(This review originally appeared at www.outsiderwriters.org)For too long I avoided this book. Many people whose opinions I respect recommend it, but no matter the pressure, I politely passed. I can assume many reasons for that: perhaps the author’s online persona (which, after reading this book, I realize is actually an incredibly smart marketing move); perhaps the author’s local status (he’s here in Kansas City, so I feared not liking the book and having to meet him one day); perhaps it was the book cover (sexy, pouty lips scream mass market trash, to me). But, after drinks with Tietz a few weeks ago, he passed me copy, so I broke down and cracked the spine a few days ago. Today, I finished. Impressed. Honestly, sad that it took me so long to give in.Out of Touch, Tietz’s first novel, is unequal parts early Chuck Palahniuk—in tone, style, and theme—and American Psycho, with the Palahniuk influence far outweighing the Ellis. Trade the corporate disenfranchisement of Fight Club’s unnamed narrator with the vainglorious obsession of American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman, and you get Out of Touch’s Aidin [last name redacted:].Aidin, a twenty-something socialite, slowly succumbs to what he calls “the numb,” a feeling of physical and mental imperviousness. And while the state seems fun at first, allowing parlor tricks involving sewing needles to lead to many bedded women, the high quickly becomes deterioration. Out of Touch reads like a journal of sensation loss, which would imply empathy for the character’s descent given another author’s hand. But Tietz dodges that mode and instead focuses on style, style, style. And I love him for it.As I closed the book this evening, I was left wondering just how amazed I’d have been had I not been so familiar with Chuck Palahniuk’s earlier work. However, though Out of Touch is derivative, it is still beautifully rendered and perfectly slick.And the ending, surprising to say the least. I want a sequel. Get on it, Tietz.