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The Uncomfortable Dead (What’s Missing is Missing)

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A stylized reissue of the acclaimed, surreal noir collaboration between Mexico’s greatest writer and its most courageous revolutionary.

$19.95 $14.96

Available as an e-book for:

What people are saying…

“Great writers by definition are outriders, raiders of a sort, sweeping down from wilderness territories to disturb the peace, overrun the status quo and throw into question everything we know to be true . . . On its face, the novel is a murder mystery, and at the book’s heart, always, is a deep love of Mexico and its people.”
Los Angeles Times

“Taibo’s expertise ensures a smart, funny book, and Marcos brings a wry sense of humor.”
Publishers Weekly

“Original, funny, biting, and sincere, The Uncomfortable Dead is Huckleberry Finn by Thomas Pynchon.”
Tim McLoughlin, editor of Brooklyn Noir

“This isn’t your ordinary left-wing noir satire co-written by Mexico’s most famous crime novelist and the world’s best-known revolutionary leader—it’s a singular event in world literature.”
Neal Pollack, author of Never Mind the Pollacks

“It doesn’t get much more delicious than this: the mythic, surreal Subcomandante Marcos and the wonderfully ironic Paco Taibo playing duet on a most unexpected story—a noir! But their collaboration is not just any noir—this one’s tender, funny, sly political, smart, and just plain fun!”
Achy Obejas, author of Ruins


In alternating chapters, Zapatista leader Subcomandante Marcos and the consistently excellent Paco Ignacio Taibo II create an uproarious murder mystery with two intersecting storylines. The chapters written by the famously masked Marcos originate in the mountains of Chiapas, Mexico. There, the fictional “Subcomandante Marcos” assigns Elias Contreras—an odd but charming mountain man—to travel to Mexico City in search of an elusive and hideous murderer named “Morales.” The second story line, penned by Taibo, stars his famous series detective Hector Belascoaran Shayne. Hector guzzles Coca-Cola and smokes cigarettes furiously amidst his philosophical and always charming approach to investigating crimes—in this case, the search for his own “Morales.”

The two stories collide absurdly and dramatically in the urban sprawl of Mexico City. The ugly history of the city’s political violence rears its head, and both detectives find themselves in an unpredictable dance of death with forces at once criminal, historical, and political. Readers expecting political heavy-handedness will be disarmed by the humility and playful self-mocking that runs throughout the book.

Also check out Mexico City Noir, edited by Paco Ignacio Taibo II.

Book Details

  • Paperback: 268 pages
  • Published: 2/1/10
  • IBSN: 9781933354897
  • e-IBSN: 9781936070756


SUBCOMANDANTE MARCOS is a spokesperson and strategist for the Zapatistas, an indigenous insurgency movement based in Mexico. He first joined the guerrilla group which was to become the Zapatistas in the early 1980s. Marcos is author of several books translated into English, including the award-winning children’s book Story of the Colors (Cinco Puntos) and Our Word Is Our Weapon (Seven Stories Press), and is the coauthor of The Uncomfortable Dead (What’s Missing is Missing).

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PACO IGNACIO TAIBO II was born in Gijon, Spain and has lived in Mexico since 1958. He is the author of numerous works of fiction and nonfiction, which have been published in many languages around the world, including a mystery series starring Mexican Private Investigator Hector Belascoaran Shayne. He is the coauthor of The Uncomfortable Dead (What’s Missing is Missing) and is the editor of Mexico City Noir. He is a professor of history at the Metropolitan University of Mexico City.

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