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Shelf Indulgence

Books. Reviews.

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Aftermath
Chuck Wendig
Dhalgren
Samuel R. Delany
Jackals
Charles L. Grant

My Dead Body

My Dead Body - Charlie Huston My Dead Body was another series I hadn't originally planned to finish, but when it came down to it, I wanted to see how the Joe Pitt Casebooks would end, so I tracked down a copy of the book to read at the last minute. It was good timing, too; the book arrived right after I had finished the book that preceded this one in my reading list.

I had forgotten a lot of what had happened in this series, so I found some good summaries of the first four books here and there to get a general sense of what had occurred previously, but it turns out I could have just started reading the book and gotten a lot of that back. Huston did a good job of covering in broad strokes what had taken place before this book, enough so that I came across stuff I hadn't found through my own research. Characters came back to me, if not when I first came across them again, at least through the reminiscing that Joe covered in his narrative. And, like the events, I rediscovered characters I had forgotten that I had encountered before in this series.

(I should note that enough time had passed since my reading this series that I realized I had confused some of the events from The Strain and its sequels with stuff that happened here, and vice-versa. That led to a lot of those revelations above.)

Huston wrapped up the series well, tying up loose ends and bringing the story to a satisfactory close. When I first started reading these books as a series, and not just individual books, it felt like Huston was pulling in different ideas, and not working an overall plot that followed the entire series. With My Dead Body, he shows that he had a pretty good idea of what he was doing with the series from the beginning, as all the different plots from the previous novels came together into a cohesive conclusion. Or else he's extraordinarily good at winging his plots. Either way, the feat is impressive.

In some ways, the ending was a little too pat. There were a lot of double-, triple-, and even quadruple-crosses in the story, enough that I was worried that those crosses would be the death of Joe Pitt, but he managed to escape most of them unscathed. That makes sense (he's been our first-person, present-tense narrator this entire time, so if he didn't escape them, the story would have ground to a halt), but for a series that's been as brutal and profane as the average Saw movie, I was surprised that we didn't see a bit more tragedy here. Don't get me wrong; this movie wouldn't be a Hallmark Movie of the Week, but after the nihilistic ending of the Hank Thompson series, I was expecting something a lot darker.

I wasn't impressed with Every Last Drop, enough so that I almost didn't finish out the series, and that would have been a mistake. Charlie Huston continues to write gritty, compelling stories filled with anti-heroes and plot twists, and this was the right way to bring the Joe Pitt series to an end. If you've enjoyed the series up to this point, you owe it to yourself to see it all the way through to the end.