Maddy's Reviews > Six Bad Things

Six Bad Things by Charlie Huston
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's review
Apr 28, 2010

really liked it
bookshelves: 2005-reads
Read in October, 2005

RATING: 4.25

Hank Thompson has a series of six hash marks tattooed on his arm, one for each of the bad things that he has done. Well, he's done a lot more bad things than that, but in this case, bad things means "people murdered". And by the end of this book, he's going to need to see the tattooist again.

As a result of a wild and complicated killing spree in New York, Hank had an urgent need to leave town. He's been living in an isolated spot in Mexico, tending his adopted cat, Bud. With some of the 4.5 million dollars that he obtained in that earlier adventure, he's bought into a beach bar and spends most of his days swimming, eating well and living a quiet life. But we all know that he's not going to spend his days whiling away on the beach. It's just a matter of time before: the Russian mob, the Mexican Federales, New York gangsters, hero wannabes, drug dealers and/or other shady characters zero in on Hank and try to relieve him of that huge pile of money.

It begins with a Russian, which ultimately results in the need for another hash mark and Hank is of necessity forced to leave his paradise. He sends the money to a friend in Vegas and heads toward his parents' place in California. His entourage continues to grow; he makes it to Vegas, but his friend is no longer there. Whenever Hank is around, it's pretty safe to assume that mayhem will ensue, and it does. More hash marks.

The first book in this series, CAUGHT STEALING, sets up the character of Hank and how he got himself into these life-shattering predicaments. In an almost comic way, Hank turns into a stone cold killer. SIX BAD THINGS is outrageous and noir and extreme—and it's a book that I found amazing, and actually enjoyed much more the first. Fortunately for me, the series was conceived as a trilogy, and the ending of this book indicates a very interesting future for Hank.

SIX BAD THINGS is a book that is decidedly unique, with characters who leap off the page and force you to read the next page and the next and the next…there's blood and there's guts, but there's also pathos and humanity. The one thing that you can count on is that you can't really count on knowing what Hank is going to do next. It could be something touching and sweet, or it could be something gruesome and horrible. In either case, I'm going along for the ride.

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