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Extended Audio Sample The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death: A Novel, by Charlie Huston Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (2,352 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Charlie Huston Narrator: Paul Michael Garci Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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Webster Fillmore Goodhue has found temporary work as one of the mop-up crew for the Los Angeles County crime division. In other words, he cleans up grisly crime scenes for the cops. When the daughter of a recent Malibu suicide victim asks for his help cleaning up after her brother has gotten into a little trouble, every cell in Web’s brain is telling him to turn her down. But she’s very attractive, and before he knows it, he’s well on his way to getting his face kicked in, facing down some gun-toting LA cowboys, and hanging on for dear life. And that’s only the beginning.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “There are many things to love about Charlie Huston’s fiction—he’s a brilliant storyteller, and writes the best dialogue since George V. Higgins—but what pushes my personal happy-button is his morbid sense of humor and seemingly effortless ability to create scary/funny bad guys who make Beavis and Butthead look like Rhodes Scholars. [Charlie Huston has] written several very good books, but this is the first authentically great one, a runaway freight that feels like a combination of William Burroughs and James Ellroy. Mystic Arts is, however, fiercely original—very much its own thing.”

    Stephen King

  • “Just when you think you’ve caught up with him on the curve, Charlie Huston drives right off the cliff, landing on a road no one else could see…Shockingly original…The outlandish characters are brazen originals, and the dialogue is the roar of a death-defying talent.”

    New York Times Book Review 

  • “Smoking-hot…scorchingly good dialogue and banner-worthy chapter headings (like “Till His Neighbors Smelled Him” and “To Keep Him From Crushing My Spine”). And Mr. Huston, whose own brain matter is as much on display as the stuff that gets spattered here, finally delivers a book that anyone can admire. No strong stomach required.”

    New York Times

  • “Hilarious, with the comedy getting darker and funnier as Web falls ever deeper into an intricate, overpowering mess that even he may not be able to clean up. Huston’s characters are mostly loons, but his way with characterization and plot are so sure-handed and appealing, you’ll find yourself desperately hoping they survive to live another day and star in a sequel, Clorox at the ready.”

    Dallas Morning News 

  • “It’s a pretty neat trick to avert your eyes while you read, but The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston is so fresh, funny and original that I managed…The characters range from the slightly odd to the bizarre-doesn’t-even-begin. You might feel ashamed of yourself for laughing, but I won’t tell. Just take a bath afterward, and remember to scrub out the tub.”

     Cleveland Plain Dealer

  • “Genre writers too often set the hook quickly and hard, glossing over the subtleties of character in their haste to reel in the reader, ultimately using plot as a club. Not so Huston…The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death is as darkly funny as it is graceful, not necessarily what you’d expect given that it's a novel about a guy whose livelihood involves mopping up blood and bone fragments…If one tends to find humor in unlikely places, Huston has created a work that is sly, twisted and surprising—one well worth the investment of time.”

    Denver Post

  • “Huston’s novels are among the most imaginative and compelling in the mystery and thriller genres…In The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death, Huston finds pathos and the sublime in a story about an occupation for which there is no training or career path.”

    Pittsburgh Tribune

  • “Noir master Huston 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…This one should appeal to Chuck Palahniuk fans as well as hard-boiled crime readers.”

    Publishers Weekly (starred review)

  • “Reader Paul Michael Garcia manages an astonishing array of vocal pitches—from bass male to alto female. More important, he inhabits this novel’s smart-mouthed, emotionally scarred narrator, Web, a former elementary school teacher who takes a job scrubbing up after messy deaths and, consequently, becomes entangled with various shady entrepreneurs with very short tempers.”


  • Winner of the 2009 Publishers Weekly Listen-Up Award
  • A 2010 Anthony Award Nominee for Best Novel
  • A 2010 Edgar Allan Poe Award Nominee for Best Novel

Listener Opinions

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by ehnonymus | 11/25/2013

    " sometimes the overly witty snark of the dialogue got a little old, but ultimately i was quite surprised and delighted by the mystic arts of erasing all signs of death. i liked that the back story unfolded slowly and the way the main character grows and changes without it being told as a ridiculous moment of catharsis. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by MJ | 11/25/2013

    " At a time when forensic crime mysteries abound, The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death is different. Webster Fillmore Goodhue, a man on his way to hitting bottom, finds himself taking a job with the Clean Team, and learning who cleans up after the CSI team has left the two week old corpse of an elderly hermit who has taken to hoarding, EVERYTHING. This odd little tale reveals the Webster's efforts to begin the climb out of his post traumatic hell by way of cleaning up other's horrors. Complications and incompetencies arise along the way. The dialog uses profanity as punctuation as much as description and is not for the easily offended. Webster's story is complicated and touching. While entirely grounded in a rough, violent real world, Huston's irreverent humor will be popular with fans of Christopher Moore. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Kathy | 11/22/2013

    " This was classic Huston, which was good and bad. Great story itself, quick paced and interesting characters. It's just that his dialogue is so...odd. You get used to it quickly, but if one more person spoke. In partial. Sentences. Ack, you get the picture. So it should be three and a half stars. Huston's Hank Thompson trilogy was one of the joys of my reading life...check it out. It is his masterpiece. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 by Krista | 11/8/2013

    " Certainly not high literature, but a fun, fast, pulp noir read. At times I was reminded of "The Big Lebowski"...this books strikes me as being written with the intention of being turned into a screenplay. I noticed other reviewers commenting on the constant f-bombs and other language; I didn't even notice it much. I don't know what that says about me or the books/movies I enjoy. It seemed to fit the characters. "

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About the Author
Author Charlie Huston

Charlie Huston is the bestselling author of The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death; The Shotgun Rule; the Henry Thompson trilogy, which includes the Edgar Award–nominated Six Bad Things; and the Joe Pitt Casebooks. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the actress Virginia Louise Smith.