Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Finished: "Shotgun Rule" by Charlie Huston

Finished: Shotgun Rule by Charlie Huston, 2007, 9780345481351.

A different tale by Huston. An average read.  No massive amounts of violence and the bad guys are bad but not overtly so. At least not in comparison to other Huston books.

Four teen boys hang-out in a small town northern California the summer before senior year in 1984 (or so). Concerned with scoring beer and dope they spend time getting in fights and bitching about normal teen problems. The four of them are also small time thieves and after one of their bicycles is stolen by the local bad boys, the Arroyo brothers, the enter the Arroyos house and end up taking cash, jewelry, and meth.

The story doesn't pick up until about 1/4 or even 1/2 of the way through. The meat of the story ends up being the father of two of the kids, Bob Whelen, but he doesn't play much of a part until late in the story. Bob used to a be terror in town beginning in high school. His dope and pill business in the 1960s and early 1970s kept the cops paid off and kept Bob flush with cash. After his second boy was born prematurely he quit the business and now works construction jobs. His kids are completely ignorant of Bob's incredibly violent past and it is only when I read more about Bob and his background that I started to really like the book.

The constant teenage insults among the guys got boring after a bit. The point where the guys were trying to list the gayest bands ever was funny. Geezer, the obese crook and lead bad guy, was always struggling for the appropriate word and asking for help. The character was okay but the vocabulary searches were not all that funny or threatening in a "Crazy guy going on tangents" way.

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