Dead Men Naked – @dariowrites


A literary masterpiece… Beautifully portrayed characters are just our guides through this unusually sensual, emotional and deep story” – Bernard Jan


“This book is humorous, tragic at heart and, most of all, strangely perceptive. I recommend it highly”  – Sean Barrs, Fantasy Book Review Recommended book of the month

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 humour, philosophy, and poetry, to explore what it takes to accept our own mortality.

Click here, or leave a comment below, to obtain a review copy of Dead Men Naked
Dead Men Naked, Dario Cannizzaro’s 2017 novel is a steaming hot cup of surrealism, magic realism, absurd theater, gothic opera and probably some other things the author threw in that I did not pick up on.” – Lynn


It’s one thing to discuss the weird guy in the attic that you don’t know and make fun of, but it’s entirely another to break into his house.  Right?  Try reasoning when drunk and tell me how it worked out for you.  So instead of trying to force him down and Go home and See you tomorrow, what did I do?  I followed him up to the attic, to the door of Skinny Guy.  The doors that are doomed to open are always unlocked, and this was one of them.  We were in.

As soon as we closed the door behind us it was dark, and I immediately sensed a stench.  Mold and dust and rot.  I imagined nests of rats and evil things crawling in the dark – not a good thought to have.  I was holding Neil by the shirt like a child.  We stood there, frozen, until our eyes were able to see.  Dark wooden floor, old unpainted plaster walls, a rusty stove, and nothing more, other than a feeling of restlessness.  I wanted to say Let’s get out of here, but I didn’t have time as Neil walked towards the window.  Before I could get to him I heard him scream.  It was a short-lived scream that died in his throat as he fell.  I jumped to help him, shouting Neil! and when I moved closer – there it was.

Blocking the window was a dark silhouette, black melting with the surrounding black, a mantle and a hood, darkness taking shape, and as the streetlight shone on a long blade I fell down and hurt my face, on the ground, helpless.  I tried to move towards the wall to find something to grip onto and pull myself up, but before turning to check on NMeil again I heard voices that said,

Does he actually see you?
I do not know.  It seems so.  The other one?
He is grasping at the wall.

One of the voices was difficult to identify – it could have been the voice of a little girl or an old man or a young woman or a toddler muttering mamamama for the first time.  The second voice was clearly one of a heavy smoker – words shaving his throat out and trembling.  I finally managed to pull myself up and leant against the wall to keep myself straight.

I finally took a clear look.

The smoker was a six-foot-tall giant black bird.  Black like oil, black against the hooded tall figure on his right.  The blade the tall guy had in his skeletal hands was to my knowledge a scythe.  My heart paused for a second, only to catch the energy needed to start racing faster and faster, and so I had to hold onto the wall, while with my foot I reached out to Neil to poke him and wake him up.  The two figures started to talk again,

They see us, mate – rasping voice of hell talking – that is rather strange to me, and I don’t even think entirely possible.  If not out of place completely.
I know.  The other one saw me already, I would dare say.

The tall figure removed his hood, revealing the face of my neighbour – Skinny Guy.  At this particular point, I wasn’t sure if I could cross off vampire from the list, but seeing his face was enough to help my heart slow down.  As logic seeped in, I thought that maybe he was one of those guys that dress up as knights and myths and demigods – for deep is the human longing to mimic the immortals.

A man in his right mind would simply collect his passed-out friend, ask for forgiveness, and go on with his life.  But I wasn’t in my right mind.  Se, alcohol is not a friend, it’s not the solution to your problem, it’s not a balsam that when passed on your mind cleanses it from pain.  It is a drug and a demon and limbo and dark oblivion.  But I didn’t know that then, and as I was possessed by this demon – which has a sense of humour of its own – instead of going about my own business I shouted,


So the giant bird turned towards me and said something like Oh, very very smart; nice.  I’ll make you meet the dead fella in a heartbeat!

He spread his arms, or wings.  The costume was really good; all looked real, dark wings five feet out from each side.  I was starting to feel my heart pounding again when Skinny Guy stopped him and said,

Leave him alone.
Leave him.  He saw me anyway, and he is still here.
What about his dead friend here then?  I can’t just leave him here?
Things have a way of figuring themselves out.
Great night out, my friend.  Remind me not to hang with you anymore.

Still holding tight to whatever was on the wall behind me, I muttered something like,

Sorry, guys.  Look, my friend isn’t dead; he’s just passed out.  He does this when we drink too much – I kept poking Neil with my foot – so if you’ll excuse us for our disturbance, we actually just hit the wrong floor.  Our night’s over, but you can go on to whatever party you were going to.  Great costumes, by the way.

The crow hopped towards me and I pressed myself closer to the wall as he was really pretty scary.  He turned my friend’s body over with his long, black beak.

Dead, he said.

Click here, or leave a comment below, to obtain a review copy of Dead Men Naked
This novel was hilarious at times, but then brought you to the very depths of your own beliefs in death and the afterlife. It sounds like such a strange contrast when I think about it now, but Cannizzaro did such an amazing job putting it all together that you don’t really think of that contrast while reading. I absolutely loved how effortless and poetic most of the writing was.” – Melissa Welch

Author Bio

hero_imageDARIO 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, and has never stopped writing.

His works have been published in Italian and English in Literary Magazines such as The Galway ReviewTwo Thousand Words, Chantwood Magazine and Trigger Warning.

Website: www.dariowrites.com
Twitter: http://twitter.com/dariowrites/  

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