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Six Bad Things [Audio Cassette]

Charlie Huston , Christian Conn
4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

July 2005
Hank Thompson is living off the map in Mexico with a bagful of cash that the Russian mafia wants back and many, many secrets. So when a Russian backpacker shows up in town asking questions, Hank tries to play it cool. But he knows the jig is up when the backpacker mentions the money . . . and the family Hank left behind. Suddenly Hank’s in a desperate race to get to his parents in California before anyone can harm them. Along the way he’ll face Federales and Border Patrol, mafiosi and vigilantes, extortionists and drug dealers, and a couple of psychotic surf bums with an ax to grind. From the golden beaches of the Yucatán to the seedy strip clubs of Vegas, Charlie Huston opens a door to the squalid underworld of crime and corruption–and invites the reader to live it in the extreme.
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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From Publishers Weekly

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.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* After 2004's exhilarating Caught Stealing--in which a regular schmo emerges from a bloody war between bad NYPD cops and Russian mobsters with $4.5 million in stolen cash, all because he agreed to watch a shady neighbor's cat--it's understandable that Hank Thompson just wants to fade away. Cat still in tow, Hank has built a beach hut in Mexico and finally stopped boozing. But his contact in the States warns him the heat's back on, and a young Russian backpacker shows up full of questions. Hank's ready to buy some peace, until threats against his family force him to make a desperate dash for California. There, he plunges into a kaleidoscope of violence spun by Mexican smugglers, Russian toughs, corporate thugs, Vegas drug dealers, and cops of every stripe. Even the guy who sells Hank a used car recognizes him from TV and tries to mete out some lucrative vigilante justice. Imagine The Blues Brothers as directed by Sam Peckinpah. But Hank demonstrates an almost-supernatural knack for survival, and one can't help but root for him even as he brings mayhem into the lives of family and friends. In this second entry of a promised trilogy, Huston also engineers one of the most dramatic protagonist personality changes ever seen in series crime fiction. Is he sure he wants to drop Hank after only three chapters? Frank Sennett
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Most helpful customer reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A man's book all the way! March 30 2006
By Curtis
Format:Paperback
This book caught my eye because it starts out in the Yucatan, one of my favorite places in the world! But what kept me reading was the Bang bang action and gritty edge the writer has. This book is not for the faint of heart! The action is non-stop and the twist and turns keep you guessing. You might think you know what is going to happen next, but you don't! I also recommend you check out 'A Tourist in the Yucatan' another gritty thriller that does not pull punches!
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most memorable debuts of the year May 11 2004
By Larry
Format:Hardcover
A very powerful narrative voice is what drives this debut novel which just so happens to be one of the best of the year so far. The author, Charlie Huston, is also a screenwriter and as expected the dialogue is dead on.
Hank Thompson is a bartender on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. His life has been a bit of a disappointment in that he was slated to become a major league baseball player until he broke his leg. His humdrum existence comes to an abrupt end when Russ, a neighbor, leaves his cat with him while he visits his sick father for a few days or a few weeks. That night Hank gets so severely beaten up in a bar by two thugs that he requires surgery to remove a damaged kidney. This is just the beginning as Hank is chased, beaten, tortured for an unknown reason. As friends start to die, Hank realizes he must get to the bottom of the problem as his life depends on it.
Hank is a complex character. He is tormented by an accident in the past and, in a sense, continues to punish himself with guilt. He is a sympathetic figure to the reader in that it seems everybody else in the book is evil. Rooting for this underdog drives the rapid pacing as the thrills continue one after the other. It is difficult to put the book down until the highly satisfying conclusion. With the superb characterizations, realistic dialogue and riveting story line, CAUGHT STEALING is one of the most memorable debuts this year.
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4.0 out of 5 stars perfect beach read for this summer! May 3 2004
Format:Hardcover
What a fun, rolicking read.
Although not literary in scope nor nature this is a perfect read for the beach and tough to put down.
There's no mistaking that Charles Huston has screenwriter on his resume. This book reads like the script of the newest Tarantino flick:
* violence- yep- lots of it but it is not gratuitous
* great characters- yep- including a cat-loving protagonist
* plot twists- yep- and most of them even make sense
* fun dialogue- makes you want to be as cool as these characters
Pick this book up and enjoy. It's the perfect summer light read!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Take flight with a great summer read June 6 2004
By A Customer
Format:Hardcover
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. It's perfect for the cross atlantic or cross country business trip, the summer vacation poolside read, or the daily commute on the train. The only part you'll have a hard time with is putting it down when you get to your station. That said, it will give you something to look forward to at the end of your day and the return commute. If you have a problem with the Tarantino movies, this book's probably not for you. But if you like action thrillers with a truly unique voice, you'll really enjoy this book.
roman
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  211 reviews
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Bedtime Story for Sam Peckinpah and Quintin Tarantino Oct. 6 2005
By Gary Griffiths - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Hank Thompson, a once California high school baseball star destined for the "bigs", is permanently sidelined in a stolen base gone bad, and now, some ten years later, is tending bar in New York City. Part time alcoholic and full time slacker - albeit a lovable slacker - Hank does a neighbor a small favor and as a result finds his previously ordinary life spinning wildly out of control through a .44 Magnum-sized case of mistaken identity. Hank, whose biggest previous concern was a remedy for sore feet and the fate of his San Francisco Giants, is now the target of a motley crew of Russian gangsters, assorted New York freaks, and dirty cops.

Give first-time author Charlie Huston lots of credit: his irreverent, hip, and uncensored delivery assaults the reader relentlessly and without apology. A poor man's Cormac McCarthy, Huston dispatches the goods with none of the poetry but all of the impact; a visceral personal tour of one man's worst nightmare. Huston's gradual transformation of Hank from the basically docile ordinary guy to a stone cold killer is jolting, and guaranteed to trash any plans for the weekend you may have had. And despite his found talent for violence, you'll find yourself still rooting for Hank who, as the mayhem surrounding him mounts, his most pressing issue remains the outcome of baseball's regular season.

Brutal, blunt, and gritty, Huston's "Caught Stealing" satisfies the deepest addictions of the pop thriller junkie. The first in a trilogy, "Stealing" was followed by the equally outrageous "Six Bad Things", and is scheduled to conclude with "A Dangerous Man" next year. If you're anything like me, you'll be anxiously waiting for Huston to wrap up Hank's crazed odyssey of blood lust and baseball.
18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A winner! Aug. 3 2005
By Armchair Interviews - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I love it when I find an author that thrills and excites me when I read their work. You know the one-your pulse quickens when you turn to page one and maintains until you finish the story. I hate it when I have to wait for the next installment of scintillating adventures. Charlie Huston is someone I've discovered, and I can't wait to read more and will follow his career with my hard-earned cash. Six Bad Things is the second book of a trilogy.

Former minor league baseball player Hank Thompson has a problem. He figured he'd be safe living the good life in Mexico with the $4 million he stole from the Russian Mafia just before leaving New York. Wrong! Now three years later a chatty Russian backpacker (who is actually a bounty hunter) is asking dangerous questions and Hank figures he'd best head back north. The lives of his family might well depend on it. On the way to taking care of business Hank will face a passel of bad guys who want to interrupt his trip. Nothing is easy for Hank.

I haven't read Caught Stealing yet, but you'd better believe I'll have it in my hands shortly. Then I'm going to settle in for what is probably going to be an entertaining ride, if it's anything like Six Bad Things.

If you like your suspense hard-boiled and don't mind violence, run, don't walk, to the bookstore. This book is fast-paced, exciting, believable and occasionally funny. Huston is a grand storyteller; you'll slip into the plot and buy into the "if this happened to me-well, that's just what I would do" mentality.
17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the most memorable debuts of the year May 11 2004
By Larry - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
A very powerful narrative voice is what drives this debut novel which just so happens to be one of the best of the year so far. The author, Charlie Huston, is also a screenwriter and as expected the dialogue is dead on.
Hank Thompson is a bartender on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. His life has been a bit of a disappointment in that he was slated to become a major league baseball player until he broke his leg. His humdrum existence comes to an abrupt end when Russ, a neighbor, leaves his cat with him while he visits his sick father for a few days or a few weeks. That night Hank gets so severely beaten up in a bar by two thugs that he requires surgery to remove a damaged kidney. This is just the beginning as Hank is chased, beaten, tortured for an unknown reason. As friends start to die, Hank realizes he must get to the bottom of the problem as his life depends on it.
Hank is a complex character. He is tormented by an accident in the past and, in a sense, continues to punish himself with guilt. He is a sympathetic figure to the reader in that it seems everybody else in the book is evil. Rooting for this underdog drives the rapid pacing as the thrills continue one after the other. It is difficult to put the book down until the highly satisfying conclusion. With the superb characterizations, realistic dialogue and riveting story line, CAUGHT STEALING is one of the most memorable debuts this year.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another Thriller March 13 2006
By Rick Mitchell - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
This is the sequel to Huston's "Caught Stealing". "Caught Stealing" was a terrific thriller that kept a frenetic pace throughout and had terrific twists and turns in the plot.

"Six Bad Things" keeps the same frenetic pace. There were fewer twists and turns in the plot than its predecessor, although there were still many.

In both these books, the reader has to suspend reality for a bit - they both have the classic amateur beats the pros scenario. Even so, Huston keeps the book going at a fast clip and just believable enough so the reader does not get exasperated. His main character, Hank, who is always one half step ahead of the bad guys - except for the times when they catch up to him (!) - is a good and sympathetic character even as he begins his descent into violence. Huston's bad guys are all very good. The reader gets up close looks at all of them, and all have depth and character.

The best part of Huston's plot style are the many times Hank is put into Hobson Choice situations with one alternative worse than the other...or the third or the fourth.

The worst part of "Six Bad Things" is that I do not think it would be as nearly as good if the reader has not read "Caught Stealing". It may be able to stand alone, but knowing what went on in "Caught Stealing" and how Hank became who he is certainly improves this book. It is why this review is almost a review of both (I'd give "Caught Stealing" 5 stars for the more complex plot).

I would recommend this book alone, but highly recommend it for those who have already read "Caught Stealing". This is the second in a trilogy. I look forward to the third.
8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, but not for all audiences Jan. 3 2009
By David Peterson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I loved this book. It reads like a good movie, but better. It seems like some books read like movie scripts, but they're flat. This book has the pacing of a good movie, but with an interesting voice and depth that makes a great book.

Apparently this is Charlie Huston's first novel. This amazes me. Usually I read the first novel by an author and walk away thinking - "it's a good first effort." I didn't think that with this book. It's a good book - period. No asterisk needed.

One word of warning since it seems like most of the negative reviews are based on people being offended by the content. This book contains drug use, language, and violence. If this offends you, this isn't the book for you. This is not a G rated, appropriate for age's story.
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