Review of HALF THE BLOOD OF BROKLYN by Charlie Huston
Del Rey, December 2007
Joe Pitt is going through a rough time. His girlfriend is dying of AIDS, he's lost his independence and is working as enforcer for the Society, and then there's the little matter of being a vampire--with the attendant need for blood. Fortunately, Joe doesn't have much by way of morals, which helps take care of the blood issue. Less fortunately, there's something going on in New York--something dangerous. When his boss asks him to look into possible alliances with a group of vampires living in Brooklyn, Joe wants nothing more than to walk away. Unfortunately, it isn't that easy and Joe ends up walking into a bloodbath.
Between the Docks, the Freaks, and the Chosen, Brooklyn is a mess, but it's a mess that seems doomed to impact the vampire communities on Manhattan. Of course, once Joe finishes with them, there are a lot fewer to impact.
Author Charlie Huston (see more BooksForABuck.com reviews of fantasy by Huston) continues his Joe Pitt hardboiled vampire fantasy with another fast-paced and violent adventure. Joe is something of an anti-hero. He's practically an equal opportunity hater, and manages to create a lot of negative feelings back at him. Using broken phrases, obscenity-laden speech, dialect tags reflecting the ethnic origins of his characters, and the continual threat of violence, Huston kept me involved in the story, reading just one more page, even when I had a hard time finding anyone to cheer for.
Pitt chooses to use a dash (--) rather than quotation marks to mark out dialogue and, I have to say, I found this distracting and slowing down my reading. The casual murder of a pan-handler and the less casual but still amoral murder of the 'Docks' gang, coupled with more justified but still gruesome violence against other characters will put off some readers, especially as Pitt seems going through the motions, not driving toward any goal, not even seeing a possible way out of the cycle of death he's caught in. Even the Enclave, which once held a bit of (unlikely) hope now is closed to Pitt.
HALF THE BLOOD OF BROOKLYN serves as a sort of ending for Pitt's relationship with Manhattan. He's burned his bridges with just about every organization on the island and will now need to create a new world for himself. When he does, it's certain to be violent, amoral, and dangerous.
Too generous? Too stingy. Or did I miss the whole point? Send your comments to email@example.com. I'll publish the best letters I get so let me know if I can use your name.
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