Friday, January 19, 2007

A Dangerous Man by Charlie Huston

It’s no secret I’m a big—hell, giant—fan of the work of Charlie Huston, especially his crime fiction. Does he write anything else? And I finally—finally!—read the final novel in his Hank Thompson trilogy, A Dangerous Man.

A Dangerous Man begins where Six Bad Things left off—Hank is working for the Russian mafia trying to pay off his debt. The four million dollars he stole is long gone, and his life has gone to shit. He doesn’t recognize the face in the mirror—literally—and the things he does to stay alive haunt him. The violence, the pain, and the death have caught up with Hank. He doesn’t have the energy, or the desire to keep going. He wants everything to end.

Charlie Huston is the future of crime fiction. His novels are well-plotted, adept and always edgy. They touch a nerve with solid, high impact prose, sharp dialogue and an overwhelming sense of place and time. They capture the culture with a snapshot of impotent, raw rage. The city streets are heartless, mean and cruel, yet Huston finds the soft, tender underbelly of the characters he writes. He makes them human. He makes you like them, all of them, from good to bad.

A Dangerous Man starts a little more slowly than the first two Thompson novels, but by page 50 it rockets out of the garage. The plot twists are unexpected and the writing, as always, is dark, literate and very entertaining. I loved this novel, and I can’t wait to see more crime novels from Charlie Huston. I’m just sad Hank Thompson won’t be in them.

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