by Bavo Dhooge with Josh Pachter
In 2011, Bavo Dhooge's “Stinking Plaster” was the first story by a Belgian author I translated for EQMM. Two years later, his American agent Peter Riva called me up and asked me to collaborate on an American version of Bavo's zombie-cop novel Styx.
I did, and Simon & Schuster published the result in hardback in November 2015 and in trade paperback in November 2016.
Among the numerous interviews I gave in conjunction with the book's release, my favorite was this one from My Bookish Ways.
You can order the hardcover, trade paperback, Kindle edition and/or audio book from Amazon here.
Here are excerpts from some of the reviews:
“Styx is a wild, inventive crime novel with more than one memorable twist.... Dhooge has a sly sense of humor, knows how to build scenes for maximum impact, and can creep readers out in classic thriller style. He also adds plenty of pop culture references to keep things humming and lighten the darkness.... [Styx is] sharp, funny, original, and haunting.” Huffington Post
“…the powerful existential undertone and strange redemptive tale make this an entertaining and moving read.” Publishers Weekly
“Belgian crime novelist Dhooge takes a seemingly straightforward concept for this genre-bender but applies an interesting surrealist patina to his detective story.… an atmospheric, noir-tinged tale about a stubborn cop who just won’t quit, even if he is dead.” Kirkus Review
“The premise was interesting, the characters were redeeming, the plot was fast-paced, Ostend, Belgium was beautifully portrayed, and the Stuffer was absolutely chilling.” Books & Tea
“An idea whose time is now, with an added touch of European class…. its zombie and time travel elements are a really interesting hook for any genre fans who want to take a walk on the dark side. It’s a fast read and one that has more than enough going on to keep the reader continually engaged.” SF Signal
“Noir black humor and Styx’s continually cynical outlook entertain throughout the novel, and surprisingly, his living and prematurely promoted partner Joachim Delacroix proves to be a fascinating and complex character. This entertaining redemption tale of a detective is heightened by the zombie deadline that has Styx desperate to stop the Stuffer before either of them may kill again. Mystery readers will be drawn into this traditional noir detective story, and the inclusion of an undead detective successfully and seamlessly blends two genres into one completely enjoyable read." Kings River Life
“Through a balance of dark humor, noir style, and avoidance of over-the-top slapstick, Dhooge and Pachter make it all work.” Washington Independent Review of Books
“... it was hard not to be captivated by Styx’s thought processes and Dhooge’s ability to paint a vivid picture of a dead man walking — and dropping putrescent bits of himself along the way. Despite the grotesqueries, there is an inspirational quality to Styx’s newly discovered humility and desire for redemption.” Murder By the Book
“The novel is smart, dark, and wryly funny as it follows the decaying body of the detective through the dark docks and alleyways of the Belgian seashore town. Josh Pachter, a longtime contributor to EQMM, was more than a translator. He worked side-by-side with Dhooge, and it shows in the naturally flowing narrative.” Ellery Queen's Mystery Magazine
“Black Humor sets Styx apart from other thrillers. This book crosses genres, but is a serial killer novel at its core with a fantastic literary lens. It’s hilarious, witty, suspenseful, atmospheric, and an all-around excellent gift. Buy it for book lovers who read: Robert Galbraith, Jo Nesbø.” New in Books
“Thought-provoking to say the least, and engaging beyond the final chapter, I found myself reliving this story for days after putting it down. In fact, I dare say author Bavo Dhooge and his American co-author/translator, Josh Pachter, adeptly rewrite the zombie rules. Styx represents the new zombie order.… the next 'classic' title, if you will. Suffice it to say, you won’t regret this book as a personal indulgence or post-holiday/birthday gift for any zombie-loving fan.” Dread Central
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