The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death by Charlie Huston published in 2009 is a mystery thriller. The hero is an ex-school teacher named Web who has a job most of us don’t want to think about. He works for a company that cleans up after crime scenes. Murders, suicides and mass shootings leave a lot of debris behind that has to be disposed of once the police and the forensic teams have finished.
Web comes in and as the title indicates, “erases all signs of death”. By the time he is finished there is no way of knowing that the tragic event ever took place. However, there is a danger is possessing such a specialized skill. What if Web were to use his skills at a crime scene before the police and forensic experts ever showed up? That is exactly what he is asked to do when late one night he receives a frantic phone call from his new beautiful and mysterious girlfriend.
I will not give away the rest of the story, other than to say that the choices Web makes entangle him with a number of bizarre characters and a shipment of almonds (yes almonds – cocaine is so last week).
This is an enjoyable and fast read. In addition to the main story there are a number of good sub-plots; one of which involves the mystery of why Web voluntarily left the position as a good teacher to do this type of disgusting work. There is also apparently a lot of competition in the death removal business and some of the competitors are not very happy about having a new boy on the block.