Synopses & Reviews
The first stand-alone thriller by critically acclaimed author Charlie Huston, The Shotgun Rule
is a raw tale of four teenage friends who go looking for a little trouble and find it.
Blood spilled on the asphalt of this town long years gone has left a stain, and it's spreading.
Not that a thing like that matters to teenagers like George, Hector, Paul, and Andy. It's summer 1983 in a northern California suburb, and these working-class kids have been killing time the usual ways: ducking their parents, tinkering with their bikes, and racing around town getting high and boosting their neighbors' meds. Just another typical summer break in the burbs. Till Andy's bike is stolen by the town's legendary petty hoods, the Arroyo brothers. When the boys break into the Arroyos' place in search of the bike, they stumble across the brothers' private industry: a crank lab. Being the kind of kids who rarely know better, they do what comes naturally: they take a stash of crank to sell for quick cash. But doing so they unleash hidden rivalries and crimes, and the dark and secret past of their town and their families.
The spreading stain is drawing local drug lords, crooked cops, hard-riding bikers, and the brutal history of the boys' fathers in its wake.
"One of the crime genre's rising stars, Huston (Six Bad Things) delivers a stunning, darkly comic coming-of-age novel, set in the summer of 1983 in an unnamed Northern California town. Four teenage boys, out of school and experimenting with drugs, booze and sex, find trouble fast when they break into the home of the notorious Arroyo brothers to retrieve a stolen bicycle. In the process, they stumble on the Arroyo family's main operation, a meth lab. In a classic moment of nave bravado, they steal part of the stash, setting off a downward spiral of events that will reopen the door to the town's dark past, when an earlier generation of criminals, including one of the boy's fathers, controlled the streets. Huston's natural gift for dialogue shines as he recreates the language of teenage males, in all its crude and often hilarious glory. Most importantly, Huston has the courage to both unsettle and entertain the reader, and his story resonates long after its disturbing final scenes. Author tour. (Aug.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"If you don't know this perfervid writer of thrillers (Caught Stealing) and comic books (Moon Knight), this stand-alone novel is a great place to start....The Shotgun Rule is wise about the way boys grow into men, and roots its violence in understandable emotion. (Grade: A-)" Entertainment Weekly
"Anyone not acquainted with Charlie Huston's blistering, unputdownable novels will want to tie their sneakers nice and tight before starting The Shotgun Rule, or they are apt to be blasted clean out of them." Stephen King
"[A] dark but brilliant portrait of the way many teenage boys live in America....The Shotgun Rule is not literary in any conventional sense, but it has a purity, a raw honesty, that often led me to make literary connections." Patrick Anderson, The Washington Post Book World
"Huston has developed a reputation for his own brand of noir fiction, by turns side-splittingly funny and gruesomely violent and repugnant....Parents who refuse to think about the world in which their children live will be repulsed by this book. Others might just find a glimmer of hope by its end." Rocky Mountain News
"From a sharp pitch, staccato dialogue and volatile action, durable characters and an intricate plot emerge, demonstrating Huston can still deliver the expected thriller goods." Paste Magazine
"If your tolerance for violence, occasional sadism and bratty teens is sturdy enough, the talented Mr. Huston will keep you turning pages." Kirkus Reviews
"The fast-unfolding plot's tension springs from elements both expected...and surprising....Huston demonstrates a great feel for characters on the cusp of maturity which helps readers connect with their adolescent aches even when they're being a pain." Booklist
About the Author
Charlie Huston is the author of the Henry Thompson Trilogy: Caught Stealing, Six Bad Things (an Edgar Award nominee), and A Dangerous Man, as well as the Joe Pitt novels: Already Dead and No Dominion. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the actress Virginia Louise Smith. Visit him at www.pulpnoir.com.