Review: The Dewey Decimal System by Nathan Larsen

The Dewey Decimal System by Nathan Larsen
The Dewey Decimal System by Nathan Larsen

The Dewey Decimal System
Nathan Larsen (twitter)
Akashic Books, 2011

When checking out The Dewey Decimal System by Nathan Larsen over on Amazon I found out it is part of the Akashic Urban Surreal Series. Unfortunately, beyond that Amazon listing I can’t seem to find anything about this series beyond that it sort of exists. I mean, I guess the series title sort of explains it all but a little more information on it might be nice. Indeed, before even seeing that such a series existed I don’t think I would have classified this novel as surreal. Maybe it’s the fact that my senses are so inured from years of science fiction and fantasy that my interpretation of surreal is a bit askew. I found myself thinking of The Dewey Decimal System as slightly closer to post-apocalytpic fiction than anything else, though even that wasn’t quite right.

The Dewey Decimal System takes place in the husk of a New York City that has been all but abandoned after a flu pandemic, terrorist attacks, and the collapse of Wall Street. The titular character goes by the name of Dewey Decimal a gun-for-hire who makes his home in the New York Public Library working on the side to reorganize the collection into the proper Dewey classifications. Dewey is hired by the local Distract Attorney Rosenblatt to kill a man: Ukrainian gangster and all around bad guy Ivan Shapsko. Of course that isn’t everything. This wouldn’t be a quality hard-boiled/noir tale without a femme fatale and Larsen delivers with Iveta Shapsko; Ivan’s estranged wife. Dewey isn’t the type to follow orders blindly and the notion of just doing what he told never crosses his mind. Dewey’s quest for more information on his job leads him down an ever twisting path of violence made all the more fascinating by Dewey’s own unique psyche.

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Mystery Blog/Site List

The following list of links to mystery blogs and the accompanying descriptions were generously provided by Rosemary Harris and Hank Phillippi Ryan during the ALA Convention yesterday.  Enjoy and happy reading!

Cozy Chicks Blog

Features JB Stanley, Heather Webber, Lorna Barrett, Kate Collins, Bed Baker, Leann Sweeney, and Maggie Sefton. “We blog about our writing and our lives and discuss book promotion.”  They send quarterly newsletters and hold seasonal contests for readers.

Femmes Fatales

“Ferociously talented women dedicated to the fine art of crime fiction.  Charlaine Harris, Dana Cameron, Kris Neri, Hank Phillipi Ryan, Toni L. P. Kelner, Elaine Viets, Mary Saums and Donna Andrews bring their wit and wisdom to this long-running cyberchat.


Feature two dozen authors published by Midnight Ink Books.  They blog about all aspects of the writing life–motivation, editing, publicity, marketing, book signings, and libraries.  Some bloggers are Elizabeth Spann, Craig/Riley Adams, Beth Groundwater, Sue Ann Jaffarian, Felicia Donovan, Julia Buckley, Deborah Sharp, Alan Orloff, and G. M. Malliet.

Jen’s Book Thoughts

Started about 2 years ago by a high school English teacher.  At JBT you’ll find review, interview, news about book events and author events, and special projects like “Six-Word Memoirs from Crime Fiction’s Greatest Writers.”  JBT has also incorporarted video interview on the blog.  Visiting authors have included James Lee Burker, Michael Connelly, Gregg Hurwitz, T. Jefferson Parker, Michael Koryta, Dennis Lehane, Sue Grafton, Lisa Unger, and Ken Bruen.

Jungle Red

Writing well is the best revenge.  Multiple award-winning authors Hank Phillip Ryan, Rosemary Harris, Roberta Isleib, Rhys Bowen, Jan Brogan, and Hallie Ephron write about writing, not writing, reading, and the publishing world and the real world.  Jungle Red Mondays are a special chat among all the authors, in a “View”-like atmosphere, they invite visitors to join in the discussion.  Wednesdays showcase a special guest–such as Katherine Neville, Linda Fairstein, Carolyn Hart, Mihcael Palmer, agents, editors, and some of their favorite librarians.  Fridays are “anything can happen!”

Lesa’s Book Critiques

Lesa Holstine is a library manager in Arizona who has worked in public libraries for 37 years.  her Blog features book reviews, author interview, and recaps author appearances.  Articles are frequently picked up for syndication, and can often be read in the Chicago Sun-Times.  She also reviews women’s fiction for Library Journal and crime fiction for Mystery Lovers’ Journal.

The Lipstick Chronicles

The renowned and successful lipstick Chronicles just celebrated five years online, and now include authors who appeal to a broad fiction audience.  It’s irreverent, edgy and often hilarious, it gives an up-close look at some top notch writers.  The bloggers have won every award in the industry: Brunonia Barry, Diane Chamberlain, Heather Graham, Harley Jane Kozak, Margaret Maron, Nancy Martin, Louise Penny, Nancy Pickard, Corneal Read, Hank Phillippi Ryan, Sarah Strohmeyer, Kathy Reschini Sweeney, Elaine Viets and Jacqueline Winspear.

Meanderings and Muses

Fan and avid reader Kaye Barley has amassed a surprising number of followers and guest bloggers. She’s a trendsetter in the mystery community, beloved by authors from every genre in the field.  This blog is a low key, friendly and informative must-read–especially if you are interested in the genre buzz.

Meritorious Mysteries

Mystery maven and North Caroline author escort Molly Weston’s blog features mystery author guest bloggers on Tuesdays and reviews of great mysteries not usually found on the NY Times Bestseller List.  Meritorious Mysteries offers readers crime fiction gems they might not otherwise find.


Hard-boiled and medium-boiled mystery and thriller authors take turns writing thoughtful and provocative essays.  Their website says: “…examines critical themes, historical archetypes and trends in publishing, marketing and the life of the published author.”  Bloggers are: Alafair Burke, Alex Sokoloff, Allison Brennan, Brett Battles, Cornelia Read, JD Rhoades, JT Ellision, Louise Ure, Pari Noskin Taichert, Robert Gregory Browne, Stephen jay Schwartz, Tess Gerristen, Toni Marie Causey and Zoe Sharpe.

Poe’s Deadly Daughters

Poe’s Deadly Daughters bills itself as “a blog for mystery lovers.”  Bloggers are Elizabeth Zelvin, Sandra Parshall, Sharon Wildin, Lonnie Cruse, Julia Buckley, and Cheila Connolly (aka Sarah Atwell).  Often it’s books, reading, the writing process, creativity, or language, but also a vast range of topics from crime and alcoholism to parenting and animals.

Seven Criminal Minds

Seven Criminal Minds includes 12 crime writers including Kelly Stanley, CJ Lyons, Meredith Cole, Sophie Littlefield, Bill Cameron, Shane Gericke, and Rebecca Cantrell.  Each week, they respond to questions about writing reading, murder and mayhem–focusing on one topic.

The Stiletto Gang

“Women writers on mission to bring mystery, human and high heels to the world.”  Visitors to TSG are treated to “healthy doses of humor, opinion, mysteries, and information.”  Gang members are Evelyn David, Marilyn Meredith, Maggie Barbieri, Rachel Brady, Misa Ramirez and Susan McBride.

Stop, You’re Killing Me

Stop, You’re Killing Me is a resource for lovers of mystery, crime, thriller, spy and suspense books.  “We list over 3,300 authors, with chronological lists of their books (over 38,000 titles), both series (3,700+) and non-series.  And it’s perfectly fine with us if you print our pages for your private use, especially for a trip to your local library or bookstore.”