Dubbed "Dewey Decimal" for his desire to reorganize the library's stock, our protagonist (who will reappear in the next novel in this series) gets by as bagman and muscle for New York City's unscrupulous district attorney. Decimal takes no pleasure in this kind of civic dirty work. He'd be perfectly content alone amongst his books. But this is not in the cards, as the DA calls on Dewey for a seemingly straightforward union-busting job.
What unfolds throws Dewey into a bloody tangle of violence, shifting allegiances, and old vendettas, forcing him to face the darkness of his own past and the question of his buried identity.
With its high body count and snarky dialogue, "The Dewey Decimal System" pays respects to Raymond Chandler, Dashiell Hammett, and Jim Thompson. Healthy amounts of black humor and speculative tendencies will appeal to fans of Charlie Huston, Nick Tosches, Duane Swierczynski, Victor Gischler, Robert Ferrigno, and early Jonathan Lethem.
Nathan Larson is best known as an award-winning film music composer, having created the scores for over thirty movies such as "Boys Don't Cry," "Dirty Pretty Things," and "The Messenger." In the 1990s he was the lead guitarist for the influential prog-punk outfit Shudder to Think. This is his first novel. Larson lives in Harlem, New York City, with his wife and son.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2011-03-14
- Reviewer: Staff
Terrorist outrages committed on Valentine's Day and a superflu epidemic have devastated New York City, whose population is now about 800,000, in film music composer Larson's less than stellar debut, the first in a series. The quirky narrator, a hygiene freak who can't remember his given name, runs errands for Manhattan DA Daniel Rosenblatt, a crime lord rather than a law enforcement officer. Rosen-blatt has nicknamed the narrator Dewey Decimal, because Decimal is obsessed with reorganizing the books in the main branch of the New York Public Library, which no longer has a working computer catalogue. The loathsome Rosenblatt dispatches Decimal on various unsavory errands, including "quieting" Yakiv Shapsko, a Ukrainian community leader. But when Decimal arrives at Shapsko's home in Queens, he encounters instead the man's attractive Latvian wife, Iveta, with whom he begins a complex and twist-filled relationship. Unfortunately, that relationship fails to engage, and violence too often substitutes for plot coherence in this dystopian view of a future Big Apple. (May)