I started out
my Charlie Huston reading with 'Already
Dead' and 'No
Dominion' two utterly
hilarious over-the-top vampire noirs that I found really enjoyable. Few
writers are as facile with the word fuck as Charlie Huston, plus he tells
a decent story in between the eye-biting and gruesome quadruple homicides.
But those were novels with a bit of the supernatural and a bit of science
fiction mixed in amidst all the mayhem. I wasn't certain if I'd like
the Hank Thompson books as much. What is there weren't as funny or as
'Caught Stealing' put an end to those doubts. No, 'Caught Stealing' took
a baseball bat and bludgeoned those doubts into a bloody pulp, then scuffed
the resulting mess about with a pair of tennis shoes. Should you be in
need of some cat-hitting, staple-pulling entertainment then Charlie Huston
is your man and 'Caught Stealing' is your book. In fact, absent the blood
drinking and problems with sunlight, there's not a lot of sunlight between
the two series whatsoever. Huston knows what works for him and his readers
and he serves it up in giggle-inducing spurts of ultra-violence, liberally
spiced with inventive invective.
Huston's style is pretty much the start point and stop point for any
of his books. Dashed off dialogue that is pretty damn funny sets off
hyper-violent scenes of torture and hand-to-hand combat. Often, our hero
has the chance
to wonder "What the fuck?!?!" before he sets off to be harmed
or do harm.
I didn't have any problem following the shaggy-dog tale plot. You know
you've heard it before. Nice guy gets inadvertently gets something that
bad guys want. In the process of attempting to get it, they turn the
nice guy into somebody worse than they are. You can practically write
the history of the world with that one. If you choose to do so, could
you make this one of the periods of history when we are wandering around
asking "What the fuck?" Thanks in advance.
Meanwhile, those of us who came to Huston for his vampires are very likely
going to be willing to stay with Huston for his Hank Thompson books.
Huston himself told me, and I'd agree, that Joe Pitt is more of a classic
noir PI. You know, aside from the whole vampire thing. In some ways,
Joe is actually more decent than Hank, though such contemplations are
probably out of place in a fictional world that features cat torture.
For anyone tempted to think that Hank Thompson books will be wimpier
because well, Hank is human and he can't take the same kind of beating
a vampire can take, there's a baseball bat out there somewhere
with your name on it. Try to stay out of its way. And for all you sick
bastids who have read the Joe Pitt books and still find this violence
funny? Well, there's more where that came from. I hope to fuck you’re