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August 13, 2008 / C.T. Henry

TWO OF MY FAVORITES: One Thriller and One Mystery

Of all the books that I’ve read in 2008, these two are my favorites. I’d never heard of these authors before, but you can bet that I’ll be first in line for their next book release. If you like your fiction hard-boiled, these should the next two books you read.

The first is Marcus Sakey’s The Blade Itself. This is Sakey’s first novel, and it’s a real winner. In a nutshell, it’s an excellent character study of an ex-con, who finally goes legit, and then his old, psychopathic partner shows up to threaten all that he’s worked for. Sakey builds the tension to an almost overwhelming level. And that’s why it’s so good, it’s so visceral you feel as if you’ve just been kicked in the gut. You will remember this book long after you finish reading it.

Book Synopsis: On the South Side of Chicago, you’re only as strong as your reputation. Danny Carter and his best friend Evan earned theirs knocking over pawnshops and liquor stores, living from score to score, never thinking of tomorrow…until, in the roar of a gun blast, everything changed. Years later, Danny has built a new life: a legitimate career, a long-term girlfriend, and a clean conscience. He’s just like anyone else. Normal. Successful. Happy. Until then he spots his old partner staring him down in a smoky barroom mirror… Now, with all he loves on the line and nowhere to turn, Danny realizes his new life hinges on a terrible choice: How far will he go to protect his future from his past?


The second book is Charlie Huston’s Already Dead. In the last few years, I’d heard about this relatively unknown talent, so I finally decided to pick up one of Charlie Huston’s books. After reading Already Dead, I’m a believer. This is one of my favorite hard-boiled mysteries of all time. Huston surprised me at every turn. The main character is a private detective in New York (nothing new there, right?), but he’s also a vampire. In classic noir fashion, Joe Pitt is a rogue, who doesn’t want to be associated with any of New York’s clans.  He’s hired to find a teenage runaway and daughter of one of New York’s leading human families, who likes to dress in goth (funny, right?). The world Huston creates is absolutely fascinating. I was drawn into it, and I wanted to stay. Good thing there’s a sequel.

Book Synopsis: There’s a shambler on the loose. Some fool who got himself infected with a flesh-eating bacteria is lurching around, trying to munch on folks’ brains. Joe hates shamblers, but he’s still the one who has to deal with them. That’s just the kind of life he has. Except afterlife might be better word. From the Battery to the Bronx, and from river to river, Manhattan is crawling with Vampyres. Joe is one of them, and he’s not happy about it. Yeah, he gets to be stronger and faster than you, and he’s tough as nails and hard to kill. But spending his nights trying to score a pint of blood to feed the Vyrus that’s eating at him isn’t his idea of a good time. And Joe doesn’t make it any easier on himself. Going his own way, refusing to ally with the Clans that run the undead underside of Manhattan–it ain’t easy. It’s worse once he gets mixed up with the Coalition–the city’s most powerful Clan–and finds himself searching for a poor little rich girl who’s gone missing in Alphabet City. Now the Coalition and the girl’s high-society parents are breathing down his neck, anarchist Vampyres are pushing him around, and a crazy Vampyre cult is stalking him. No time to complain, though. Got to find that girl and kill that shambler before the whip comes down . . . and before the sun comes up.


Leave a Comment
  1. Marcus Sakey / Aug 13 2008 4:04 pm

    Hey Henry, thanks for the shout-out! Glad you enjoyed the book.

    I’m especially flattered to be listed next to Charlie. I love that dude’s work. Try CAUGHT STEALING–that whole trilogy is fantastic.


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