No Dominion (Joe Pitt Series #2)

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Overview

Joe Pitt’s life sucks. He hasn’t had a case or a job in God knows how long and his stashes are running on empty. What stashes? The only ones that count to a guy like Joe: blood and money. The money he uses to buy blood; the blood he drinks. Hey, buddy, it’s that or your neck -- you want to choose? The only way to lay his hands on both is to take a gig with the local Vampyre Clan. See, something new is on the streets, a new high, a high so strong it can send a Vampyre spazzing through Joe’s local watering hole. ...
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Overview

Joe Pitt’s life sucks. He hasn’t had a case or a job in God knows how long and his stashes are running on empty. What stashes? The only ones that count to a guy like Joe: blood and money. The money he uses to buy blood; the blood he drinks. Hey, buddy, it’s that or your neck -- you want to choose? The only way to lay his hands on both is to take a gig with the local Vampyre Clan. See, something new is on the streets, a new high, a high so strong it can send a Vampyre spazzing through Joe’s local watering hole. Till Joe sends him through a plate-glass window, that is.

So it’s time for Joe to gut up and swallow that pride and follow the leads wherever they go. It won’t be long before he’s slapping stoolies, getting sapped, and being taken for a ride above 110th Street. Someone’s pulling Joe’s strings, and now he’s riding the A train, looking to find who it is. He’s gonna cut them when he finds them -- the strings and the hands that hold them.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
The Barnes & Noble Review
Charlie Huston is an anomaly, an epiphany, simultaneously a breath of fresh air and a steel-toed kick to the groin; he is a foul-mouthed, scathingly sardonic literary gift from the gods to all those oft-neglected mystery and fantasy fans who have been in search of something "different" among the never-ending flood of formulaic regurgitation.

Blending vampire mythos and hard-boiled crime fiction à la Raymond Chandler and James Ellroy with a healthy dose of in-your-face attitude, Huston's second installment of his critically acclaimed Joe Pitt saga is a visceral, eviscerating masterwork set in a near-future New York City where, unbeknownst to the majority of the population, several powerful and highly territorial groups of vampires are thriving in dark recesses. In a world where clan affiliation -- the Coalition, the Society, the Enclave, etc. -- can mean the difference between life and death, Joe Pitt is a loner. But being a "rogue" makes him a commodity, especially when it comes to looking into troublesome extra-tribal situations. Running desperately low on blood and money -- and dealing with a drop-dead-gorgeous, HIV-positive girlfriend who's going through yet another round of treatments -- Pitt is forced to take a job investigating a strange new drug that has been turning vampires into addicts. But soon enough, Pitt starts "harshing people's mellows" and finds himself in the middle of what could be an all-out clan war…

Down-and-dirty crime fiction, dark fantasy, and bloodsucking horror fans alike who have yet to experience the twisted genius of Charlie Huston are strongly urged to do so immediately. Like the innumerable characters in his Joe Pitt saga that become irrevocably changed when infected by the vampiric virus, readers who sample any of Huston's works will become similarly transformed into lifelong fans. Pure pulp manna. Paul Goat Allen
Publishers Weekly
Huston's stylish sophomore outing for hard-boiled vampire detective Joe Pitt maintains the high quality of its predecessor, Already Dead (2005). When a fellow bloodsucker who seems revved up on drugs picks a bar fight with Pitt, the detective discovers that a new drug has hit the street, one strong enough to cut through the vampire virus and make its users do unpredictable things, things that could bring unwelcome exposure to New York's vampire community. Word has it that the drug, "anathema," comes from suppliers in Harlem. The leader of the Society Clan of vampires hires Pitt to investigate uptown, but the all-black vampire clan called the Hood, run by one DJ Grave Digga, has other plans in mind for the rogue detective. Meanwhile, Pitt's HIV-positive girlfriend Evie, who's struggling with a new round of medication, is beginning to lose patience with Pitt's secrecy and disappearances. Indeed, the doomed love story at the heart of Huston's action-filled epic is what truly makes this a noir novel, and the undead microcosm of society he creates is both surprisingly relevant and entertaining. (Dec.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
In p.i. Joe Pitt's second adventure (Already Dead, 2005), turf-warring Vampyres are out for blood. Not many people know that lower Manhattan is home to more than 4,000 Vampyres. Most of them are attached to clans with names like Coalition (the top of the heap, ruthlessly dedicated to the status quo) and Society (smaller, but equally ferocious). In addition, there's a smattering of independent Rogues like Pitt, a quintessential loner who stubbornly refuses to wear any clan's livery. With his blood stash and funds uncomfortably diminished, Joe needs a gig in order to replenish both. So he calls on Society boss Terry Bird. His history with Terry is checkered, but he prefers him to the Coalition alternative. Terry has work for him, all right, but Joe doesn't like a thing he hears about the assignment. To begin with, it means a subway ride uptown, where the blood-sucking scene is less familiar, more dangerous and full of people like the venomous, murderous Mrs. Vandewater and DJ Grave Digga, who kills as easily as he breathes. Uptown Vampyres are fiercely territorial, chieftains to steer clear of. But Joe's plummeting blood supply, flat wallet and bleak guiding principle-"I'm already as sick as a man can get"-persuade him to take the A train. Warning to the squeamish: Huston, a gifted storyteller, relishes moments when things get ugly. Agent: Simon Lipskar/Writers House LLC
From the Publisher
“Among the new voices of the twenty-first-century crime fiction, Charlie Huston . . . is where it’s at.”
–The Washington Post Book World

“[Charlie Huston is] a Bowery-bred Bram Stoker. . . . Joe Pitt is the sort of hard-boiled, one-liner-shooting character that readers of black-coffee detective novels and modern vampire fiction should embrace with a vengeance.”
–The Examiner (Alexandria, Virginia)

Praise for Already Dead

“[Huston] creates a world that is at once supernatural and totally familiar, imaginative, and utterly convincing.”
–The Philadelphia Inquirer

“Vicious . . . a heady mix of noirish hard-boiled dialogue and East Village scumminess . . . a refreshing rejiggering of vampire mythology . . . The world that Huston creates is both brutal and vividly realized.”
–Entertainment Weekly

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781433235894
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.
  • Publication date: 8/1/2008
  • Series: Joe Pitt Series , #2
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Pages: 1
  • Product dimensions: 5.30 (w) x 7.40 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Charles Huston is a novelist and screenwriter. He currently lives in Manhattan with his wife, the actress Virginia Louise Smith.

Scott Brick has recorded more than two hundred audiobooks, winning eighteen Earphones Awards. He was honored with an Audie® Award in 2003 and with AudioFile magazine’s Golden Voice award in 2004.

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Read an Excerpt

The glass is breaking.

That’s not the surprising thing; the surprising thing is that it didn’t shatter when he threw me against it. Shouldn’t come as a shock. This place, they went through a few front windows the first year they were open and decided it was more cost-effective to lay out the extra cash for the safety glass. Save them from having to replace it every time there’s a brawl in here. Which is pretty regular I’d imagine. Any case, I’m not bitching. Wasn’t for the guy who had the bright idea, I’d be on the sidewalk right now, my good leather jacket cut to ribbons and my face sliced up in all kinds of new and interesting ways. But now it’s breaking, it is most definitely breaking. I’m sure about that because my face is jammed up against it. The big question for me is whether this is the kind of safety glass that bursts into thousands of tiny pebbles when it breaks or the kind that turns into shards. Pebbles would be fine. Shards, not so much. The window creaks. Tiny fissures appear in front of my eyes.

OK, time to stop worrying about the glass, time to start worrying about getting this guy off of me. I can’t expect any help from the bartenders or the crowd, not after they watched him pound on the bouncer with that pool cue. And I don’t see any helpful officers of the law rolling up outside at this point. Not that I have any intention of being here when the cops show up. So, I guess it’s just me and him. That’s OK, I can go this one alone. Not like it’s new to me or anything. I just wish he really was on PCP; if it was just PCP he’d be pretty easy to deal with. But this? This is gonna take grace and style, maybe even a little tact.

He shoves my face harder into the big front window. People out on the sidewalk flinch as they see my features squashed yet flatter against the glass. The glass creaks again. The fissures grow another millimeter. He’s still screaming, babbling insanity at the top of his lungs, howling so loud I can barely hear Boxcar Willie on the jukebox:

You load sixteen tons and what do you get?

Another day older, and deeper in debt.

Ain’t that the fuckin’ truth.

He’s enraged that my face won’t just explode through the damn glass the way he wants it to. He rears back, and before he can slam my face forward, I’ve slipped to my right, spun, twisted my arm free of his grasp, winced as a clump of hair is torn from the back of my scalp, planted my right foot in the hollow behind his right knee, hammered my elbow into the back of his neck and sent him face first through the window in my place. The sidewalk audience scatters as he hits the pavement. I step through the dagger-edged hole he left behind. Shards it is.

He was spazzing the second he came out of the bathroom.

Before that, I hadn’t even noticed him. Why should I? Not like I’m working; not like there’s any reason I should be doing anything but paying attention to the booze in my glass, the cigarette in my mouth, the pool game in front of me and the girl by my side. Especially the girl. Girl like this, most everyone in the place is paying attention to her. Want to be invisible? Hang out with a girl like Evie. All that red hair, the body that not only won’t quit but works weekends and holidays, too. That smile. She’s the kind of girl guys like to look at, but most aren’t sure how to go about approaching her. Too bad for them. They miss out on the best part, they miss out on how cool she is, how funny, how sharp, how down-to-earth. Anyway, a girl like Evie on your arm and you turn into a shadow, just the lucky fuck taking up space next to the best view in the place.

So a night like this, when it’s so cold out Evie is wearing her leather pants and that tight old thermal top with the Jack Daniel’s label silk-screened across the front, a night like this where she’s glued to my hip and every guy in the place wishes he was me, is it any surprise I didn’t smell him the moment he came through the door?

Most nights I would have picked up his scent right off. Couldn’t miss it. After all, he smells just like me, only different. But what with the Early Times I’m pouring down my throat and the Luckys I’m sucking on and Evie rubbing up against me, I just can’t be bothered. Still, he couldn’t have been in here all that long. Sooner or later I would have smelled him no matter how distracted I was. It wouldn’t have meant trouble necessarily; we would have eyeballed each other a bit, sniffed each other’s asses like a couple of big dogs, but there wouldn’t have been any trouble, not in here, not where everyone can see us. That shit just doesn’t happen. As it was, I was lining up a neat little combo that was gonna let me run out the rest of the table and he came out of the john and started spazzing out.

This wasn’t your run-of-the-mill junkie-who-just-shot-up-in-the-can stumbling around. He came out of there like the Tasmanian Devil: spinning, arms flailing, kicking anything that came in range, sending tables and people flying; a full on spaz. A space quickly opened up around him while he whirled and gibbered and foamed at the mouth. The bouncer, a nice enough guy goes by Gears, came over and tried a little sweet talk.

—OK, man, settle down, settle down. Take it easy. Got yourself a dose of some bad shit, but we’re gonna take care of you. Got some 911 on the way, gonna get you to an emergency room and get that shit out your system. Just take it easy.

Moved in slowly, arms spread wide, talking soft. Might as well been trying to soothe a rabid dog. The guy stopped spinning long enough to jump at Gears and swing his arm like a club. Guy was freaky fast. Gears got lucky when he fell on his ass out of the way. Guy’s arm hit the backside of a bench made out of two-by-fours and a couple of them cracked. Then he went back to spinning. By this time folks are starting to clear out, and I’m starting to pay attention. Gears gets back on his feet, muttering something about fucking PCP, grabs himself one of the cracked and twisted house cues from the rack and goes after the guy. But I’ve taken a good whiff by this point and I know the guy ain’t on PCP. Gears would be lucky if that’s all it was. I mean, I don’t know what he’s on, but I know he doesn’t need it; he’s dangerous as hell to start with.

Gears waits ’til the guy has spun his back to him, and brings the cue down on top of his head. It makes a nice noise, but before Gears can get too proud of himself or maybe think about bringing the cue back up for another swing, the guy has turned around, snatched the cue away, kicked Gears’s legs out from under him and gotten busy finding out how hard it is to break a pool cue by pounding it on someone’s face. That’s when I figured I should do something. Not that Gears is so big a friend. I barely know him except to call him by name when I come in the place, but The Spaz is out of control, causing the kind of scene that’s bad for business. If I don’t deal with him, the cops will. That will get very ugly very fast. Nothing causes a scene like when cops start putting bullets in a guy and the guy refuses to go down. Sure, Gears and the law and the press may just chalk it up to a PCP freakout, but there are other people who will hear about it. And some of those people will want to check it out. And I don’t want those people around. Not down here. Not in my neighborhood. So I jump on the guy’s back. Figure I’ll get him to the floor, put a sleeper hold on him and drag him out of here. Make up some story for the crowd about how I know him and I’ll take care of it. Get him out before the cops come; get him someplace private and get rid of him before he can make another scene like this one. That’s the thing to do. Except he shrugs me right off his back, picks me up off the floor and throws me at the window. And when I bounce off the glass instead of going through it the way he wanted me to, he grabs me by the hair and tries to shove my face through the glass. Lucky for me, strong and fast as he is right now, he’s a lousy fighter.

Once he’s on the sidewalk I handle it pretty much like I wanted to inside. Knees in the middle of his back, pin him to the scummy pavement, arm around his windpipe and cut off the O2 until he goes asleep. He does a fair amount of thrashing around, and I have to hold on good and tight to keep from getting bucked clear, but once I’m locked on to him I’m not going anywhere. When he’s nice and sleepy I toss him over my shoulder and point at one of the bartenders who’s come out to watch how the story ends.

—Get me a cab, will ya?

—Ambulance is on its way.

—Let ’em deal with Gears. This guy, I know him. I’m gonna take him back to his halfway house. See if I can keep him out of the shit.

—What about the cops? What about the window?

—Hey, come on. I got the guy out of the place. Give me a fucking break.

—Yeah, sure.

She flags a cab.

The cabbie’s none too happy about me piling in with blood-drippy guy, but he sees I’m in no mood for debate and just gives me a dirty rag to put over The Spaz’s face. Before we pull away, Evie runs up and passes my pack of smokes and my Zippo through the window.

—Want me to come?

—Nah, I got it covered.

—Meet you back at your place?

—Yeah. Maybe a half hour at the most. You gonna be OK?

—Don’t start.

—Right. Sorry ’bout this.

—’S OK. Nobody can say you don’t know how to show a girl a good time, Joe.

The Spaz tries to come to in the cab. I pinch his esophagus and he goes back under before he can cause me any more trouble. I have the cabbie take me down to the Baruch housing project just below Houston. It’s a couple blocks outside what I’d usually call safe turf, but no one really has a claim on it, so it seems like a good place for an impromptu dump. I manhandle The Spaz up the steps to the pedestrian bridge that spans the FDR to the East River Park. It’s nearly two in the morning on a Tuesday. Cars whiz by below, but the lights on the park playing fields were shut off hours ago. My eyes penetrate that darkness just fine. Too cold for any homeless people to be camping out. I do see what looks like a couple junkies sitting on a bench at the far end of the park, but they’re facing the river. I pause at the top of the concrete stairs that lead down to the park.

The Spaz is still alive, alive and reeking of blood. I think about that blood; how I’d like to tap a couple pints of it and stick them in my fridge at home to replenish my rapidly shrinking supply. But his blood won’t do me any good, won’t do anything but make me hellishly sick and kill me. I know that because of what I smelled back at Doc Holiday’s; the smell of the Vyrus, the same smell I carry with me. Nonetheless, I’m just hard up enough to give him another good sniff. Hell, maybe I was wrong, maybe it was some other Vampyre’s scent I picked up in there, maybe this guy really is just whacked on PCP. I inhale. No, no such luck. He’s another sad fuck like me. But there is something about him, something about his scent that’s a little off. Must be whatever he was taking in the bathroom. No surprise I guess. Whatever he’s on would have to be some mean shit not to be neutralized by the Vyrus the moment it entered his bloodstream. Sure would like to know what it was. Be nice to try something like that sometime, something for a distraction. Christ, I drank over a fifth of bourbon tonight and it barely gave me a buzz. The Spaz stirs in my arms. Time to deal with the problem at hand.

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Table of Contents

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Interviews & Essays

Explorations Interview with Charlie Huston

Paul Goat Allen: Charlie, congrats on yet another amazing read. After reading over my review of No Dominion, I'm almost embarrassed to let you see it. I feel like a little schoolgirl who has a crush on some prepubescent teen idol. (I'm 6'2", 220 pounds, and have a shaved head and Grizzly Adams beard, so the plaid skirt and patent leather shoes visual doesn't really work that well here…) But honestly, man, I just love your writing style. It's so -- for lack of a more appropriate word -- "different" from anything else that's out there now. The lack of chapters and the almost stream-of-consciousness writing style make your novels almost impossible to put down: It's like being fully immersed in the story line. Your Hank Thompson trilogy (Caught Stealing, Six Bad Things, and A Dangerous Man) was the same way. How did this writing style evolve, and did you ever run across any editors who wanted to change it by throwing in chapter breaks, etc.?

Charlie Huston: Paul, lift that skirt a little higher, little higher, that's it, baby, now we can talk. The style, such as it is, is in the process of evolving right now. I recently reread my first book, Caught Stealing, and I was struck by how much more internal reflection there was than in later books. I remember it as being the leanest of my novels thus far. And while that may be true in terms of plot, the narration was actually the densest I've done. Mostly I just don't care for exposition, so one of the goals for each book is to always have the plot moving forward while delivering any backstory through dialogue or action. I think that concern defines how I go about writing more than anything else. Thus far I've only worked with one editor on my novels, Mark Tavani of Ballantine, and I hope only ever to work with him. Mark has never had problems with how I format my books. I was actually shocked when we went to work on the Caught Stealing manuscript and he didn't ask me to put in quotation marks or chapter headings etc.

PGA: As a longtime Dylan Thomas fan, I loved how the book's title references the classic poem "And Death Shall Have No Dominion." I don't know if I'm reading way too much into this, but the lines that Pitt read on the subway really seemed to sum up not only his character and his relationship with Evie but the ambiance of the entire series: "Though lovers be lost love shall not, And death shall have no dominion." How'd the idea for the title come about -- and am I totally off base here?

CH: You're not totally off base at all. Truth is, much as Joe sees the poem on a subway card while riding the A train, I saw the poem on a subway card while riding the A train. I knew it from way back, but hadn't seen it in many years. And, yes, it struck me that the particular stanza I pulled out spoke to Joe's situation.

PGA: This second Joe Pitt novel really opens up the whole world in which Joe lives -- the political intrigues, specific clan goals, glimpses of an intriguing back-history, etc. The last time we talked you said that the Joe Pitt sequence would probably run around five or six books. Is that still the case? And if so, have you begun Book Three yet? Any teasers?

CH: I'm all but certain that it will be a five-book arc. I've actually completed the first draft of book three and will be doing revisions soon. That book will serve as the pivot for the series. It has its own self-contained adventure, but you'll start seeing the dominoes being lined up for the big finish. Teaser: Joe in Brooklyn.

PGA: I have to mention this: The Publishers Weekly review of No Dominion called the relationship between Pitt and Evie a "doomed love story." I didn't get that at all; in fact, I thought just the opposite. Their love is what holds this guy together and their relationship will only get stronger in future installments. Two questions here: How much do reviews really matter to you, and will the relationship between Pitt and Evie be an integral part of new Joe Pitt novels?

CH: Reviews are tricky. You can't value the praise unless you take the criticism to heart as well. I mostly try to avoid them, but everybody likes a little praise. Good or bad, the trick is not to let it affect what you write. Once you start adapting for an audience, things are going to go quickly awry. Or so I believe. I see PW's point in defining the relationship between Joe and Evie as doomed. I mean, she's HIV positive and she doesn't know he's a vampire. And I've made it pretty clear that his ultimate choices will be to either let her die of her current infection or infect her with the Vampyre Vyrus and doom her to a life he doesn't much care for himself. But as to whether their love is actually doomed in the sense that it will fail? The answer is in Book Five.

PGA: I love your web site (www.pulpnoir.com). How has its popularity affected your readership?

CH: God, is it popular? I assume the folks reading it are there because they've read my books or my work in comics. Got me…I imagine it gives some folks a chance to read my work and get an idea of whether or not it's their thing. I like having a clearinghouse for bits and pieces of my brain.

PGA: Non sequitur question here: Because of the acclaim of your Joe Pitt novels, has anyone approached you with merchandising and/or "multi-format franchise" proposals? Joe Pitt T-shirts, lunchboxes, action figures, blood bags, video games? A "Tickle-Me-Joe Pitt" would be cool -- scratch the vampire's tummy and get verbally abused or assaulted…

CH: Well, the movie rights to Already Dead are held by Phoenix Pictures. That ties up most any merchandising. I don't know of any novels that don't have "Da Vinci" in the title that get merchandised. If a movie ever gets made, there might be a T-shirt or a hat. Maybe a Joe Pitt syringe or switchblade…
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 71 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 71 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Great tale

    The Vyrus causes those exchanging bodily fluids to become Vampyre and for the most part they are divided into two groups: the Coalition and the Society. The Coalition wants to remain underground while the society wants come out in the hopes that human scientists can find a cure for the Vyrus. Joe Pitt belongs to neither group and is considered a Rogue, one who needs blood and money for the rent and to help his HIV girlfriend get the drugs she needs to stay alive because he won¿t turn her.-------------------- At a bar, Joe sees a new Vampyres flip out and he ends up taking him out. Terry the leader of the society says that is happening more and more to newbies. He hires Joe to find the person supplying the drug and during Joe¿s investigation he learns someone has found a way to keep the virus alive in the blood outside a host for a short period of time. The newbies shoot up and get a tremendous high. The answers lie in the Coalition land not controlled by the Hood but they will do Joe no good unless he can stop the mastermind from carrying out a diabolical plan that is nothing more than a power play in vampire politics.----------------- Charlie Huston take on the vampire mythos is fascinating, original and believable because in his universe it is a blood disease. Joe Pitt loves Evie and he takes a job that almost kills him not only for his own needs but because he wants to get the medicines she needs so she can live. He hates being a Vampyre and wants nothing more than for someone to find a cure but he believes the Vampyre groups have their own interests that come before the needs of the individual. Joe Pitt is Phillip Marlow with a blood addiction.---------------- Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 9, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Joe Pitt is an interesting dead guy

    I found Charlie Huston's first Joe Pitt book for free on B&N's website. As I enjoy vampire fiction, I decided to give it a try. The book was interesting and, while I found several inconsistencies with other vampire fiction, entertaining. While I find Huston's "vampire lifestyle" conflicts with the way vampire stories have been told in the past, I still found his novel interesting. When I came across Huston's second installment in the Joe Pitt series, I wanted to see how the characters developed and whether the story was going to be as decent as the first one. I was not disappointed. This book not only continues with the story of how Joe Pitt's interacts with his "acquaintances" as well as describes his lifestyle, it gives a good chunk of background to the reader to help [us] understand how Joe Pitt came to be. I am interested to see how the story continues in the third installment of the series.

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