“[A] fantastically hopped-up thriller . . . a wrong-man plot worthy of Hitchcock.”—Entertainment Weekly (Editor’s Choice)
It’s three thousand miles from the green fields of glory, where Henry “call me Hank” Thompson once played California baseball, to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, where the tenements are old, the rents are high, and the drunks are dirty. But now Hank is here, working as a bartender and taking care of a cat named Bud who is surely going to get him killed.
It begins when Hank’s neighbor, Russ, has to leave town in a rush and hands over Bud in a carrier. But it isn’t until two Russians in tracksuits drag Hank over the bar at the joint where he works and beat him to a pulp that he starts to get the idea: Someone wants something from him. He just doesn’t know what it is, where it is, or how to make them understand he doesn’t have it.
Within twenty-four hours Hank is running over rooftops, swinging his old aluminum bat for the sweet spot of a guy’s head, playing hide and seek with the NYPD, riding the subway with a dead man at his side, and counting a whole lot of cash on a concrete floor.
All because of two cowboys, two Russian mafia men, and some of the weirdest goons ever assembled in one place. All because of Bud. All because once, in another life, in another world, the only thing Hank wanted was to take third base—without getting caught.
There's no end to Hank Thompson's troubles. Once a star high school baseball player, he's now reduced to tending bar at a neighborhood dive on Manhattan's Lower East Side. During his long life-skid, Thompson has picked up a drinking problem, a pair of bad feet, lots of debt and little ambition. But for Thompson, hero of Huston's dark, hard-driving debut, the worst is still ahead. It begins when Thompson agrees to cat-sit for his neighbor, a dubious character named Russ. Within a few days, Thompson is ambushed by a pair of Russian thugs who beat him so badly he has to have a kidney removed. While he's recovering, he discovers a key tucked under the liner of the cat's carry box. This turns out to be a crucial bit of information, as he realizes when the Russians return, led this time by a dirty police detective, and demand to know what Russ left with Thompson besides his cat. When they're spooked by a fire alarm, Thompson escapes long enough to get his hands on the stash everyone's after: $4.5 million in cash. But of course, his troubles aren't over. Bodies pile up at a dizzying rate but the mayhem is riveting, despite a few credibility gaps. Huston shows a masterful command of first-person narration, deftly chronicling Thompson's gradual slide from victim to avenger ("I'm tellin' you, Hank, watchin' you, it's like watchin' a egg get all hard-boiled. No shit"). The story moves with the speed of the best chase novels, and Thompson possesses a self-deprecating spirit that will keep readers rooting for him even as he edges closer to the point of no return.
Customer ReviewsSee All
I've read all three books in this series and they are great. If you like crime books,mafia,and loads of violence this is for you. Hoping they get a movie made.