"Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested." (Francis Bacon)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Caught Stealing

Title: Caught Stealing
Author: Charlie Huston

I go this at the NY Comicon in February, a giveaway, and it's autographed. But I didn't let that influence me. I really did enjoy it and will probably get the sequel, Six Bad Things. Hank is an average guy, a bartender who does a favor for a neighbor and suddenly finds himself on everyone's most wanted list. It seemed innocent enough; just watch Russ's cat for a few days. But the cat's got a key that a dirty cop and his dirtier friends the Russian mob wants. Then there are Russ's "former business associates" who also want it, or more specifically, what Russ decided to keep for himself, and Hank's the one everyone converges on in a classic case of wrong place, wrong time.

A beating lands Hank in the hospital and costs him a kidney. When he gets out, things take a turn for the worse and he's barely keeping ahead of the people who are trying to get what they think he has, then kill him, and meanwhile, innocent people are getting killed simply because they know Hank.

This is noir at its funniest, because Hank's narration is what kept me reading. He's a likeable character even if not all of his choices are wise ones and Huston's style kept moving the story forward even though there isn't much plot to it. I don't think it's for everyone, but if a gritty narrative with underlying humor is your thing, this book might just be for you.