Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Review of Six Bad Things by Charlie Huston (Ballantine Books, 2005)
Six Bad Things is the second in the Hank Thompson trilogy, though it can be read as a standalone (though I’d recommend reading the excellent Caught Stealing first). It starts relatively sedately with a wonderful scene about how Hank has become addicted to cigarettes, gains a little pace and then opens out full throttle. Huston excels at writing fast paced action sequences and riffing dialogue (the conversations between Hank and Sally are exceptionally good), and he strings these together into an endless succession of scrapes, highs and lows, and twists and turns. Hank is an engaging lead character, teetering on an anti-hero tightrope between goody and baddy, and the other characters are well penned, providing interesting foils. Whilst the story is an enjoyable romp, it’s not quite as engaging as Caught Stealing, a couple of bits seemed a little over-contrived, and the end was a wee bit flat, working more to set up the third instalment rather than closing this one off. Nevertheless, it is superior stuff, and anyone who enjoys fast-action noir with wise-cracking dialogue, will gallop through it wearing a wry smile. Bring on A Dangerous Man, the final instalment in the series.