"James Fuerst is brilliant in the way he immerses the reader both in Huge’s mixed-up head and the world in which he lives. His take on the class warfare and teenage sexual politics of a small New Jersey town is at once hilarious and poignant...[a] wonderfully written debut.”
—Bookpage, Arlene McKanic
"Eugene—“call me 'Huge,' not 'Genie'”—Smalls is the hardboiled narrator of this funny, delightfully quirky novel. Fuerst's style is priceless, and he hits all the noir notes perfectly."
“A coming-of-age tour de force…Huge will occupy a, yes, huge place in readers’ affections and memories.”
—Booklist (starred review)
“Credible and engaging, [with] a hero who assumes the most eye-catching characteristics of Holden Caulfield, Phillip Marlowe and Nick Twisp…Fuerst pulls off the same trick as the 2005 film Brick in making his protagonist’s suburban surroundings and mundane foes seem as hard-boiled and corrupt as those in the Chandler novels Huge treasures.”
“A picaresque romp around suburban New Jersey…full of nostalgia, humor, candor and emotions that all readers can relate to.”
“An utterly original creation…Huge Smalls is my new favorite fictional character.”
—Alicia Erian, author of the New York Times Notable Book Towelhead
“A rocket ship of adolescence. I loved little Huge.”
—Ron McLarty, author of the New York Times bestseller Memory of Running
"An evocative black comedy…Huge effortlessly lures you into his hardboiled imagination and completely dysfunctional life."
—Keith Donohue, author of the New York Times bestseller The Stolen Child
"Funny, rude, and tender all at once, Huge is terrific. Hard-boiled and half-baked, Eugene is a bristling undersized hero for all of us who have felt the furious, desperate need to make life matter, or get splattered trying.”
—Sean Stewart, author of Perfect Circle
In his mind's eye, precocious 12-year-old Eugene "Huge" Smalls, the narrator of Fuerst's quirky debut, is the lineal descendant of Philip Marlowe, Sam Spade and other pulp detectives he admires. When the nursing home where his beloved grandmother stays is vandalized, Huge sees a chance to follow in their footsteps by solving the crime. What follows is a picaresque romp around suburban New Jersey as Huge misreads clues, misinterprets motives and mistakes mundane incidents for diabolical schemes as only an inexperienced adolescent with a restless imagination can. Largely plotless, this coming-of-age story is full of awkward digressions. Still, Fuerst demonstrates a sensitive ear for contemporary teen talk, delicacy at handling the amusingly contentious relationship between Huge and his older sister and mom, and skill at conveying a child's-eye view of the world that is full of nostalgia, humor, candor and emotions that all readers can relate to. (July)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Fuerst's first novel is a bit of a coming-of-age tour de force that borrows some of the tone and attitude of hard-boiled detective fiction while giving its first-person narrator an irresistibly noirish, wise-guy voice, which means that this kid has got some mouth on him . . . Huge will occupy a, yes, huge place in readers' affections and memories. starred review
Adult/High School–Eugene “Huge” Smalls is a short, smart, blond going-on-13 outcast with anger-management issues, a stuffed-frog alter ego, a homemade tricked-out ride called the Cruiser, and a Philip Marlowe attitude. What Huge lacks in stature is made up for by his intense emotional reactions and overactive imagination. He lives in a boring small town in 1980s New Jersey where his father has abandoned him, his waitress mother, and his hot older sister to fend for themselves. While on a visit with his dearly beloved and somewhat senile grandmother at a retirement home, she hires him to solve his first real detective case. As he gathers clues, he tells about his past transgressions and feelings, a lost friendship, and various crushes and clashes including those involving retirement-home workers, his sister’s friends, and a special girl his own age. Huge’s coming-of-age musings seem mature for a sixth grader, yet these contemplations and Fuerst’s portrayals of teenage relationships and experiences will resonate with older readers. Using humor and a narrative similar to Raymond Chandler’s hardboiled detective novels of the 1940s, Fuerst entertains and draws readers into all the mysteries Huge tries to solve on his own, including those involving self-control, fantasy, friendship, and maturity.–Melanie Parsons, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
An uncompromising 12-year-old gumshoe takes on the case of his short life. The hero of this debut novel is a boy detective, "Huge," who has as much in common with Encyclopedia Brown or the Hardy Boys as Al Swearengen has with The Lone Ranger. A foul-mouthed, scrappy sixth grader with a skyrocketing IQ, Eugene Smalls might be a runt in the eyes of his peers but, in his mind, he's bigger than life-hence the name-and determined to live up to the example set by Raymond Chandler's famous description of what a detective must be in The Simple Art of Murder ("down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid"). "Sure, I realized I didn't exactly fit the bill, because most around here would tell you that I was meaner than a short-order cook and more tarnished than all the girls in Catholic school," says Huge. "So I had two strikes against me from the jump. But I had one thing in my favor: I wasn't afraid of a goddamn thing." Armed with a hero who assumes the most eye-catching characteristics of Holden Caulfield, Phillip Marlowe and Nick Twisp, Fuerst crafts a readable alternative noir set in the early 1980s. Huge takes on the only case he can land, solving the mystery of who tagged his grandmother's nursing home for the princely sum of $10. To his credit, Fuerst pulls off the same trick as the 2005 film Brick in making his protagonist's suburban surroundings and mundane foes seem as hard-boiled and corrupt as those in the Chandler novels Huge treasures. With period detail intact-Huge's sources hang out in the arcade, while the private eye rides a bike with a banana seat-Fuerst still manages to integrate into the mix seedy bureaucrats,treacherous friends and even a couple femme fatales. Bonus points for capturing the pathos of adolescence without talking down to the audience. There are few challenges greater than voicing a smart, tough kid. Fans of teen fiction or hard-boiled detectives will find this one credible and engaging. Agent: Markus Hoffmann/Regal Literary