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The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death    by Charlie Huston Amazon.com order for
Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death
by Charlie Huston
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2009 (2009)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

Once you get past the language and designer punctuation, the gore and the brutality, as well as the flow of the dialogue, The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston, is a good, very readable book, which I enjoyed.

Web Goodhue had been a teacher until he suffered a severe trauma to his psyche and found himself no longer able to function as a contributing member of society. Inadvertently, he becomes a part of a clean-up team cleaning the aforementioned gore after accidents, murders and the odd suicide. Certainly not an occupation that would appeal to many folks. (Huston researched this novel by interviewing actual trauma cleaners surely a company to which most of us have never given a thought.)

Web's tribulations could have come partly from his upbringing. Both of his parents seem whacked out. Nevertheless they elicit a chuckle when reading of them. Web is just an average guy who has been caught up in circumstances he cannot handle. His battle with his problem belies the face he presents to the world. He appears to be a put together, capable man who can manage his life any way that he chooses. He seems to choose a lazy, unproductive one. His interaction with others is oft times accommodating the line of least resistance. When Web's girlfriend is kidnapped, though, he rises to the occasion as I was sure all along that he would.

Web is a very welcome addition to the mystery scene. His creator is the author of many other popular novels, including his Joe Pitt and Henry Thompson series. In any case, the action in The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death moves at a fast clip. Attention must be paid to keep up.

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