The Serialist

( 10 )

Overview

A DARK AND STYLISH PAGE-TURNER FROM A BOLD NEW VOICE IN FICTION

Harry Bloch is a struggling writer who pumps out pulpy serial novels—from vampire books to detective stories—under various pseudonyms. But his life begins to imitate his fiction when he agrees to ghostwrite the memoir of Darian Clay, New York City’s infamous Photo Killer. Soon, three young women turn up dead, each one murdered in the Photo Killer’s gruesome signature style, and Harry must play detective in a ...

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The Serialist: A Novel

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Overview

A DARK AND STYLISH PAGE-TURNER FROM A BOLD NEW VOICE IN FICTION

Harry Bloch is a struggling writer who pumps out pulpy serial novels—from vampire books to detective stories—under various pseudonyms. But his life begins to imitate his fiction when he agrees to ghostwrite the memoir of Darian Clay, New York City’s infamous Photo Killer. Soon, three young women turn up dead, each one murdered in the Photo Killer’s gruesome signature style, and Harry must play detective in a real-life murder plot as he struggles to avoid becoming the killer’s next victim.

Witty, irreverent, and original, The Serialist is a love letter to books—from poetry to pornography—and proof that truth really can be stranger than fiction.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"A killer debut. . . funny, with a satirical edge, and unlike some literary authors who play with genre, Gordon knows how to write a potboiler." —Los Angeles Times

“Seldom has a serial-killer story been as richly textured and laugh-out-loud funny as this one. Sure to be among the most unusual and appealing of this year’s debut thrillers.”
Booklist (starred review)

"An irreverent and funny twist on the classic whodunit—the kind of pulp-fiction mystery that made the careers of such writers as Jim Thompson, Raymond Chandler, and Dashiell Hammett." — GQ.com

“Gordon, who lives in New York City, is terrifically talented. . . Not just a good first novel, but an excellent novel, period.” –Winnipeg Free Press

"A tour de force debut." —Kirkus

"The Serialist is a book about many things but above all it's about storytelling — why and how we tell stories to stay not only sane but also alive. David Gordon writes with style, bite, suspense, humor, and heart. Remember his name. The Serialist is great fun to read and the beginning of a noteworthy career."
—David Ebershoff, author of The 19th Wife and The Danish Girl

"David Gordon has gathered up our cultural trash and made of it something magnificent. In the tradition of Bolano, Chandler, and lots of dime novels that most of us pretend to know nothing about, The Serialist makes high art out of serial murders, pornography, soup dumplings and pulp fiction. I adore this book!"
-Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances

"The Serialist is an entertainingly wicked debut. A literary pulp fiction that flays and skewers post-Millennial New York and along the way reinvents the American detective novel. David Gordon has arrived, brash, irreverent and indecently talented."
—Evan Wright, author of Generation Kill

"The Serialist is David Gordon’s debut novel, and an auspicious one it is. . .Terrific
characters, a game (if somewhat reluctant) protagonist and clever dialogue make
The Serialist a really excellent debut just itching for a sequel." —Bookpage

Publishers Weekly
A seedy freelance writer provides the wry narrative voice for Gordon's winning debut, a darkly humorous thriller. New Yorker Harry Bloch, who once had lofty literary ambitions, has spent the past two decades as a hack, mostly as an advice columnist called the Slut Whisperer for Raunchy magazine. Bloch also earns cash by doing homework for affluent private school students, a side business managed by a precocious teenage girl who was the first pupil he was paid to tutor. His boring life takes an unexpected turn after he receives a letter from death-row inmate Darian Clay (aka the Photo Killer), who, as a fan of the Slut Whisperer, thinks Bloch is right for the job of assisting him on his memoirs. In exchange for Clay revealing where he concealed the heads of his female victims, Bloch must seek out women who have written to Clay and write stories about their having sex with the serial killer. A number of plausible plot twists help shift the story from farce to whodunit. (Mar.)
Kirkus Reviews
A multilayered tale of a writer who's trying to make more than just a buck. He's a man of many faces: T.R.L. Pangstrom, author of the Whoremasters of Zorg sci-fi/porn series; J. Duke Johnson, creator of inner-city private eye Mordechai Jones; and Sibylline Lorindo-Gold, the force behind the Crimson vampire series, beloved of goth bloggers coast to coast. Back home in Queens, though, he's just Harry Bloch, a hack writer who longs for some of the eminence his ex-girlfriend Jane's new husband has achieved as editor of Brooklyn literary journal The Torn Plaid Coat. Just when it looks as if Harry's career has skidded to the brink-he's reduced to forging term papers for brilliant, bored 15-year-old preppie Claire Hall-he gets a letter from serial killer Darian Clay, who knows Harry as Tom (The Slut Whisperer) Stanks from Raunchy magazine. Clay wants someone to ghost his memoirs-a potential gold mine, Claire sagely points out, and his ticket to the world of nonserial literature. So Harry confers with Clay's attorney, Carol Flosky, and next thing you know he's on a train upstate to meet the death-row inmate. But working with mass murderers is never easy, and pretty soon Harry is in deeper peril than his half-vampire heroine Sasha finds in the castle of Count Aram. Not the best-wrought mystery in the world, but a tour de force debut that provides too much fun for readers to carp.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781439158487
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster
  • Publication date: 3/9/2010
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 352
  • Sales rank: 371,331
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

David Gordon is the author and illustrator of the critically acclaimed The Ugly Truckling and The Three Little Riggs. His first book for Simon & Schuster was the adorable Smitten. He has done concept work for Pixar’s Toy Story; Toy Story 2; A Bug’s Life; Monsters, Inc.; and Cars; as well as Nickelodeon’s SpongeBob SquarePants. He also did character design work on Blue Sky’s Robots. He lives in New York City. Visit him at IllustratorRanch.com.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 10 )
Rating Distribution

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Sort by: Showing 1 – 10 of 11 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 3, 2012

    Loved it.

    Waiting for more from him.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 27, 2011

    A Great, Fast Read

    This is definitely not fine literature but it is very entertaining and reads fast. A great book to bring on a plane or train.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted May 29, 2011

    A LOUSY READ FOR ME

    Yuk! Send this novel to some intergalactic jail house and never allow it to return to earth again. Unlike the vampire characters I just couldn't sink my teeth into this novel. It took half of the book to arrive at the primary plot. The nonsense side bar stories were ridiculous unless you enjoy far out sci-fi comic books with a dab of porn. Too unconventional in style for me. Rambles like a lost soul seeking closure. In my opinion, Mr. Gordon should retrace his steps and re-enter the worlds of film, fashion and publishing. Scratch this author from my list.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 4, 2010

    A pleasant surprise and recommended read

    I found this book by chance when searching for something at the library. What a pleasant surprise. Harry Bloch ekes out a living as a writer, just not under his own name (He dresses in his mother's clothes for one author photo). He supplements that by "tutoring" high school students (writing their papers). He sees the chance to make a name for himself, under his own name, penning the story of The Photo Killer, a serial killer on death row. Harry begins by interviewing the killer's groupies who start turning up dead, murdered in the same manner as the killer's previous victims. Then Harry becomes the prime suspect. What remains is a somewhat standard whodunit, but I was intrigued and entertained, especially by the author's choice to insert "excerpts" from some of Harry's stories in the story. An entertaining read.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 14, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    an exciting but grim dark thriller

    Harry Bloch is an author who works in many genres, but each book he writes have in common one thing: none were published under his real name. His first gig was writing porn for Raunchy magazine. While at a back cover photo shoot, he receives a letter from death row inmate Darien Clay, who offers to tell Harry a true story of his life if he visits him in Sing Sing.

    Darien explains further that he will talk to Harry if the writer will interview his groupies and writes a story about them with the convict as the star and each woman having a chapter. Harry interviews three women, but after leaving the third female, he goes back to her place only to find her cut to pieces with her hand missing; just the way Darien described how he tortured and killed his victims. Harry calls the police who inform him the first women were killed in the same gruesome way. The cops believe Harry killed the three victims until he is shot at and almost killed. As the police look for new suspects, Harry also seeks the culprit before more of Darien's darlings turn up dead.

    Told by Harry in the first person, The Serialist is an exciting but grim dark thriller that reads somewhat like an action-packed pulp tale. The protagonist is an average person except for his writing skill who finds himself in an extraordinary situation that requires him to rise to the occasion to extract himself from a deadly horrific mess. Even he is unsure he can do it, but like many a hero before him, Harry knows he must overcome his fears and shortcomings to face the enemy who is taking a page out of Darien's book.

    Harriet Klausner

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 8, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 15, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted February 1, 2011

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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