Thursday, March 25, 2010

Book review: No Dominion: a novel by Charlie Huston

No Dominion is the second book in Charlie Huston’s Joe Pitt Casebooks series. Remember how much I liked the first one? This second entry doesn’t go into any sophomore slump, starting up with a bang and getting wilder from there. Huston clearly has a knack for drawing the reader into the action. Here are the first two sentences:
The glass is breaking. That’s not the surprising thing: the surprising thing is that it didn’t shatter when he threw me against it.
Once again, Joe is stuck in the middle of all kinds of hell. He’s still trying to lay low, remain Rogue, unaffiliated with any of Manhattan’s Vampyre Clans, but times have been tough lately. Since the goings-on at the end of Already Dead, he’s been on the outs with the Coalition, and all his jobs – and thus his money and his easy source of blood – have dried up. So when his former Clan, the Society, led by the hippie/master manipulator Terry, hires him to investigate a new drug of sorts that is making its way through the streets, presenting a high so high that the new fish infected who take it turn into old school beserkers, Joe takes the job. If he’s lucky, he won’t live to regret it.

No Dominion brings back all the regulars from the first book: Joe’s HIV-positive bartender girlfriend Evie; Phil, the skeezy Renfield snitch; Irish giant vampire Hurley, post-modern feminist lesbian vampire Lydia, and loose-cannon vampire Tom, all part of Terry’s crew; the eerie and translucent Daniel. Some new and memorable characters drop in too as Joe’s adventures take him up to Harlem: the Count, an affected poor little rich boy Infected, complete with his bevy of vampire brides; and DJ Grave Digga, warlord of The Hood.

In addition to his flair for over-the-top violence (these are vampires, after all), Huston has a nice ear for dialogue, particularly its rhythms. Just don’t mind all the cussing (I certainly don’t).

I’m already halfway through the third volume of the Joe Pitt series – just eating this stuff up like kettle corn. Although these novels aren’t long (251 pages for No Dominion ), they’re dense with just the kind of stuff I like: complicated, twisty plots; colorful and layered characters; and the supernatural dosed with a shot of the real world. I think I’m going to be very sad when I get to the end of the series.

No comments:

Post a Comment