The Barnes & Noble Review
In Six Bad Things -- the blood-spattered sequel to Charlie Huston's highly acclaimed debut, Caught Stealing -- down-and-out New York City bartender turned mass murderer and unlikely folk hero Henry "Hank" Thompson has been laying low in the Yucatán for the last three years, with a cool $4.5 million of stolen Russian Mob money. But when a Russian bounty hunter comes calling at Hank's beachside shack, he knows it's time to run again -- this time back to Vegas, where his luck runs out.
With the Russian Mob and the Mexican police hot on his tail, Hank sends what's left of the multimillion-dollar stash to a friend for safekeeping. But once in the States, Hank realizes quickly that during the three years he has been hiding out in Mexico, he has become a kind of infamous celebrity in America. With a book written about his life on bestseller lists and a regular gig on America's Most Wanted, Henry Thompson registers on everyone's radar -- as does the hefty reward for catching him.
The second installment in a projected trilogy about Hank Thompson, Six Bad Things is, simply put, relentless. With more nonstop action than a Grand Theft Auto video game, ultra-violence around every corner, insane car chases, gory shootouts, an endless array of 14k characters (including antagonistic drug dealers, psycho surfers, and worn-out strippers), and an antihero who is equal parts Jimmy Buffett and John Dillinger, this novel is truly amazing -- easily one of the best crime thrillers of recent years. Paul Goat Allen
Six Bad Things is so good, in part, because Huston manages to make it horrific, hilarious and hip. If Huston's literary godfathers include Raymond Chandler and Elmore Leonard, they also include Hunter S. Thompson, who would have appreciated the speed freaks, crank heads, gun nuts, Russian mobsters, greedy federales, and assorted geeks and psychos who populate these pages … If you agree that the art of killing can encompass comedy as well as tragedy, Six Bad Things is state of the art. This crazed, wildly readable adventure works because Huston writes with such delicious, deadpan verve and because Hank, his self-described mad-dog killer, is such an appealing, totally cool dude.
The Washington Post
Huston writes dialogue so combustible it could fuel a bus and characters crazy enough to take it on the road. Passengers, line up here.
The New York Times
More than fulfilling the promise of Huston's 2004 debut, Caught Stealing, this remarkably assured hard-boiled caper has rapid-fire pacing, dead-on dialogue and a beleaguered protagonist who just can't get a break. Former minor league baseball player Hank Thompson barely escaped with his life at the end of Caught, making off with $4 million of the Russian mafia's money. Several years later, he's running a breakfast place in the Yucatan, down the shore from his secluded hut. When a Russian bounty hunter shows up asking questions, Hank Fed-Exes his bankroll to a friend in Las Vegas and sneaks north across the border. When not trying to kill him, two surf bum criminals convince him they're allies; as the book reaches its climax, Hank finds himself dodging a memorable cast of lowlifes, would-be mobsters and scammers. Huston takes care with Hank, making him funny and sympathetic (even as he reminds us that he has killed six people in New York), and giving even cardboard situations and slight exchanges charge. (One of the surfers on a pair of boots: "Kind of metallish for my taste, but fuck it, we're incognito, right?") This second installment of a planned trilogy will leave readers anxious for more. Agent, Simon Lipskar at Writers House. 5-city author tour. (July 1) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
You may have known someone like Hank Thompson in school: cordial, accommodating, talented, prone to erratic behavior, and already well on his way either to the state house or the big house. Hank's story resumes where Huston's well-received Caught Stealing ended. The subject of The Man Who Got Away, a tell-all biography that puts him at least a peg or two above the riffraff featured on Cops, Hank is now on the lam in Mexico. He's sitting uneasily on $4.5 million, with lit cigarettes in both ears (long story), feeling paranoid about everyone he meets. It's taking everything he can muster just to retain his precarious aplomb. Then things really start to sour-people around him tend to end up dead or wishing they were. Hank, a rather endearing slacker who just can't say no to trouble, will entertain fans of straight-ahead, no-holds-barred action. Suitable for most public libraries.-Bob Lunn, Kansas City P.L., MO Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Huston returns with a bang-banger even gorier than his debut (Caught Stealing, 2004). It's been three years since Hank Thompson, in said debut and accompanied by Bud the cat, hightailed it out of New York with a $4 million swag, ownership of which remains in dispute. Hank says the money belongs to him because he "killed for it," but the Russian Mafia argues a prior claim. At any rate, here's Hank sequestering in Mexico, leading the ex-pat life he favors due mostly to its lack of incident. He swims, he fishes, he hangs out at a bar he half-owns, and then one day a back-packer named Mickey shows up. Mickey the kid. Mickey the Russian kid. Mickey (aka Mikhail) the ambitious kid of a Mafia father. Hank has to hightail it again, this time leaving Bud behind. Mickey, too, actually-the first of many to pay a stiff price for rampaging greed, and for threatening harm to Hank's parents, whom he has always adored. Now he decides the only way to keep them safe is to make them unimportant again: that is, to give up the money, return it to the Russians. One problem: he's lost track of it. The trusted friend in whose custody he'd placed it has stopped returning phone calls. Leaving behind a blood-drenched trail-the Russians have been joined by an array of rapacious others-Hank wends his way to Las Vegas. Bullets fly, more people die-good people, too, some of them-and finally Hank faces the one-on-one that was always in the cards for him. And in an ironic twist learns what it's like to be valued for what he hates most about himself. A crime thriller so relentlessly violent that it could make even the hard-core hard-boiled amenable to the leavening touch of Agatha Christie. Still, a page-turner.
“Six Bad Things rocks and rolls from the first page. This is one mean, cold, slit-eyed mother of a book, and Charlie Huston is the real deal.”
“SIX BAD THINGS IS RELENTLESS. IT GRABS YOU BY THE THROAT, OR SLIGHTLY LOWER, AND NEVER LETS GO.”
–Jeff Lindsay, author of Darkly Dreaming Dexter
“Charlie Huston is a bad-ass writer, Six Bad Things is a bad-ass book. I loved it, absolutely loved it, as I did his first book. Can’t wait for whatever else comes from him.”
–James Frey, author of A Million Little Pieces
“Charlie Huston is a great wordsmith who also happens to be a great storyteller, and in Six Bad Things he’s produced a novel that is edgy, funny, and suspenseful all at once. It’s a terrific read.”
–David Liss, author of A Spectacle of Corruption
“A body slam of a thriller, crammed to the brim with speed-dial action, scene-chewing dialogue and a throat-clutcher of a plot. The characters are as real as a wanted poster–from Russian gangsters and Mexican feds to businessmen who make the Enron gang look like Britannica salesmen. A smooth blend of the best of Elmore Leonard, George V. Higgins, and Robert B. Parker, Six Bad Things is one great book.”
–Lorenzo Carcaterra, author of Sleepers and Paradise City
“Bloody amazing. He reminds me of all my favorite writers–Pete Dexter, Robert Stone, Crumley. Surprising, funny, compassionate, edge-of-seat stuff, and beautifully written. If there is such a thing as compassionate noir, Charlie has found it. A true marvel.”
–Ken Bruen, author of The Guards