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The Gumshoe, The Witch, And The Virtual Corpse Paperback – April 23, 2009


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 532 pages
  • Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform (April 23, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1441479252
  • ISBN-13: 978-1441479259
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.2 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (55 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,017,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A Fabulous romp—with some sharp edges." -- Nicola Griffith

"Hartman weaves an intriguing web with numerous well-defined characters. The background world is both funny and scarily possible." -- The Denver Post, June 27, 1999

"There's a great SF premise here…the writing is tight, the drama tense." -- Locus

The Gumshoe, the Witch, and the Virtual Corpse, by Keith Hartman is a first novel that combines a number of different elements in a world where differences are approaching a flash point of conflict.... Hartman weaves an intriguing web with numerous well-defined characters. The background world is both funny and scarily possible. -- Fred Cleaver, The Denver Post, June 27, 1999

First-time novelist Hartman does a surprisingly good job of juggling viewpoints as the delightfully twisted plot unwinds. -- Locus, April 1999

If you can get past the unwieldy (and rather too cutesy) title, there's a fine debut novel by Keith Hartman. What kind of novel I'm at a little of a loss to say. Equal arguments can be made that it's a police procedural, a contemporary Wiccan fantasy, a gay PI novel, a near future sf thriller, a novel of social commentary, and even, in the sections from the point of view of one character, a YA coming of age story.

In the end, it's a bit of them all, I suppose, which is part of what made me enjoy it so much. I love a book that breaks down the walls between genres, that just tells a story, the author trusting himself and the story enough to let it go wherever it leads him.

The Gumshoe, the Witch, and the Virtual Corpse is, like it's title, a somewhat busy book, but there's enough payoff in characterization, story, and ideas to make the trip through its pages a real pleasure. -- Charles de Lint, The Magazine of Fantasy & Science Fiction, June 1999

This is wonderful first novel by an exciting new author. I look forward to seeing more of his work." -- Lee Killough --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"This is a wonderful first novel by an exciting new author."--Lee Killough, author of BLOOD GAMES

"There's a great SF premise here... the writing is tight, the drama tense."--Locus

"It's not often you encounter a book that is PI novel and procedural, science fiction near-future satire, fantasy and coming-of-age story all rolled into one. That mixture sounds like a recipe for disaster: surely, you assume, this is too much to cram into one modestly-sized novel. What a refreshing pleasure it is, then, to discover that this book succeeds in all of these areas.

Lots of novels have wildly complimentary cover blurbs, though few print as many as this book, or at such length, and few have so many blurbs from top-notch authors (Nancy Kress, Mike Resnick and especially Charles de Lint, to name just three). Fewer still deserve all that praise. For this rare gem, Hartman deserves all that praise and more."--The Drood Review of Mysteries

"Hartman's characters are smart; his world-building is broad, convincing, and exciting; his choice of detail is exquisite. Compelling and engrossing, this book grabbed me and didn't let go until long after the end."-- Nina Kiriki Hoffman

Customer Reviews

The first few times I tried to read this book, I had a hard time getting started.
David Hewitt
The characters are well thought out, the plot simple but entertaining and, most importantly, the book is a fun read.
Amazon Customer
This is a novel that has it all: intriguing characters, vivid ambience, an engrossing plot.
Ventura Angelo

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By A. Lipkin on May 18, 2003
Format: Paperback
For the record, I hate Keith Hartman. I've never met the guy, don't know much about him, but what I do know is this: His debut novel, The Gumshoe, the Witch, and the Virtual Corpse, is better than any first novel has a right to be. Like anyone else with aspirations of writing the Great American Novel, I get royally ticked any time someone else does so, especially on their first try.
And this is easily the best debut genre novel in years. Set in a future Atlanta (where magic, be it Christian, Native American or Wiccan, is commonplace), Gumshoe offers us more protagonists than I've seen in a while, and gives them amazingly unique voices, from the Witch (who works as a reporter during the day) to the Chosen (Benji, a teen who believes that God has chosen him as the butt of every cosmic joke), to the Lunatic (a Cherokee shaman who wonders why the totems she sees are as likely to look like Bugs Bunny or aliens from Star Trek as bears and monkeys). Having eleven (yes, eleven!) characters narrate in the first person is an amazing feat for any writer to pull off. The fact that Hartman manages to give them unique voice (I quite honestly didn't have to even look at the chapter headings after a while) is astounding.
The plot? Well, we've got the Cherokee, attempting to get the United States to uphold the Supreme Court rulings of the early 19th century granting them North Georgia. We've got a gumshoe with some serious issues. We've got a Southern Baptist senator/televangelist who argues about a devil-worshiping anti-Christian conspiracy perpetrated by everyone from Jews to Wiccans to Unitarians (and if he can't find evidence of the conspiracy, he'll fake it). We've got a dead body in a graveyard that might have been carved up by Wiccans, or maybe by Christians.
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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Colleen McMahon VINE VOICE on May 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
This was one of my favorite books of last year. It has an amazing number of viewpoints yet somehow all the pieces fit together beautifully. Keith Hartman creates a fascinating near-future world and peoples it with wonderfully diverse characters from the gay male detective, to Wiccans, to a rebellious Baptist teen who unknowingly could cause riots, death and destruction on a large scale. The story is suspenseful, humorous, and in the end makes you think hard about where our society is now and where it may be heading. I'm eagerly awaiting the sequel!
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Marc Ruby™ HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on April 28, 2002
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Every once in a while one finds a book that is genuinely surprising. 'The Gumshoe, the Witch, and the Virtual Corpse' is a tale that manages to break every rule and still be not just a great first novel, but a great piece of detective fiction, period. The setting is Atlanta in 2025, a city divided along religious and sexual preference lines. Magic works and shamans coexist with high technology. Fundamentalists have their own political party and television shows are available in several grades of sex and violence. Fortunately for the reader, people still murder each other.
The first victim was already dead - for several months. The desecrated remains are found in a graveyard, crucified upside-down, with signs of a magical ritual all about. Detective Megan Strand finds herself in the midst of an ugly crime with the Baptist News Network screaming about a Satanic plot to take over the world. But the next crimes are murders, one after the other. And each has the overtones of witchcraft and Satanism. The large fundamentalist segment of Atlanta seethes with rumor and panic.
If Wiccans are suspects, they are also victims, and several members of a coven turn up dead or missing. One of these is Jen Gray, who is the partner of P.I. Drew Parker. Parker begins to investigate and finds a trail that leads to the hit religious singer Justin Weir. It also leads the P.I. into the hands of Ice-in-Summer, a Cherokee Shaman who has some very strange plans for the detective. Fleeing through this chaos are two teenagers, Benji Danvers and Summer Jacobs, one a Baptist and the other a Wiccan. Benji has somehow drawn the attention of an unidentified group of agents (Men In Black Suits) and Summer helps to keep him one step ahead of an unknown fate.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Lyda Morehouse on December 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
I met Keith Hartman when he was guest of honor at Diversicon in Minneapolis. We traded books, because that's what authors do for each other sometimes. I knew I liked him right away, but I held off reading his book because I was worried that his writing would disappoint me and I really wanted to like the guy, you know? (You've seen his picture on his web site right? He's a hottie, and a smart, interesting guy to boot).
Plus, after looking at all the SF luminaries who praised his book, I thought to myself, "Who is this guy sleeping with to get cover quotes like this?!" I decided he had to be all hype and no talent.
I couldn't have been more wrong.
This book rocks. First of all it's kick-you-in-the-pants fun. Keith easily adds funny editorial asides/narrative commentary that could, in less skilled hands, knock a reader out of the story. But, Keith has a kind of easy yet smart-aleck style of writing that makes you feel, instead, like he's personally taken you into his confidence... which serves to only draw you deeper into the character's lives.
And what interesting lives they lead! Besides, the Gumshoe and the Witch, there's also a Christian rockstar, a bumbling geeky teenager, a Baptist senator, and many many more. Plus, the near-future world of Keith's novel is wonderfully diverse--a kind of place you want to spend days exploring (luckily it's a good, long book and there's a sequel! Which, BTW, I intend to run out and buy today).
Future Atlanta's neighborhoods have been divided mostly by religion, the gay ghetto being the one exception. One of the things I admired is that, despite a kind of plot that could have focused only on Baptist fundamentalists, Keith never forgets that there are a million kinds of religious orientations out there.
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More About the Author

Keith Hartman grew up in Huntsville Alabama, where he was a weird little boy who didn't fit in. He went to Princeton University, where he was supposed to study economics and instead blew all his time on theater courses. He then started a PhD in Finance at Duke, before realizing that he just couldn't spend the rest of his life teaching MBA's how to screw each other. So he ran away to be a writer.

His parents were thrilled.

He sold his first short story to a tiny magazine that went out of business, and his first book to Rutgers University, which did not.

He moved to Los Angeles a few years ago to direct low budget movies. It turns out that everyone in Hollywood is stark raving mad.

And Keith fits right in.

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The Gumshoe, The Witch, And The Virtual Corpse
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