Book Review: The Mystic Arts of Erasing all Signs of Death by Charlie Huston

Sometimes you read a book and the author pulls you in to the story before you even realize you’ve been pulled in. This book is like that. With The Mystic Art of Erasing all Signs of Death, Charlie Huston has written a story about a Los Angeles slacker named Webster Fillmore Goodhue. Web has divorced parents that are deeply flawed but deeply care for Web. Web was a 5th grade teacher who witnessed a tragedy that shattered him. Web withdrew from teaching and now works as a gofer for a tattoo artist. One of the things I loved about Mr, Huston’s portrayal of Web is his sense of sarcasm that masks his entire being. It’s a false front that we on the outside can see is a facade for Web’s response to that tragedy.

Web takes a job working for a crime scene clean up crew and we meet more characters that deeply care for Web. People trying to restore Web.. Without a major spoiler reveal, I’ll just say that what started as a story about a shallow profane human being ends up as a restorative process to recover his humanity.

I highly recommend The Mystic Arts of Erasing all Signs of Death and encourage you to checkout Charlie Huston’s other works. He won an Edgar Award in 2006 for his book “Six Bad Things.” Stephen King thinks so highly of The Shotgun Rule that he wrote: “Anyone not acquainted with Charlie Huston’s blistering, unputdownable novels will want to tie their sneakers nice and tight before starting The Shotgun Rule, or they are apt to be blasted clean out of them.”

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