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Ceridwen

Ceridwen

You kids get off my lawn. 

The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death - Charlie Huston The Mystic Arts of Washing Your Mouth Out with Soap, Young Man.

So, I really like swearing, cussing, and doing both at once. I'm fond of light blasphemy, I enjoy a good dick joke, and quips about yo mama are almost never not funny. And although I'm sure you, dear reader, think I'm being tongue-in-cheek, I'm not. The majesty of cursing, the f-bombs bursting in air, it all makes me pretty darn happy.

However.

It is possible that this book found my limit. Which is not to say that the cuss-to-not-cuss ratio was too high for me, because it wasn't, or that the potty mouth wasn't inventive and often funny, because it was. But the off-color invective was maybe the best part of the book, and the only part that really worked for me. Which is kind of sad on a number of different levels, some of them personal.

Our hero is someone that everyone, almost without exception, refers to as an asshole. They're not wrong, but he's also not the worst person we meet. He falls into the crime scene clean-up biz at the beginning of the book. You know, the crap job where you clean up murders and suicides? Someone dies, the neighbors don't call the cops until they notice the smell, who cleans up? Well, a bunch of severely damaged SoCal types who possibly only exist in books and film, especially Elmore Leonardish pulp stuff. But what do I know? The bummer for me is that I would have preferred to know more about the actual crime clean-up industry, and less about the noir plot that was going on.

Also, what is wrong with using quotation marks for dialogue? This is the second book I've read in the last month in which the author decided to strike out and make up their own punctuation. Wtf? I am no punctuation fascist, seriously, and I'm not even a member of the grammar police, but quote marks are bloody brilliant at conveying who is saying what. I miss them when they're gone. (Okay, so I have a problem when people mix up “less” and “fewer,” and the whole “they're,” “their,” and “there” mess. Also, I love semi-colons; they should be used more often. But I seriously considered whether to put the periods and commas inside or outside the quote marks. I'm pretty sure I always get it wrong, no matter what I do. So there.)

Anyway, there are other things to complain about with this book: choppy, hard to understand action sequences, dubious motivations and plotting, unlikely characters and events. But if you're into some seriously weapons-grade cussing, this is the book for you.