Sunday, March 2, 2014

Six Bad Things (Hank Thompson, #2) Six Bad Things (Hank Thompson, #2) by Charlie Huston
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

“I’m sitting on the porch of a bungalow on the Yucatan Peninsula with lit cigarettes sticking out of both my ears.” This is the first sentence of Charlie Huston’s novel “Six Bad Things”. A fantastic first sentence and a very good book.

Some very bad people are pursuing Hank Thompson as he has over four million reasons for the pursuit. Hank is trying to give the money back to save the lives of his parents. But he has a problem - almost everybody whom he meets ends up dead, maimed or wounded. A bloody trail of murder and mayhem follows him through Mexico, San Diego, and Las Vegas.

Mr. Huston makes a completely implausible plot work beautifully. It is so refreshing! And so unlike several thrillers I have recently read, for example “Last Drop” by Zoe Sharp, “The Last 10 Seconds” by Simon Kernick or “Phantom” by Jo Nesbo. The authors of these thrillers attempt to sell their plots as realistic and instead make them look ridiculous.

What distinguishes “Six Bad Things” is great writing. Mr. Huston is a bad-ass writer, with a great feel for dialogue. Note that in real life few people talk in complete sentences, particularly when they are on speed. Mr. Huston captures the speech patterns skillfully. Here’s a fragment of Sid’s memorable monologue: “I mean, it’s like. I meant what I said before, about being a fan. And. More than that? A, like, a admirer?”

Mr. Huston’s writing is so rewarding that I was re-reading many passages several times. The slaughter scene in Sandy’s place is a classic.

Now the bummer: I did not know this is the second book in a trilogy. The decision whether to read the first book first or rather the third is hard. I may re-review when done with all three.

Four and a half stars.

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