Alive in Necropolis

Alive in Necropolis

Paperback

By (author) Doug Dorst

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  • Publisher: Riverhead Books
  • Format: Paperback | 437 pages
  • Dimensions: 124mm x 203mm x 25mm | 408g
  • Publication date: 2 June 2009
  • ISBN 10: 1594483825
  • ISBN 13: 9781594483820
  • Edition statement: Reprint
  • Sales rank: 544,647

Product description

A "dark and funny debut"("Seattle-Times") about a young police officer struggling to maintain a sense of reality in a town where the dead outnumber the living. Colma, California, the "cemetery city" serving San Francisco, is the resting place of the likes of Joe DiMaggio, Wyatt Earp, and William Randolph Hearst. It is also the home of Michael Mercer, a by-the-book rookie cop struggling to settle comfortably into adult life. Instead, he becomes obsessed with the mysterious fate of his predecessor, Sergeant Wes Featherstone, who spent his last years policing the dead as well as the living. As Mercer attempts to navigate the drama of his own daily life, his own grip on reality starts to slip-either that, or Colma's more famous residents are not resting in peace as they should be.

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Author information

Doug Dorst is the author of three books, most recently the novel "S," which he co-authored with J. J. Abrams."" He is the author of the novel "Alive in Necropolis," which was honored as San Francisco's 2009 One City One Book selection and as a runner-up for the 2009 PEN/Hemingway, Shirley Jackson, and IAFA/Crawford Awards, and a short story collection, "The Surf Guru." His stories have appeared in "McSweeney's," "Ploughshares," "ZYZZYVA," and other journals. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and a three-time "Jeopardy!" champion, Dorst lives in Austin and teaches writing at Texas State University in San Marcos.

Review quote

aIn the same way "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" mixed high school and bloodsuckers, Doug Dorst combines cops and ghosts in his Alive in Necropolis. The result is a haunted variation on Ed McBain's 87th Precinct series a] Imaginative and accomplished a] Pitch-perfect.a a"USA Today" "[A] daring and bighearted first novel...The left brain of this novel, the plotty, structured part, is a fine, familiar branch of California noir. Like Dashiell Hammett, Dorst conveys a hard-bitten love of the physical San Francisco, the fog-swallowed town, the sun after rain, the mineshaft drops in temperature. Scenes are rooted in surroundings and the weather. The fiction seems to possess, and be possessed by, its beloved Bay...Awareness is the high prize of the novel." a"The New York Times Book Review" "Doug Dorst's smart and accessibly unconventional first novel, "Alive in Necropolis," ...is not quite a horror story, nor exactly a mystery, nor just a hard-boiled police procedural, but an adult coming-of-age saga that pulls with energy and imagination from these various genres...[Dorst] us[es] a limited third-person narrative shot through with streaks of black humor to vivid, insightful effect." a"San Francisco Chronicle" (Lit Pick) aDoug Dorstas new novel, "Alive in Necropolis," takes a sort of Dashiell Hammett point of view in its good-cop-in-deadland story. Itas a ripping yarn full of Bay Area historical figures (theyare all buried out there, after all) and the kind of police drama we all love so well. . .This thing has beach read and film option written all over it.a a "SF Weekly" aThis playful debut follows a first-year cop trying to police the citizens, and perhapsghosts, of Colma, California, the tiny town where San Francisco buries its dead.a a"New York" Magazine, Summer Read pick a[A] quirky debut novel from Austin resident Doug Dorst. .,"Alive in Necropolisas" characters are defined by what they want, not by who they are. And what better metaphor for unfulfilled desire than the walking dead trying to find closure for lifeas unfinished business.a a"Texas Monthly" aAtmospheric. . .part mystery, part compelling account of an angst-ridden young man finding his way in the world.a a"Booklist" aPoignant and funny, especially about the self-destructive fools that love makes us. Dorst is a talent to watch.a a"Kirkus" aThis charming first novel maps the landscape and lives of a small town where ghosts and the living are sometimes indistinguishable from one another. That's what police officer Michael Mercer discovers the night he saves the life of a teenage boy left unconscious and at the mercy of the elements in a Colma, Calif., cemetery. Later, Michael witnesses nocturnal incidents that turn out to be the afterlife activities of local residents who've been dead for decades. The repetitive and unresolved activities of the dead slyly parallel Michael's aimless life and the lives of friends and colleagues similarly mired in day-to- day routine. Though the supernatural elements aren't as well integrated into the main action as they might be, Dorst strikes a perfect balance between humor and pathos. His ability to show the magic potential of everyday lives marks him as an author to watch.a a"Publisheras Weekly" Praise for Doug Dorst: aIt would be a shame if Doug Dorst is written of as one of the best debutnovelists weave seen in years. Heas better than that. Heas one of the best novelists weave seen in years, writing well beyond the level weave learned to expect of afirst novelistsa or anew voices.a He has the control and daring possessed by only the greats of each generation. He writes with humor and wisdom that is rare, and an empathy for his characters that is warm and complex and unique.a aStephen Elliott, author of "Happy Baby"