SIX BAD THINGS, the second book in the Hank Thompson trilogy echoes Elmore Leonard’s dialogue with Charlie Huston’s trademark dark humour, action packed violence and comedic-like killer routine. Following on from the events of CAUGHT STEALING, Hank finds himself living a life of leisure on an off-the-grid beach haven surrounded by colourful characters who know just enough to buy his cover as a wealthy American taking time out from his high pressure, fast living lifestyle. Before long, the Russian Mafia learns of his whereabouts and Hank is once again transformed from average Joe to accidental murderer.
Much like CAUGHT STEALING, SIX BAD THINGS has a lot of descriptive violence. The scenes Huston depicts aren’t designed for the squeamish, after all it’s called noir for a reason – this stuff is supposed to be bleak and dangerous. Somehow Hank managers to escape the clutches of the Russian Mafia, police, crazed Mexicans, and strung out strippers as he attempts to track down his 4 million dollar bounty held safe by a friend in New York recently located to Vegas while promising pay offs to keep his mother and father free from harm.
SIX BAD THINGS is pretty action heavy. Hank is put through the grinder more times than I care to count. However, his resilience and survival instinct are commodities which bleed nicely into A DANGEROUS MAN, the last book in the trilogy while also opening up some new job prospects along the way. Huston manages to make Hank endearing and dangerous at the same time. Despite often harming people in very graphic and seemingly painful ways, you cant help but feel him. Continuing on from the ‘wrong man’ theme of CAUGHT STEALING, Huston maintains a semblance and Hanks former self while further developing him into the character he’s ultimately destined to be in A DANGEROUS MAN.
I liked SIX BAD THINGS much better the second time. Having read it initially in June 2008 and giving it 3.5 stars, the second read was easily 5 stars. The back of the book compares Huston to Crumley and co. SIX BAD THINGS is the reason why.
My review of CAUGHT STEALING can be found here: