2008: #19 – Caught Stealing (Charlie Huston)

13701662.JPGBook #19 was Caught Stealing, the first book in Charlie Huston’s Hank Thompson series. The back of the book reads:

It’s three thousand miles from the green fields of glory, where Henry “call me Hank” Thompson once played California baseball, to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where the tenements are old, the rents are high, and the drunks are dirty. But now Hank is here, working as a bartender and taking care of a cat named Bud who is surely going to get him killed.

It begins when Hank’s neighbor, Russ, has to leave town in a rush and hands over Bud in a carrier. But it isn’t until two Russians in tracksuits drag Hank over the bar at the joint where he works and beat him to a pulp that he starts to get the idea: Someone wants something from him. He just doesn’t know what it is, where it is, or how to make them understand he doesn’t have it.

Within twenty-four hours Hank is running over rooftops, swinging his old aluminum bat for the sweet spot of a guy’s head, playing hide and seek with the NYPD, riding the subway with a dead man at his side, and counting a whole lot of cash on a concrete floor.

All because of two cowboys, two Russian mafia men, and some of the weirdest goons ever assembled in one place. All because of Bud. All because once, in another life, in another world, the only thing Hank wanted was to take third base—without getting caught.

This is Charlie Huston’s debut novel, and I picked it up after seeing Mr. Cactus rave about Huston. I have sort of mixed feelings about this. It got better as it went along, and by the end I was quite engrossed, but I almost didn’t make it past the first 50 pages. What happens to Bud just made me nauseous. I can read about people being killed and/or tortured all the livelong day, but hurt the kitty cat and I’m debating whether to finish a book. Go figure.

Page count: 240 | Word count: 82,878

2007: Die Trying (Lee Child)
2006: Skinny Dip (Carl Hiaasen)
2005: The Haunting of Hill House (Shirley Jackson)

3 thoughts on “2008: #19 – Caught Stealing (Charlie Huston)

  • February 27, 2008 at 8:02 am
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    Thanks for posting on my blog! I’ve been so busy that I haven’t had time to visit. I’ve added you to the “Regulars” spot so I can easily click on.

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  • February 27, 2008 at 8:10 am
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    I love Charlie Huston and this trilogy is sincerely one of my favorite series of books. It’s a brutal book and when I tell people to read it, I always feel the need to say “I promise the cat will be okay.” I had a particularly hard time with that part too. The next book – Six Bad Things – is good but maybe not quite as strong. The final installment – Dangerous Man – is brilliant.

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  • July 9, 2008 at 7:41 am
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    This series is a TOUGH one, but for some odd reason I loved it. I can’t read too many like this though. I tried another book by him (breezed through it at the library) and was repulsed, so I think he got too freaky/vulgar – just too yuck for me.

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