Book Review | Dead Men Naked

dead men naked

After the sudden death of his best friend Neil, involving a 6-foot giant crow and quite some Tequila, Lou’s life takes an unexpected turn toward the impossible.

As Lou discovers his unwelcome gift to see Neil’s ghost, he starts to question his sanity; but the real challenge is just coming up.

Mallory, a self-proclaimed medium, offers her services to help Neil pass over. Drunk on spirit, lust, and hope, Lou agrees to perform a ritual, which, unforeseen, leaves him alone to face death.

Not any death, but his personal one; a skinny, sarcastic anthropomorphic embodiment of his end-of-time which – who? – goes by D.

Summoned during the ritual, D will help Lou in the search for Angelene, Mallory’s twin sister, the only clue to finding the disappeared Mallory and reverse the ritual.
The strange duo begins a road trip from dusty interstates to lousy strip clubs, during which they’ll have time to know each other and discuss the meaning of life, love, and what does it means to be mortal.

Will our unconventional couple find Angelene, and persuade her to help in the search for Mal? Will Lou be able to save his friend Neil, or his own soul for that matter?

But more importantly: will he make peace with his own Death?

DEAD MEN NAKED is Dario’s debut novel. Narrated with the characteristic prose that differentiates Dario’s work – minimalistic at its core, but with incredibly powerful and lyrical flights of fancy – this modern and magical tale uses a touch of humor, philosophy, and poetry, to explore what it takes to accept our own mortality.

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After reading his collection of short stories for a blog tour earlier this year, I was very happy when Dario got in touch to ask if I fancied reading Dead Men Naked. I’m not known for turning down books but I was especially intrigued to see if the same lyrical writing and atmosphere translated into this longer format.

I’m happy to report that it definitely does.

This is a great book, an interesting blend of the occult, a road trip and some very poignant thoughts on life and death. I felt really drawn into the story, it has adventure but also a lot of deep thought provoking moments, which really makes you think about the human existence.

I won’t delve too much into the plot because there is a lot going on and I don’t want to spoil anything. What I will say though is that it is surprising, after reading the blurb I thought I had a fair idea of what to expect but there were a lot of things that happened that I wouldn’t have seen coming.

The characters were very well done. It’s hard to describe but Lou had this lovable clumsy underdog quality, the kind of guy that these terrible things happen to but that seems to muddle through without much of an idea of how he’s managing it. Even if I hadn’t been enjoying the story then I know I would have kept reading just to see if he gets a happy ending. I liked his friendship with Neil and how you could get a really good sense of it even though their communication wasn’t easy.

The concept of death I found really intriguing, it was different to anything I had read before but made a lot of sense to me. I really liked his personification as well, this almost childish innocence mixed with a world-weary knowledge, it was very cleverly done.

The writing had a very easy style but the flowery and lyrical way with words that I admire from this author certainly shone through during any of the more philosophical discussions.

If you are looking for a thought-provoking, humorous and surprising book then this is the one for you. It’s a story that clung to me a few days after reading and I am very much looking forward to seeing what Mr. Cannizzaro comes up with next.

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Dario Cannizzaro was born in the sun-eaten Naples, Italy in 1982. He moved to Ireland in 2011, and has called it home ever since. He started writing short stories at seven, which are shamefully lost forever, but has never stopped writing since. His works have been published in Italian and English in Literary Magazines such as The Galway ReviewTwo Thousand Words and Chantwood Magazine.

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Reviews for other Dario Cannizzaro books

Of Life, Death, Aliens, and Zombies

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