I'm not quite sure how I discovered Charlie Huston. I think I was sent a copy of his second novel, "Six Bad Things," and noticed the blurb from Peter Straub on its cover. A recommendation from Straub holds weight with me, so I took the time to find Huston's first book, "Caught Stealing." It blew me away with its non-stop action, bitter humor and hapless protagonist, Hank Thompson.
In 2005, I reviewed "Already Dead," the first installment of his Joe Pitt vampire/detective series, in The Chronicle. It's pretty good, even though I don't believe that vampires and detectives are two great tastes that taste great together.
Now comes Huston's first stand-alone book, "The Shotgun Rule," and it's another winner. A stolen bicycle is the catalyst for a showdown between four disaffected East Bay teenagers and a family of crank manufacturers. Before they're through with each other, there will be bloodshed, torture and terrible revelations about themselves and their loved ones.
"The Shotgun Rule" guns its engine from page one. All you can do as a reader is hang on and trust that Huston will deliver you home in one piece.