’s life setting him up for revelations as they attempt to entice him in to their belief group.

Slowly, slowly, slowly the truth unravels for Joe as he finds how all these odds and ends tie up together with two parents at odds over their daughter, an unknown entity entering locked, hidden spaces leaving blank holes instead of smells, street kids getting punked, and how sex ties it all together.

The Characters
Joe Pitt is a fairly young vampire who had run away from the various foster homes he had been placed in when social workers put his parents in jail. Turning tricks in a men’s room at a concert brought him the wrong kind of customer. The kind who drank his blood and left him for dead on a bathroom floor where Terry Bird found him and brought him over.

Dexter Predo is a cold-hearted bastard who will happily plan three different ways to ensure your life is screwed. He runs security for the traditionalist vampire group, the Coalition. If he shows up at your door…be afraid, be very afraid.

Terry Bird, a passive-aggressive hippie-type, started up the Society in a slow-moving bid to gather all vampire groups under one umbrella and then come out to the world. Joe spent three years with the Society as Terry’s muscle until he realized that was how Terry saw him and would use him so Joe left.

Tom Nolan and Lydia Miles as Terry’s lieutenants. Tom is the kind of guy/vamp who flies off the handle and wants to kill Joe every other second while Lydia is their PC-obsessed feminist.

Evie tends bar and hangs with Joe. Infected with HIV, she refuses to have sex with Joe and they spend a lot of time watching horror movies together with Joe sneaking in the occasional Treasure of the Sierra Madre or Miller’s Crossing. She doesn’t know about Joe’s “affliction” and he doesn’t want to tell her.

Phillip is a weasely little Renfield spying for the Coalition.

My Take
! I love it! I love it! Definitely Mickey Spillane-ish with Joe as the hard-boiled vamp with a soft heart getting pulled into a conspiracy of life-threatening proportions even as he learns about his own strengths.

The Cover
The cover is hysterical! The top half is a nighttime view of New York City covering Joe’s head from the nose up leaving us a view of his mouth. Oh yeah, Joe’s mouth…with its lit cigarette jutting from one corner of his mouth and a glistening fang overhanging his lower lip. A tough guy with attitude!

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