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Hell's Half Acre [Paperback]

Will Christopher Baer
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)

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Product details

  • Paperback: 330 pages
  • Publisher: Perseus Oto (12 July 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596922230
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596922235
  • Product Dimensions: 18.6 x 13.8 x 2.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,385,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Be warned! 31 July 2008
By JoeBlow
This isn't so much a review as a warning - for some reason the paperback edition of Hells Half Acre has the last two chapters missing! These chapters are however in the hardcover edition. Which I have now also purchased, but only because WCB is an awesome author and I've loved the whole Poe trilogy.

Oh, the last two chapters are also in the omnibus edition, if you can actually get hold of one anywhere.

Here's looking forward to Godspeed!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Addictive deviance 19 Oct 2006
Some stories get gently under your skin and some just grab you by the throat, taking you places you never imagined you'd enjoy so much. Hell's Half Acre, the third in Will Christopher Baer's Phineas Poe trilogy, stands tall in the latter category.

Set in Baer's native California, anti hero Poe, an ex-cop, former mental patient with a weakness for existential philosophy, is on a quest to rekindle his relationship with his sadomasochistic, drug crazed, assassin ex-girlfriend Jude. Stumbling drunkenly through a sub-culture of snuff films, unfulfilled aspirations, sexual deviance and violent retributions, Poe treads a fine line between lover and loser, persecutor and victim, whilst constantly grappling with his addiction, paranoia and emotional frailty.

Baer's use of language is stripped back, raw and uncompromising yet never short of exhilarating. He relishes tearing apart taboos and placing his readers in uncomfortable moral mazes with no easy exits. A potent cocktail of wickedly addictive storytelling.
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Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars  19 reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Sex, lies and videotape 4 Sep 2004
By Luan Gaines - Published on Amazon.com
Writing with the gritty realism of Andrew Vachss, Baer has aptly titled Hell's Half Acre, a descent into darkness that requires a strong constitution, but is worth the effort. In this world, killers appear unannounced and strange men mutilate their bodies for kicks, cash can buy anything, no matter how obscene and death is always a heartbeat away. It takes a fertile imagination to construct the layers of this elaborate, unpredictable nightmare.

Phineas Poe is on a strange trip, part psychological, part real. His first order of business is to track his girlfriend, the very tough Jude, trained by Special Forces and his former partner in crime-cum-romance. Jude and Poe's drug odyssey alone could cure a junkie. A violent act sundered their earlier cohabitation; since then, Poe's only mission is to find Jude. An ex-cop, Phineas Poe is an ambiguous character, following his more bizarre instincts, fueled by drugs but secretly nurturing a hopeful heart. Within the first couple of pages, Poe makes a fateful choice, when he notices the "thin shallow mouth of the alley my possible monster had come running from" and "I walked into that dark mouth". From that point on, the action only accelerates.

Meanwhile, the pathological John Ransom Miller is planning his snuff film, starring Jude, Phineas and assorted others. Jude has revenge on her mind and Phineas wants to be there for her, drug-hazed but willing. To that end they step into some very dark places, assuming an escape route that never quite materializes. Miller has a propensity for life and death games, ratcheting up the danger with the addition of more mayhem to expand the film's appeal, setting the actors up like pawns in a rigged chess game. To say that most of these characters are cynical would be an understatement; however, in a city's netherworld, survival dictates a certain perspective. But Poe doesn't want to play anymore, pushed to the edge of his fragmented integrity.

Reading this novel is like watching a triple X-rated movie, where all the X's are for violent acts. Pop culture seeps through the pages, images jumping out at random moments: Travis Bickle, the white rabbit. The novel is successful because it is never exploitative. Baer's dark journey of the soul, while tinged with excessive violence, is driven by an impressive imagination, as Poe masters the art of walking on the wild side, skirting the edge without tumbling into the abyss or accidentally slitting his own throat. Luan Gaines/2004.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good review from a not-so-good reviewer 13 Oct 2004
By Daniel E. Donche Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
As stated above, I'm generally not good at giving reviews. I try, but somehow I can never seem to do a story the justice it deserves.

This is one such example of my incompetence; but don't let that dissuade you from reading this book. It is worth every second of your life you choose to expend to reading it.

First of all, the storyline is strong and there aren't many distractions at all. Baer's first two contained scenes that may have been confusing, but this one is tight and straightforward without losing any of its poetic appeal. If you've read the other two, Kiss Me Judas and Penny Dreadful, you are well aware of Baer's fantastic prose. This book is not lacking.

It isn't as dark as the other two, but there are still many taboo subjects within these pages to keep someone who craves those things entertained. Snuff films. Sex. Amputation fetishes. A rape scene. And none of this, as per Will Christopher Baer's style, is gratuitous. Not like Bret Easton Ellis. I'd say this story is as good as it gets if you're looking for great story, elegant writing, dark content without being too graphic, pacing, and perfect climax/ending. This isn't one of those endings that leave you wondering what you missed. It will leave you wanting more.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Phineas Poe returns 9 Nov 2004
By Jarrid Deaton - Published on Amazon.com
Will Christopher Baer has created his best work yet with Hell's Half Acre. The hallucinatory quality which other reviewers of the book have talked about is indeed a strange and compelling theme that permeates Baer's work. The reader, like main character Phineas Poe, may find themselves wondering what is real and what is just another twisted part of a dream. Baer's quick pace writing makes the book a very fast read, and the twists and turns help to keep things flowing down the increasingly curvy road that Baer has created. The book is so well written that the previous two novels concerning Phineas Poe: Kiss Me, Judas and Penny Dreadful, are not required reading for enjoying Hell's Half Acre. However, I would recommend picking up all three books. I look forward to what Baer has in store for us in the future.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best book I've read in years. 11 Oct 2004
By joeyjord - Published on Amazon.com
Will Christopher Baer returns to conclude the trilogy that started with kiss me judas. In his return, he brings even stronger writing and story telling.

Don't make the mistake of not buying this book.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Baer is the new noir voice of the 21st century 12 Oct 2004
By Roger - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Where to begin... This is the third in a trilogy featuring Phineas Poe, an ex-cop who may or may not have murdered his wife, who may or may not love a feminine poison named Jude (one of the deadliest and sexiest characters ever written), and who may or may not be just a tad insane. Either way, Baer proves a master at writing compulsive and obsessive reading. If you have not read the first two in the series (Kiss Me, Judas and Penny Dreadful), don't let it stop you from picking up this addicting piece of literature. Be warned, however: Once you start reading about Phineas, you will not want to stop. For more insight into the strange universe of Will Christopher Baer, check out the his site at willchristopherbaer dot com.

Also highly recommended: The Contortionist's Handbook by Craig Clevenger.
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