The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston
A Novel

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Synopsis

With his teaching career derailed by tragedy and his slacker days numbered, Webster Fillmore Goodhue makes an unlikely move and joins Clean Team, charged with tidying up L.A.'s grisly crime scenes. For Web, it's a steady gig, and he soon finds himself sponging a Malibu suicide's brains from a bathroom mirror and flirting with the man's bereaved and beautiful daughter.

Then things get weird: The dead man's daughter asks a favor. Every cell in Web's brain tells him to turn her down, but something makes him hit the Harbor Freeway at midnight to help her however he can. Soon enough it's Web who needs the help when gun-toting California cowboys start showing up on his doorstep. What's the deal? Is it something to do with what he cleaned up in that motel room in Carson? Or is it all about the brewing war between rival trauma cleaners? Web doesn't have a clue, but he'll need to get one if he's going to keep from getting his face kicked in. Again. And again. And again.
 

About Charlie Huston

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Charlie Huston is the author of Sleepless, the bestsellers The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death and The Shotgun Rule, the Henry Thompson trilogy, the Joe Pitt casebooks, and several titles for Marvel Comics. He lives with his family in Los Angeles.
 
Published December 24, 2008 by Ballantine Books. 337 pages
Genres: Mystery, Thriller & Suspense, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death

Kirkus Reviews

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Oddly enough, he finds the work satisfying—an encouraging sign that he’s on his way to becoming “a kind of a grown-up.” True, he encounters unimagined downsides, from severe beatings administered by rancorous rivals (crime-scene cleaning, it turns out, is a growth industry that’s fiercely competi...

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The New York Times

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To avoid that, I’ll stay over here.” When Web attempts a rapprochement with this guy, he tells the reader, “He took my hand and I pulled him halfway up and let go and watched Newtonian physics at work again.” “The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death” takes its showy title from the line of ...

Jan 04 2009 | Read Full Review of The Mystic Arts of Erasing Al...

Publishers Weekly

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Noir master Huston (The Shotgun Rule ) should win himself a whole new audience with this bizarre and utterly grotesque stand-alone, told mostly through dialogue that highlights the author’s uncanny ear for the spoken word.

Nov 10 2008 | Read Full Review of The Mystic Arts of Erasing Al...

BC Books

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The Cleaning industry is rife with murderous competition, and Web ends up falling in love with daughter of the guy who blew his brains out, which leads to his involvement in a larger web of criminals.

Feb 11 2009 | Read Full Review of The Mystic Arts of Erasing Al...

Book Reporter

Web’s relationship with Chev is rapidly running out of road, resulting in Chev presenting Web with the ultimatum of finding some kind of gainful employment or hitting the road.

Jan 12 2011 | Read Full Review of The Mystic Arts of Erasing Al...

The Washington Post

Here, halfway through the novel, Web sums up some of his woes: "The thing about getting beat up twice, spending big chunks of time cleaning up other people's blood, seeing your dad for the first time in two years, getting in a fight with your best friend, and having sex with someone you think ...

Jan 12 2009 | Read Full Review of The Mystic Arts of Erasing Al...

Reviewing the Evidence

Web's parents are an alcoholic has-been Hollywood hack and a blessed-out New Age dope-dealer who dropped out of his life long ago but sends him advice, money, and organic blackberry pies.

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Bookmarks Magazine

Janet Maslin NY Times Book Review 3.5 of 5 Stars "Despite his cleverness in engineering a treacherous romance for Web, along with ‘some kind of dead-body-cleanup range war’ between the good-guy Clean Team and their thuggish rivals at a company called Aftershock, Huston isn’t as noir as he pr...

Jan 11 2009 | Read Full Review of The Mystic Arts of Erasing Al...

Chamber Four

It’s physically gruesome, but not nearly as emotionally scarring as the incident that caused Chev to hate Web’s father, an incident that Web casually mentions and then everybody more or less forgets about.

Feb 16 2010 | Read Full Review of The Mystic Arts of Erasing Al...

Boomtron

It must be said that The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death ain’t your typical Charlie Huston novel – whatever the fuck that’s supposed to mean.

Feb 05 2009 | Read Full Review of The Mystic Arts of Erasing Al...

Reader Rating for The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death
71%

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