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The Nervous System


Larson’s antihero Dewey Decimal is back in this bombastic and soulful sequel to The Dewey Decimal System.

We still have a very limited number of the limited edition, signed hardcover copies of The Nervous System available for purchase while supplies last! To place an order, select the “limited hardcover edition” option in the add-to-cart drop-down menu above!

$15.95 $11.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

“Whiplash prose, teeth-gnashing dialogue and post-civilization concepts that make a crazy (amateur) librarian in a pitch-black world a hell of a lot of fun . . . A good time for fans of the likes of Charlie Huston and Charles Stross.”
Kirkus Reviews

“Larson’s vividly imagined world and his quirky narrator are likely to win him a cadre of loyal fans.”
Publishers Weekly

“This is a taut, action movie-violent mystery that will appeal to fans of Larson’s earlier novel as well as those who like dystopian literature generally.”
Library Journal

“Nathan Larson’s The Nervous System mashes up genres: postapocalypse sci-fi and crime noir.”
Wall Street Journal

“This doubleheader, the ‘soft apocalypse’ noir thrillers The Dewey Decimal System and The Nervous System by former Shudder To Think guitarist Nathan Larson, turns out to contain one of most inventive post-apocalyptic milieus I’ve ever come across . . . Like The Yiddish Policeman’s Union (Michael Chabon) they use simple crime-novel plots as a sly way to explore this expansive alt-history universe, even while layering in an ultra-slow reveal concerning Dewey’s actual past . . . Two of the most legitimately exciting novels I’ve read in a long time, these had the rare ability to completely suck me out of my daily reality . . . taut genre actioners that belie the usual tropes of their genres, and which will undoubtedly be making our Best Of The Year lists come December.”
—Chicago Center for Literature and Photography

“While there’s plenty of hard-boiled convention at work, Larson takes time to give his characters and scenes the detail they deserve, whether it’s Decimal’s obsession with Paul Smith or a view of a ruined Third Avenue near the Chrysler building . . . Larson’s imaginings . . . add some low-key speculative-fiction elements to the already charged dose of noir . . . It’s his frankness that makes his voice so compelling.”
Capital New York

“The most incredible thing about Nathan Larson’s The Nervous System is just how credible it is—a ravaged New York City, a postmodern warrior with a code, villains at once smaller and larger than life, the futile human obsession to create order out of chaos. And the prose is perfect, as tweaked and jumpy and memorable as the man known as Dewey Decimal. I’m a Library of Congress girl myself, but Larson’s uncannily original fiction deserves its own number within any system of library classification.”
Laura Lippman, author of What the Dead Know

“Sheer magic and delirious joy, this intellectual giddy riot is the book of the year. The Nervous System is a rock ‘n’ roll paranoid masterclass in invention, with writing so crafted, gifted, I long to quote every line. The mystery is taken to a whole new level of technospeak artistry, and wonderfully witty, like John Kennedy Toole if he’d written a mystery novel and did meth—a lot of it. The warmth of the character seeps through in Dewey Decimal’s love for a devastated New York and still the city sings. The New York Public Library should put up a plaque to the most original PI since Marlowe. OCD never seemed so compelling. Loved it—and then some. What a writer.”
Ken Bruen, author of The Guards

“I’m a sucker for a postapocalyptic setting, and Nathan Larson’s is a doozy; but the real gold here is the voice. I could listen to this guy all day. If you loved The Dewey Decimal System, you’ll love this one too. If you didn’t love The Dewey Decimal System, it’s because you didn’t read it. That’s okay, you can start here. Thank me later.”
S.J. Rozan, Edgar Award-winning author of Ghost Hero

“The second book in the Dewey Decimal series is even better than the first. Nathan Larson shows us a New York City both fantastical and eerily familiar, and a detective whose biggest mystery is himself—as it is for all of us. Although there’s plenty of action and gunplay, the Dewey Decimal books are more about identity, who we are, and where we live than crime. This is the best new detective series I’ve read in years. I love this book.”
—Sara Gran, author of Dope

The Nervous System is an armed-to-the-teeth, punch-in-the-guts, post-apocalyptic page turner. You’ll be afraid to put it down.”
Maggie Estep, author of Hex

Praise for The Dewey Decimal System:

“A nameless investigator dogs New York streets made even meaner by a series of near-future calamities. [Larson’s] dystopia is bound to win fans.”
Kirkus Reviews

The Dewey Decimal System is a winningly tight, concise and high-impact book, a violent, exhilarating odyssey that pitches its protagonist through a gratuitously detailed future New York.”
New York Press

The Dewey Decimal System is proof positive that the private detective will remain a serious and seriously enjoyable literary archetype.”

“Larson’s voice is note-perfect in this tour-de-force.”
Mystery Scene Magazine

“Like Motherless Brooklyn dosed with Charlie Huston, Nathan Larson’s delirious and haunting The Dewey Decimal System tips its hat, smartly, to everything from Philip K. Dick’s dystopias to Chester Himes’s grand guignol Harlem novels, while also managing to be utterly fresh, inventive, and affecting all on its own.”
—Megan Abbott, Edgar-winning author of The End of Everything

“The perfect blend of dystopia and the hard-boiled shamus. It’s great to know that there are still debut novels coming through the pipe that can knock me on my ass. With The Dewey Decimal System, Nathan Larson has announced his arrival with style and clarity.”
—Victor Gischler, author of The Pistol Poets

“This novel is a love song to New York’s streets and boroughs and people, even when they’re decimated, and Larson’s ‘postracial’ character, a mutt for all times, is someone I’d follow over and over again through whatever secret paths he finds in this world.”
—Susan Straight, author of A Million Nightingales


We still have a very limited number of the limited edition, signed hardcover copies of The Nervous System available for purchase while supplies last! To place an order, select the “limited hardcover edition” option in the add-to-cart drop-down menu above!

After a series of large-scale terrorist attacks, New York City is reduced to a shadow of its former self. As the city struggles to dig itself out of the wreckage, a nameless, obsessive-compulsive veteran with a spotty memory, a love for literature, and a strong if unique moral code, has taken up residence at the Main Branch of the New York Public Library. Dubbed “Dewey Decimal” for his desire to reorganize the library’s stock, he gets by as bagman and muscle for unscrupulous politicians and underworld figures—as detailed in the first book in this series, The Dewey Decimal System.

In The Nervous System, Decimal, attempting to clean up loose ends after the violent events of first book, stumbles upon information concerning the gruesome murder of a prostitute, and a prominent US senator’s involvement. Immediately he finds himself chasing ghosts and fighting for his life, pursued by Blackwater-style private military contractors and the ever-present specter of his own past. Decimal confronts a twilight world of Korean hostess bars, childhood bogeymen, and the face of the military-industrial complex gone haywire—all framed by a city descending toward total chaos.

View the book trailer for The Nervous System:

Book Details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Published: 7/17/12
  • IBSN: 9781617750793
  • e-IBSN: 9781617751196


NATHAN LARSON is an award-winning film composer, musician, producer, and the author of the novels The Dewey Decimal System, The Nervous System, and The Immune System, as well as the coeditor of Stockholm Noir. He has made music for many films, including Boys Don’t Cry, Margin Call, and the Swedish movies Stockholm Stories and Lilya 4-Ever. He and his wife, singer Nina Persson, divide their time between New York City and Sweden.

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