Already Dead

Already Dead

by Charlie Huston

An audio file of this program is available in mp3 format; click to listen.

I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book is Already Dead by Charlie Huston.

I’m not giving anything away when I tell you that I love books about vampires. I’ll give almost any of them a try — and there are a lot of them — and the results vary wildly. One I took a pass on was a chick lit book set among the vampire gamblers of Las Vegas. Like, how can you tell? There comes a point at which you should stop crossing over, and I think that was it.

Like bored Roman nobility, I want to wave a hand in the air and say, “Show me something new and entertaining. Make it about vampires, but not the regular kind. I want blood, violence, sex, angst, mysticism, great characters, nobility of spirit, grand themes, love, longing, despair, and for the love of God, please don’t be cute.” Vampires have become literary shorthand for well — lots of things, including the AIDS epidemic, homophobia, racism — anything that results in someone having outsider status, often against their will. I was having a long conversation with my friend Eric, who’s a big fan of the old school kind of monster, and he asked me, where’s the scary? I said, it’s the impulse towards death. That was when he looked at his watch and said he had to go. Anyway, that’s the scary in the vampire story, being the victim, possessed by something dangerous. You add another layer when you’re not the victim but the monster itself, because guilt is always good to write about.

So anyway, I waved my hand and all that, and the next thing you know my other friend Tim handed me a copy of Already Dead by Charlie Huston. This is really turning into a group effort. It’s a vampire book all right, but it’s different. This is a crossover that really works. Huston takes the shadowy setting of noir and into it plunks his anti-hero, dead detective Joe Pitt. Since Joe has to stay out of the sunlight anyway, it’s a perfect fit. In Already Dead, vampirism is a disease. You catch it from a bite, but it’s not like Joe is some sort of demon. He gets downright testy when confronted with the supernatural. He believes in what he can see. As an added bonus, there are zombies, proper shuffling brain-eating zombies. Zombies have become pretty popular as a representation of the unstoppable enemy, but they aren’t nearly as sexy on screen (or on the page, for that matter.) Joe feels kind of sorry for them, but everyone knows what you do with a zombie. (If you’re ambivalent about Zombie Rights this book may not be for you.)

There are lots of interesting things about this book beyond the twisty double- and triple-crosses of the plot, and a lot of lining things up for a proposed series, which I am looking forward to. I liked Joe’s relationship with his girlfriend, tough talking bartender with a heart of gold Evie. Evie has the HIV virus, speaking of blood transmitted viruses, and they dance an elaborate pas de deux regarding physical intimacy, and who knows what about whom. Also noteworthy is the mythology the vampire clans of New York  have begun to create for themselves, a new civilization with its doubters and true believers. Joe is strictly a doubter, but he seems to be developing an open mind by the end of the book.

Charlie Huston is the author of Already Dead, the thrillers Caught Stealing and Six Bad Things, and the Moon Knight comic series. His characters are hardcore, his web site is hard-boiled, and he is an awfully nice guy.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is Fiction Nation. The book is Already Dead by Charlie Huston.

Used to be, sex was the big metaphor. Sex was never just about itself, but also about power, war, love and death. Now it seems like blood is the new sex. I think it probably started around the time we all learned what AIDS was all about. Blood is now the shorthand for gender, life, race — even sex. And that’s what Already Dead is about — the story of Joe Pitt, detective and vampire. No gothic trappings in this book — its ice cold noir set in nighttime New York City. Clans and families of vampires run the town and each have their own haunts, but Joe is a freelancer, which mostly means he can get his butt kicked from uptown to the bowery, which he does several times while looking for an industrialist’s wealthy daughter. Joe’s condition is widely considered to be some sort of virus, and there’s not much of supernatural element. There are zombies though, so bonus. Already Dead by Charlie Huston. I’m Kim Alexander on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is a Fiction Nation minute. The book is Already Dead by Charlie Huston.

One thing about vampires in fiction, they all feel sorry for themselves. And Joe Pitt is no exception. He’s a detective in a New York City run by vampire clans, but these aren’t velvet wearing Anne Rice undead, more like the street gangs in the movie The Warriors. Joe feels bad that he’s on the outs with most of them for one reason or another. He’s in love with bartender Evie, who has her own problems, but won’t tell her about his little condition. And he’s feeling particularly bad about the zombies he just killed, even though that’s what you do with zombies. Already Dead is a very dark noir crime novel about a guy who just happens to be a vampire, and he’s got a case that may get him killed — again. Joe’s attempts to find the missing rich girl, stop the zombie plague, and decide where he belongs all came together neatly — and I look forward to the next book in the Joe Pitt series. Already Dead by Charlie Huston. I’m Kim Alexander on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


I’m Kim Alexander and this is a Fiction Nation minute. The book is Already Dead by Charlie Huston.

Joe Pitt is a detective and hired muscle in New York City. He has few friends, lots of enemies, smokes constantly and  oh yeah, he’s a vampire. It’s not like you think, though. In this book, it’s an infection, and lots of people have it. Joe freelances for the various clans that have divided up the city, and spends this book trying to stay out of the sun, not get beat up again, and find the missing daughter of a rich man. Already Dead is a different sort of a vampire book, with its roots in 1940s noir fiction, and by necessity most of the action takes place in the dark and the shadows. Since vampirism is a virus the supernatural doesn’t play a big part,  although no one seems sure where the virus came from, and there is some evidence there’s more going on than we, or Joe, understand. Good news, there are more books on the way to explain it. Already Dead is pretty graphic, smoking isn’t close to the worst thing these characters do. Already Dead by Charlie Huston. I’m Kim Alexander on Book Radio, SiriusXM Channel 80.


Buy this book from Amazon.com


Buy this book from Audible.com