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Editor’s Note

“Thoroughly entertaining...”

Macabre fascinations, artistic voyeurism, and current literary trends are wryly satirized in this thoroughly entertaining debut. A great read for lit-lovers who know that truth really is stranger than fiction.
Alex P.
Scribd Editor
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.

Topics: New York City, Suspenseful, Black Humor, Irreverent, Noir, Violent, Funny, Murder, Writing, Pornography, Serial Killers, First Person Narration, 21st Century, American Author, and Metafiction

Published: Simon & Schuster on Mar 9, 2010
ISBN: 9781439159774
List price: $11.99
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Well written and funny. read more
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David Gordon's debut novel shows its influences, in a good way. It's an entertaining melange of Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, Joseph Heller and Tom Robbins, with a healthy dose of Raymond Chandler thrown in for plot. At times graphic and over the top, The Serialist is always challenging and compelling. A meditation on art and writing masquerading as a thriller and murder mystery, the plot forces its narrator, a hack ghost writer and novelist, out of his complacent shell and into the clutches of real life as he is invited to write the biography of a famous serial killer in his last days on Death Row. The more he becomes involved in the killer's story, the more his personal life unravels to the point of crisis. A fun romp, and a promising debut. I'll definitely read Gordon's next book.read more
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Awesome read.read more
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Well written and funny.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
David Gordon's debut novel shows its influences, in a good way. It's an entertaining melange of Vonnegut, Douglas Adams, Joseph Heller and Tom Robbins, with a healthy dose of Raymond Chandler thrown in for plot. At times graphic and over the top, The Serialist is always challenging and compelling. A meditation on art and writing masquerading as a thriller and murder mystery, the plot forces its narrator, a hack ghost writer and novelist, out of his complacent shell and into the clutches of real life as he is invited to write the biography of a famous serial killer in his last days on Death Row. The more he becomes involved in the killer's story, the more his personal life unravels to the point of crisis. A fun romp, and a promising debut. I'll definitely read Gordon's next book.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Awesome read.
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I found The Serialist to be an amazing book. My problem is how to make it sound as amazing here as it was to read. Written by David Gordon this first book covers so much material that it is hard to slot into any one genre. It is a thriller, a mystery, a pop culture homage to books and writers. Irreverent, different, humorous and addictive, I would be laughing out loud one minute then, turning the page and shuddering with horror and revulsion the next.The plot revolves around Harry Bloch a writer that has almost given up trying to produce anything even resembling the Great American Novel. Instead he is a master of turning out pulp fiction: vampire stories, detective stories, light pornography, and sci-fi series, all produced under different pseudonyms. He accepts a contract to ghost-write a convicted serial killer’s memoirs, but soon bodies become turning up, all killed in the serial killer’s style. Other than a slight lagging in the middle of the book, this was a fast paced, excellently presented story that grabbed me from the first sentence and kept me glued to it’s pages until the end. The author actually uses clichés to his advantage, poking fun at writing and writing styles, all the while advancing his plot. A fun read and a great introduction to an author that I will always have room on my shelves for. I can’t wait to see what he produces next.
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Gosh, I loved this book and can't wait for another one by this author. Harry Block does a little of everything - author of vampire books under his mother's name; raunchy porn articles; and detective fiction all under other names. He takes a job as a tutor for a privileged 14 year old girl and becomes under her influence (in a good way). During one of his sessions he opens a letter penned from prison (his primary readers of the porn) and finds a letter addressed to him to write a memoir of a serial killer who dismembers and poses his victims producing eerie photographs.He begins by interviewing women who write to the killer and prison. Suddenly they show up dead and he is thrown into solving the crimes.This books is funny, witty, sexy and just everything a great read should be.
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The Serialist has been nominated for an Edgar Award as the best first novel of the year, and it’s easy to see why. This original and entertaining mystery is as good as they get. Not only is it a great book as a traditional mystery, it’s also delightful as a book about the nature of books and writing, with passages of carefully crafted literary prose. The premise of the book is that the first-person narrator, Harry Bloch, is a writer who has been selected by a Death Row inmate, Darian Clay, to write his story. Clay promises to tell Bloch everything, right down to where he hid, buried or disposed of – he’s not saying exactly what he did with them yet – the heads of the women he murdered.For Bloch, this is an amazing break. Bloch’s writing has so far been limited to a bunch of different genre knock-offs written under pseudonyms. As Madam Sibylline Lorindo-Gold, he’s written a handful of mildly popular vampire novels; his mother has posed for the author picture for these books, beginning with Crimson Vein of Darkness. I’m quite certain that any resemblance to the more risible bits of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books is surely coincidence. He’s written a column for Raunchy, a porn magazine, as Tom Stanks, the Slut Whisperer. And he writes noir mysteries as J. Duke Johnson, all starring a ghetto sheriff named Mordechai Jones, a black Jew of mixed Ethiopian and Native American descent. Finally, there are the science fiction books set on the planet Zorg, “where overbreasted miniwaisted women and bearded, brawny, weirdly busty men rode dragons, flew rockets and drank mead from horns.” His nom-de-plume for these books is T.R.L. Pangstrom, and any notion that these are a take-off of John Norman’s Gor books surely must be wrong. Excerpts from Bloch’s writing as each of these authors appear here and there throughout the book, keeping any genre reader giggling, sometimes inappropriately but helplessly. None of these ventures has made Bloch wealthy, but the Clay book really might. His teenage manager – and how he wound up with a teenage manager is a story in and of itself, also hilarious – insists that he write the book, even though his stomach is turned by the conditions that Clay sets, Clay’s lawyer forbids it, and most of the families of Clay’s victims beg him not to. Despite the objections to his undertaking this project, Bloch decides to do it when the twin sister of one of Clay’s victims asks him to. Well, there’s that and the fact that his former lover’s husband mocks him for his pseudonymous writing at a party sponsored by a literary magazine (another set piece, where the pretentiousness of fans of literary fiction is skewered as well as it’s ever been done).Bloch starts the work he needs to do in order to get Clay’s story out of him, meeting the conditions Clay has set: meet the women who have been writing to Clay in prison, promising him their love and devotion and, of course and above all, sex. Wild, crazy, perverted sex. Clay demands that Bloch write up a porn scene involving each of the women after he meets them, in exchange for which he will provide Bloch with information for his book. As distasteful as Bloch finds this work, he complies. Things seem to be going swimmingly until one of Bloch’s interviewees is found slaughtered in Clay’s style – and suddenly this book becomes less a send-up of writing and reading (as well as a love story to both) and becomes a genuine mystery, though without ever losing its humor and charm.And Gordon clearly knows how to write a mystery. This might be his first book, but he’s got the touch. Even when you think the last twist has occurred, another one comes along, and then another. I can’t say that Gordon entirely plays fair with his readers in that he doesn’t lay out sufficient clues in the story itself to lead the reader to the answers – but any devoted mystery reader will probably have guessed what’s going on a bit earlier than Gordon’s protagonist does, which I read as yet another comment on the nature of reading and writing.More than knowing how to write a mystery, though, Gordon just plain knows how to write. Consider this passage about reading:"Why do we read? In the beginning, as children, why do we love the books we love? For most, I think, it’s travel, a flight into adventure, into a dream that feels like our own. But for a few it is also escape, flight from boredom, unhappiness, loneliness, from where or who we can no longer bear to be. When I read, the words on the page replace the voice in my head and I cease, for a little while, to be me, or at least to be so painfully aware of being me. These are the real readers, the maniacs, the ones who dose themselves with fiction the way junkies get high, the way lovers adore the beloved: Beyond reason."He’s got me nailed. In fact, I could quote you passage after well-written passage, just to share some great writing. Here’s just another little taste of a long passage that is a tour de force:"Heart of a failed poet, mind of an amateur detective, ass of a middle-aged hack writer – did I really suspect her of the murders? Ass of a detective, spleen of a poet, pituitary gland of a burned-out pulp novelist – what I felt was the sudden abyss that opened between us, the irreducible distance between one body and another, one mind and another."Oh, it’s hard to stop quoting that paragraph, because it goes on beautifully from there. What a novel! You can be sure that David Gordon is now on my list of authors whose works I will buy on sight.
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