Commentary Commentary RSS Reviews Podcasts_Audio Podcasts RSS Blog Links Archives Indexes

Charlie Huston
Caught Stealing
Reviewed by: Rick Kleffel © 2007

Ballantine Books / Random House
US First Edition Hardcover
ISBN 0-345-46477-X
240 Pages; $21.95
Publication Date: 04-27-2004
Date Reviewed: 02-20-0

Index: Mystery  General Fiction

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 violent?

'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 happy.

Review Archive
All Reviews alphabetized by author.

General Fiction
Non-Genre, general fiction and literature.

Supernatural fiction, supernatural horror and non-supernatural horror.

Science Fiction
Science fiction, science fantasy, speculative fiction, alternate history.

Fantasy, surrealism and magic realism.

Crime, thrillers, mystery, suspense.

Non-Fiction, True Crime, Forteana, Reference.


Archives Indexes How to use the Agony Column Contact Us About Us