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HBO orders pilot based on Charlie Huston novel

HBO has ordered a pilot from "True Blood" showrunner Alan Ball based on Charlie Huston's terrific novel "The Mystic Arts of Erasing All Signs of Death," about a slacker who joins a ragtag crime scene clean-up crew in Los Angeles.

While "Arts" is probably Huston's best written book, if you're new to the author I'd recommend his Hank Thompson trilogy -- starting with his debut book "Caught Stealing" (Huston's first-person style is like a darkly comic update on classic pulp novelist Jim Thompson). The stories are similar -- young underachievers caught up in a crime story full of plot twists, violence and moral dilemmas, though "Stealing" has a tighter narrative.