Read Damned If You Do: A Novel by Gordon Houghton Online

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Hades is dead and the Agency needs a replacement, a new apprentice to carry on its good work. After a vote, corpse number 72 18 9 11 12 13 49 is selected and promptly yanked from his grave, to serve a seven day trial sentence. Each day our hapless narrator is to assist Death in the killing of one unfortunate soul, but as he encounters each victim, and as he begins to graspHades is dead and the Agency needs a replacement, a new apprentice to carry on its good work. After a vote, corpse number 72 18 9 11 12 13 49 is selected and promptly yanked from his grave, to serve a seven day trial sentence. Each day our hapless narrator is to assist Death in the killing of one unfortunate soul, but as he encounters each victim, and as he begins to grasp the functions of Death and the other three modern-day Horsemen, he begins to unlock strange memories of his own prior life. It is not until he understands the backhanded politics of the Four Horsemen's run-down row house, and the sinister circumstances of his predecessor's demise, that he can recognize his true purpose in, well, er, life......

Title : Damned If You Do: A Novel
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780312262884
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 304 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Damned If You Do: A Novel Reviews

  • Sarah
    2019-04-21 15:54

    I’ve been putting off doing this review because I feel so sacrilegious doing it. Awhile back I had been perusing reviews of Christopher Moore’s books (one of my favorite authors) and I ran across a reader who said A Dirty Job was a rip off of Dammed if You Do, and not even one all that well done. By no means do I think Moore is impervious to criticism, but I was blown away by the readers scathing disapproval of Moore’s book. So, in an attempt to prove them wrong (at least in my mind), I sought out this rather difficult to find book (none of the local bookstores carried it; online is apparently the only option?). I’ll preempt my review by stating up front that a) I have a rather twisted sense of humor and b) while I did not mind the disjointed style of writing used throughout, I can see it bugging others. That being said....I started the book with a grudge, not wanting it to prove me wrong. But alas, prove me wrong it did. The thing that sets Dammed if You Do apart from other books is that it offers the dark humor and wit that I was expecting, but it also had an eloquence that caught me off guard. The story is humorous (causing me to laugh outright at times) but there is an undercurrent of something deeper that builds and builds. There is a continual dance that the characters maintain, the steps of which are a persistent attempt to grasp the point of life, death, humanity. The idea of War, Famine, Death, and Pestilence walking around in gaudy outfits, bickering about the bureaucracies of their “organization” offers an amusing backdrop, but the true beauty of this book is in the interspersed ponderings of the characters. The main character is torn between death and the living, stuck in the middle, attempting to come to terms with memories of his premature demise and his new role as Death’s assistant. Death, on the other hand, is disillusioned with his job, no longer seeing the point to it all. I hate to say it, but that review I had stumbled across was right. As much as I loved A Dirty Job, this book trumps it, hands down. Excuse me while I go enjoy my guilt tip now.

  • Zachary
    2019-04-08 21:33

    It could be you...Hades is dead, and Death needs a new apprentice. A corpse is unearthed and is asked to spend seven days helping the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in their daily affairs, at the same time trying to solve the puzzle of who he is and how he died. At the end of his trial period he will either be appointed Death's apprentice or chose the manner in which he returns to the grave.I first read this in 2000. It was highly recommended (loaned?) by a friend when it was called "Damned if you Do" (American title) and I absolutely loved it. Fun, exciting and darkly comedic, it rekindled my love for reading and became an immediate favorite. I recently found out that a sequel was released last year (The Journeyman), totally under my radar, and I freaked. I tore into it immediately and quickly realized that I didn't remember as much about the original as I thought I did, particularly the ending. So I revisited the agency, the four horsemen and the apprentice. 14 years later it's still fun and exciting. Still a favorite, and still my #1 go-to recommendation when friends ask what they should read. "The Apprentice/ Damned if you Do" is my litmus test.*fun fact: "Damned if you Do" has one more page than "The Apprentice". A quick epilogue.P.S. If this ever makes the jump to film I'd like to see Carrot Top as War. Perfect.The Mouths of Madness Podcastshowmy link text

  • Jessica
    2019-03-27 14:40

    I read this book back in my college days, and it stuck with me through the years. It was a unique take on death and the Grim Reaper using both seriousness and humor twisted together perfectly. My paperback copy is full of underlined quotes that I loved from the book, and I find myself often leafing through it even today to reread them. There were plenty of instances that made me think deeply about my own path in life while connecting to the characters in the book and their own individual paths in life. I highly recommend the book to people in their late teens to early twenties, ones who are just starting out in life and figuring out where they belong. This isn't a coming of age book, but it does have significant moments in the book that anyone in that age frame and beyond can relate too and think, "yes, yes, that was me. I couldn't have said that better myself."

  • Sherry
    2019-03-28 18:39

    I liked this book, although there were parts that made me very sad. I have been accused of liking nihilistic, bleak novels(and its true), but this one kind of took it to a new level. There is one point where it got so hopeless feeling I had to put it aside for a while. It did explore themes that interest me greatly, and in an interesting way. Ironic and a little sarcastic. If you're looking for something a little bit different, this could be it. Ultimately a very good read.

  • Valerie
    2019-04-19 18:45

    I read this book in 2 days. It was funny but had depth to it also. The 4 Horseman have replaced their horses with crappy cars, death is suffering from job burnout and the narrator is the lucky stiff that wins the apprenticeship. He seems to reflect more on his life as a zombie than he did as a living person. Also covered in this book is zombie fashion.

  • Ievgeniia Tkhoo
    2019-04-18 16:55

    Якщо в трьох словах, то тут розказується про ще одну версію життя після життя зомбаків. Я десь читала статистику, що книг де пишуть про не мертвих, але і не живих приблизно 1 до 10 мільйонів. Досить не розкрита тема)))Все, як у всіх: робота, не вирішені справи, але при цьому всьому - є ймовірність,що тебе знову закопають....

  • Amby
    2019-04-16 13:54

    Darkly funny. Found this book on a shelf at goodwill, took a chance on it. I love pestilence famine and war. Everyones over exagerated as their stereotypical selves. It takes a classic tale and makes it wry. Fun to read.

  • Valerie
    2019-04-07 13:49

    About six years ago, a friend of mine loaned me this book because she thought it would like it.The concept of this book was very interesting to me, and it kept me hooked the whole time.

  • Shashi Martynova
    2019-04-09 19:58

    Excellent, poignant, sad, tasteful, honest to almost painful, black and bright.

  • SFReader
    2019-04-05 14:35

    http://www.sfreader.com/read_review.a...

  • Gordon Houghton
    2019-04-14 18:51

    Some reviews I've received over the years for this book (published as Damned If You Do in the US):See my website at: http://theburrow.zzap64.co.uk/novels/..."A blackly funny examination of the whole Death business, with more than a few wise observations about the whole living thing as well. A Catch-22 for the afterlife which will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Death. Should be made required reading for dead people."Neil Gaiman"Tired of the same old novels and authors? Fed up at how no one seems to have an original take on anything any more? Given up on finding an inspiring and entertaining novel? Well you need to read Gordon Houghton's The Apprentice, one of the most original and blackly funny novels I have enjoyed in a long while... [It] is the sort of novel that you stumble across every so often that is so original that it screams out to be recommended. I can see it as a TV drama, or as a film. Houghton has managed to tread the line between horror, satire and humour so well that the book works as all three, in a seemingly effortless mix of excellent characters and intriguing situations. It's a brilliant book, one of the best handlings of undead life that I have seen, and one which I heartily recommend."David Howe, Shivers #74"Part mystery, part tragic love story and part comic corpse-coming-of-age story, Damned if You Do succeeds expertly in each area it attempts, managing to provoke tears, grins and more than a few episodes of heart-sinking dread. The storyline itself pretends to be simple but isn't at all; in fact, many times the point that you think Houghton is trying to make isn't what you wind up with... Along the way we are treated to some deliciously disturbing slapstick, a few horrific passages that would make Stephen King blush (the chapter centering on asphyxiation is especially harrowing) and some surprisingly insightful ruminations on the nature of love—and the absolute devastation inflicted on human hearts caught up in a love gone wrong... Gordon Houghton has created a rare bird with Damned if You Do. Monty Python meets Clive Barker meets Oscar Wilde—an unlikely matching of literary bedfellows that compliment rather than compete. Wildly imaginative and deeply insightful, Damned if You Do is a true gem."Louis Maistros, author of The Big Punch. Read the full review here."This is a book full of dark humour and darker deeds. So sharply observed one assumes it was written with a scythe rather than a pen... With tongue firmly in cheek (or jawbone) Houghton brilliantly succeeds in bringing life to death and death to life."Michael Harnett, Park Royal Independent"'I had been dead for countless years when I heard a knock on the coffin lid.' is the opening line of this witty, mad, ultimately touching book that comes at the reader from all directions and never lets up. Gordon Houghton writes like a really good flamenco guitarist—fast, full of fevered flourishes and memorable phrases throughout."Jonathan Carroll, author of The Marriage of Sticks"Take yourself out to lunch armed with this book; take the afternoon off; kill a weekend with these pages. Your time can't be better spent. Damned If You Do deserves it... Life is short, art is long, and death is funny. But think twice about the slice of green pie in the fridge."Gregory Maguire, author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister"Houghton's greatest accomplishment is endearing his narrator to the reader through many similar fears and concerns—love, honesty and the importance of how you've lived your life... The premise of the book screams "movie-ready," but thankfully Houghton imbues it with a fuller, and sometimes bleaker, realization of the places this story can go. The result is a quirky and intriguing look at the sadly comedic possibility that the daily pains of life aren't a hell of a lot better when we're six feet under."Nick Rogers, Buzz online magazine."Gordon Houghton's second novel, The Apprentice, is such a pleasure to read... Death will never seem quite so grim again."Dominic Bradbury, The Times"A hip, modern spin on the tried-and-tested It's A Wonderful Life back-from-the-dead allegory."Daily Mirror"...a comic style reminiscent of both Nick Hornby and Monty Python."Booklist (US)"A brash and often gruesomely funny debut novel ... The author gets points for audacity, and for reinventing the Four Horsemen as a perpetual vaudeville act."Kirkus Reviews (US)"Houghton's tale combines the wit of Neil Gaiman with the wry observations of Douglas Adams."Randy Silver, Amazon UK"Wacky, pointed, sinister and satirical, [the book] moves at a brisk, grisly pace... Though Houghton's first novel, The Dinner Party, has not been published in the US, his sharp observations and spare, colorful prose make him a writer to watch."Reader review on amazon.com"This book is funny, touching, gruesome, and just plain weird, all at the same time... a fun way to kill some time and get a good story under your belt."Reader review on ewebcity.com"The writing is darkly humorous... Houghton has the same dry, dark humor that Neil Gaiman displays in Good Omens. The book moves along nicely with quick interludes between the sorrowful past and the deadly present."Reader review on amazon.com"A magnificent book."Reader review on Alphabetstreet e-bookshopWunderbarmakaberunterhaltsame StoryDieses Buch hat alles was man von guter, leichter und unterhaltsamer aber nicht oberflächlicher Lektüre erwartet. Der Protagonist schildert seine Erebnisse so ausführlich und mit soviel Sarkasmus... man erfährt, wie es ist, ein Zombie zu sein. Gleichzeitig leidet man mit ihm, wenn er an sein Leben zurückdenkt und ihm schließlich wieder einfällt, wie er gestorben ist...Reader review on Amazon.de

  • Gordon Houghton
    2019-04-07 19:57

    Some reviews I've received over the years for this book (published as Damned If You Do in the US):See my website at: http://theburrow.zzap64.co.uk/novels/..."A blackly funny examination of the whole Death business, with more than a few wise observations about the whole living thing as well. A Catch-22 for the afterlife which will tell you everything you ever wanted to know about Death. Should be made required reading for dead people."Neil Gaiman"Tired of the same old novels and authors? Fed up at how no one seems to have an original take on anything any more? Given up on finding an inspiring and entertaining novel? Well you need to read Gordon Houghton's The Apprentice, one of the most original and blackly funny novels I have enjoyed in a long while... [It] is the sort of novel that you stumble across every so often that is so original that it screams out to be recommended. I can see it as a TV drama, or as a film. Houghton has managed to tread the line between horror, satire and humour so well that the book works as all three, in a seemingly effortless mix of excellent characters and intriguing situations. It's a brilliant book, one of the best handlings of undead life that I have seen, and one which I heartily recommend."David Howe, Shivers #74"Part mystery, part tragic love story and part comic corpse-coming-of-age story, Damned if You Do succeeds expertly in each area it attempts, managing to provoke tears, grins and more than a few episodes of heart-sinking dread. The storyline itself pretends to be simple but isn't at all; in fact, many times the point that you think Houghton is trying to make isn't what you wind up with... Along the way we are treated to some deliciously disturbing slapstick, a few horrific passages that would make Stephen King blush (the chapter centering on asphyxiation is especially harrowing) and some surprisingly insightful ruminations on the nature of love—and the absolute devastation inflicted on human hearts caught up in a love gone wrong... Gordon Houghton has created a rare bird with Damned if You Do. Monty Python meets Clive Barker meets Oscar Wilde—an unlikely matching of literary bedfellows that compliment rather than compete. Wildly imaginative and deeply insightful, Damned if You Do is a true gem."Louis Maistros, author of The Big Punch. Read the full review here."This is a book full of dark humour and darker deeds. So sharply observed one assumes it was written with a scythe rather than a pen... With tongue firmly in cheek (or jawbone) Houghton brilliantly succeeds in bringing life to death and death to life."Michael Harnett, Park Royal Independent"'I had been dead for countless years when I heard a knock on the coffin lid.' is the opening line of this witty, mad, ultimately touching book that comes at the reader from all directions and never lets up. Gordon Houghton writes like a really good flamenco guitarist—fast, full of fevered flourishes and memorable phrases throughout."Jonathan Carroll, author of The Marriage of Sticks"Take yourself out to lunch armed with this book; take the afternoon off; kill a weekend with these pages. Your time can't be better spent. Damned If You Do deserves it... Life is short, art is long, and death is funny. But think twice about the slice of green pie in the fridge."Gregory Maguire, author of Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister"Houghton's greatest accomplishment is endearing his narrator to the reader through many similar fears and concerns—love, honesty and the importance of how you've lived your life... The premise of the book screams "movie-ready," but thankfully Houghton imbues it with a fuller, and sometimes bleaker, realization of the places this story can go. The result is a quirky and intriguing look at the sadly comedic possibility that the daily pains of life aren't a hell of a lot better when we're six feet under."Nick Rogers, Buzz online magazine."Gordon Houghton's second novel, The Apprentice, is such a pleasure to read... Death will never seem quite so grim again."Dominic Bradbury, The Times"A hip, modern spin on the tried-and-tested It's A Wonderful Life back-from-the-dead allegory."Daily Mirror"...a comic style reminiscent of both Nick Hornby and Monty Python."Booklist (US)"A brash and often gruesomely funny debut novel ... The author gets points for audacity, and for reinventing the Four Horsemen as a perpetual vaudeville act."Kirkus Reviews (US)"Houghton's tale combines the wit of Neil Gaiman with the wry observations of Douglas Adams."Randy Silver, Amazon UK"Wacky, pointed, sinister and satirical, [the book] moves at a brisk, grisly pace... Though Houghton's first novel, The Dinner Party, has not been published in the US, his sharp observations and spare, colorful prose make him a writer to watch."Reader review on amazon.com"This book is funny, touching, gruesome, and just plain weird, all at the same time... a fun way to kill some time and get a good story under your belt."Reader review on ewebcity.com"The writing is darkly humorous... Houghton has the same dry, dark humor that Neil Gaiman displays in Good Omens. The book moves along nicely with quick interludes between the sorrowful past and the deadly present."Reader review on amazon.com"A magnificent book."Reader review on Alphabetstreet e-bookshopWunderbarmakaberunterhaltsame StoryDieses Buch hat alles was man von guter, leichter und unterhaltsamer aber nicht oberflächlicher Lektüre erwartet. Der Protagonist schildert seine Erebnisse so ausführlich und mit soviel Sarkasmus... man erfährt, wie es ist, ein Zombie zu sein. Gleichzeitig leidet man mit ihm, wenn er an sein Leben zurückdenkt und ihm schließlich wieder einfällt, wie er gestorben ist...Reader review on Amazon.de

  • Shae
    2019-03-25 20:46

    I like the weird quirkiness of this book but if you want a stright up story with a definative ending you should look elsewhere.

  • Jessica
    2019-03-26 18:58

    I really enjoyed this book. It was funny. I wish it had a better ending, it seems like the author ran out of steam or ideas, but overall I felt it was worth my time.

  • Justin
    2019-03-22 17:33

    If you like Neal Gaiman, you will definitely like this.

  • Margaret Ross
    2019-04-21 20:36

    eh. Amusing, but not great. super quick read.

  • Kaylol
    2019-04-17 21:59

    Well thought bit not I did not enjoy that much the way it's written.