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The Uncomfortable Dead Paperback – September 1, 2006

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Mexican crime writer Taibo and a real-life spokesperson for the Zapatista movement, Subcomandante Marcos, provide alternating chapters for this postmodern comedic mystery about good, evil and modern revolutionary politics. Elías Contreras, a detective for the Zapatista National Liberation Army (and Marcos's creation), heads to Mexico City to investigate the case of a nefarious government-backed murderer named Morales. Taibo brings back one-eyed Mexico City detective Héctor Belascoarán Shayne (Return to the Same City, etc.), who becomes involved in the case when he learns of strange telephone messages about this same Morales. Taibo's expertise ensures a smart, funny book, and Marcos brings a wry sense of humor. The authors mix mystery with metafiction: characters operate from beyond the grave or chat about the roles they play in the novel, and Marcos writes his fictional self into the story. Literary readers will nod and smile knowingly, though serious mystery devotees who prefer more grounded noir might be mildly annoyed by the hijinks. (Sept.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Told in alternating chapters, Taibo's striking collaboration with the charismatic leftist leader known as Subcomandante Marcos is a curious animal, laying forth planks in the Zapatistas' platform for the rights of indigenous peoples against globalization and privatization with subversive, comic panache. Taibo's one-eyed detective, Hector Belascoaran, finds more questions than answers in his ongoing quest to vanquish evil, this time in the shadowy form of one (or more) Morales, who may have killed a ghost now leaving messages on answering machines around Mexico City. The quixotic Marcos' inspired contribution is Elias Conteras, an ingenuous investigator from Chiapas imbued with the soul of Sancho Panza. Elias' charming irreverence fits well in the anarchic eclecticism that governs the fictional universe of Taibo, whose fans will hardly be surprised to find a porn actor who looks like Osama Bin Laden tossed in with Pancho Villa, Barney the dinosaur, and Gustav Mahler. As one might expect, the political trumps the personal in this curious mix of crime novel and position paper, but it is just strange enough to attract a cult audience. David Wright
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Publisher: Akashic Books; 1St Edition edition (September 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933354070
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933354071
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.8 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,690,133 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Henry Porter on February 26, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Oh, good, good, good! El Sup Marcos and Paco Taibo collaborate to write a contemporary thriller...with a cast of characters straight out of the newspapers. It's neat. It's funny. It's extraordinarily well done: Marcos wrote the odd-numbered chapters, and Taibo wrote the even-numbered ones...and the two of them take the reader from Chiapas to México (the city)and a dozen other places. The two authors grab bits and pieces from the Dirty War in México (about which most [North] Americans remain typically ignorant), and from there through to current times. Surely there is no other revolutionist in all of history who has co-authored a detective story while in the midst of the revolution that he helped create - and that continues to grip peoples from all over the world. Taibo is Taibo, and writes like he always does: very well, and with a canny eye for nuance and flavor. Marcos provides a glimpse into himself that shows another entire facet of this fascinating individual. Together, the two of them accomplish something subtle and rewarding...the reader's surprise is just the gravy. A good, fun read, but it may be difficult for persons without an understanding of contemporary México to enjoy it as much as do others. A WARNING, however: it will make you desperate for good street-corner tacos and warm orange soda, that's for sure.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this after a review on NPR and the reviewer gave good advice. I would strongly recommend it. It is well written but it takes a few pages to get into the flow.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Mark D. Benner on May 13, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Uncomfortable Dead
The Uncomfortable Dead started slowly especially the chapters written by Marcos and I was beginning to be disappointed, although happy to support the effort. I am not a big fan of detective novels in the first place but do enjoy reading a well written book with well developed characters which creates a truly mystery and intricate and plausible plot. Marcos character Elias Contreras along with the early views and less than subtle foreshadowing by Zapatista revolutionary touristas seemed unnecessarily repetitive and the crime was not clear. It was almost as if Marcos was being paid by the word and was earning some extra cash by being verbose and obtuse. Paco Taibo's chapters were much better, but Marcos picked up the pace around mid book and his chapters improved immensely. As a result the book became much more interesting, and by the end I was hoping it would continue beyond the last page.
The plot revolves around a lot of Mexico's past political criminality and corruption using real characters, including President Zedillo who most recently claimed because he was president of Mexico he could not be held accountable for the crimes against humanity committed by the Mexican Army in the massacre in Acteal in 1997. (His claim is not supported by international law.) Mexico's Dirty War of disappearances greed and corruption take center stage as Pan and PRI politicians join forces to enrich themselves at the expense of the Mexican people, shifting effortlessly from government to membership on International corporate boards bent on profiting from privatization.
Marcos gives a glimpse into life in the Zapatista world, from the voices of international volunteers to the functioning of the Zapatista justice system.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Howard S. Stein on May 11, 2010
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Taibo is a really good writer and an interesting one too. His social views are revolutionary (in both meanings of the word); his detective (Belascoaran) is fun, particularly if you like foreign procedurals with a bit of noir; but in this book the construct of several voices all intermingled is somewhat confusing. I don't think anyone should start with this book, but like all of Taibo, it is worthwhile reading.
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3 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Loves to read on March 29, 2007
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I thought that having alternate chapters be written by two different people was an annoying gimmick for the most part - especially when one is a good writer and the other is less so. By the end I was caught up in the story but, as someone that isn't really familiar with Mexican politics over the last several decades, it was a little harder than usual to feel like I was really "getting" some of the points being made.
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