Roy Edroso is a freelance writer in New York, and enjoys a modest amount of fame writing a left-leaning blog. Back in 2008, he got a deal to publish his first novel, the modern hardboiled Morgue for Whores. Alas, the publishing house he signed with went bankrupt, so he eventually decided to e-publish the book. Since I read his blog, I decided to buy the book.
The book is the story of Jim Berends, a Brooklyn-ite with a dead-end IT job, no serious relationships and a bit of a drinking problem. Well, Jim didn’t think he had a drinking problem – he got drunk, passed out and woke up the next day. Then Jim wakes up from a drunk with a pair of dead and naked bodies in his apartment. Jim decides to ditch the bodies instead of calling the police. This proves especially problematic when an additional body shows up.
The rest of the plot of Morgue for Whores is Jim’s quest to figure out where the bodies are coming from. This being a modern hardboiled novel, a fair amount of sex and violence are involved in the process. The book is by no means torture porn, but neither is it for younger or sensitive readers.
For the suitable audience, Morgue is an entertaining read. Edroso wrote the book in first person, which is deceptively difficult, but in this case works well. The narrator is a witty sort, while being an appropriate mixture of self-doubt and competence. The investigation of “who dumped the bodies,” which drives the book, proceeds at an appropriate pace – not to briskly (Berends, the investigator, is an amateur with a day job) but not too slowly. Several characters, including Berends’ apparently hyper-normal neighbors, were well-concealed surprises, which Edroso pulled off without making his narrator look stupid.
Apparently Edroso sprang for a good editor, as I found the technical aspects of the book solid. About the only thing I thought was a bit off was the actual explanation of why the bodies were showing up. That’s a quibble in an otherwise highly enjoyable book. I can wholeheartedly recommend Morgue for Whores as a book well worth reading
(reviewed 52 days after purchase)