The Dead Do Not Improve by Jay Caspian Kang
A Novel

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Hailed as The Awl’s 2012’s novel to anticipate, this glorious debut stars hippie detectives, a singular city, and an MFA student on the run.
      On a residential Bay Area block struggling with the collision of gentrifier condos and longtime residents, stymied recent MFA grad Philip Kim is sleeping the night away when bullets fly through a window in his apartment building and end up killing one of his neighbors. Philip only learns about the murder the next day when bored and Googling himself. But when he gets caught up in the investigation and becomes the focus of an elaborate, violent scheme, he will learn far more than he ever wanted to about his former four-eggs-at-a-time borrowing neighbor Dolores Stone, aka “The Grey Beaver,” and her shocking connections to an underworld only a city like this one could create.
      Siddhartha “Sid” Finch, a homicide detective bitter about everything except his gorgeous wife, and his phlegmatic, pock-marked partner Jim Kim, land the case. Sid and Jim race after Philip through a menacing, unknowable San Francisco fending off militant surfers, vaguely European cafes, and aggressive Advanced Creative Writing students as they all try to figure out just who’s causing trouble in this city they love to hate. 
      Exceedingly unique, pulsing with vigor and heart, and loaded with fierce, fresh language, The Dead Do Not Improve confirms Jay Caspian Kang as a true American original as obsessed with surfing and surviving as with the power of unforgettable storytelling.

About Jay Caspian Kang

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JAY CASPIAN KANG was born in Seoul and grew up in North Carolina. He is a contributing writer at the New York Times Magazine and works as an editor at Grantland. He lives in Los Angeles.
Published August 7, 2012 by Hogarth. 274 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Dead Do Not Improve

Kirkus Reviews

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Kang sends up the Bay Area's moralizing atmosphere along with its inherent weirdness, but he also parlays the setup into some surprisingly affecting observations: Philip’s budding relationship with a gorgeous neighbor sparks incisive passages on San Francisco’s tense mix of races and cultures, an...

Jul 22 2012 | Read Full Review of The Dead Do Not Improve: A Novel

Publishers Weekly

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Like Kim, Siddhartha “Sid” Finch, the privileged “trustafarian” turned surfer cop assigned to investigate the case, heaps scorn on the motley denizens of Internet-obsessed San Francisco, zealously lampooning tech nerds, advanced creative writing students, a cabal of vegan Buddhist ex-hack...

Jun 18 2012 | Read Full Review of The Dead Do Not Improve: A Novel

AV Club

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Pop-culture references and obsessive annotations aside, the debut novel from a Grantland editor weaves an impressive, evocative spell.

Sep 17 2012 | Read Full Review of The Dead Do Not Improve: A Novel

Bookmarks Magazine

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Oct 29 2012 | Read Full Review of The Dead Do Not Improve: A Novel

Time Out New York

Surfing homicide detectives, cultish health-food restaurant drones, ex-porn stars: Jay Caspian Kang’s San Francisco isn’t exactly the Coen brothers’ Los Angeles, but the playful satire of Kang’s slacker noir is enough to think of it in the same genre as The Big Lebowski.

Nov 21 2012 | Read Full Review of The Dead Do Not Improve: A Novel

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