Reluctant hit man Henry Thompson has fallen on hard times. His grip on life is disintegrating, his pistol hand is shaking, his body is pinned to his living room couch by painkillers - and his boss, Russian mobster David Dolokhov, isn't happy about any of it. So Henry is surprised when he's handed a new assignment: Keep tabs on a minor league baseball star named Miguel Arenas.
Henry has no pity for the slugger and the wicked gambling problem that got him in trouble, but he can't help liking the guy. After all, Henry used to be just like him, a natural-born ball player with a bright future. But that was long ago, before Henry did some guy a favor and ended up running for his life; before his girlfriend and buddies got gunned down by someone on his tail; before he agreed to buy his parents' safety with a life of violence.
When Miguel gets drafted by the Mets and is sent to the Brooklyn Cyclones, Henry must head back to New York, back to the place where all his problems began and where Henry might find a real reason to keep living - a reason that may just cost him his life.
©2006 Charlie Huston (P)2013 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
First, this is a weird book to listen to because this is part of a trilogy. The last part of that trilogy. And this makes the book far less enjoyable than it should be. I hope Audible puts the rest of the series up so that this one will make sense.
Of course, the lead character (Henry) will tell you everything that has happened to himself. Huston has an interesting writing style, but it's not conducive to reading out loud. The book begins and ends in various places, jumps around to different scenes, and switches between internal and external monologues. The narrator does a good job inflecting these differences though, so nothing is lost. Clipped sentences. Occasionally annoying. Bad.
The story is pretty much Joe Pitt. The guy is in love with a fallen girl (Pitt had a girl with AIDS and this guy is in love with a stripper), he's a junkie (Joe Pitt was an ex-junkie), he's a big guy with a messed up face, (Joe Pitt had lost his eye in the series), and suffers from numerous other injuries.
The difference is the main characters and how they deal with these problems. Joe dealt with it by making snark remarks and killing people, while this guy deals with it by popping pills and whining. Of course, he does eventually clean himself up and go about doing semi-heroic things, but you have to get past a lot of whining. A lot. Like a whole, whole lot.
I think that if the books were read in order and we'd seen the downfall of the main character a la' MacBeth, this would have been more enjoyable. If you jump straight into the third book, you have a fallen hero whining about his fall until he (finally) goes about fixing it. Despite doing awful things to people, (or attempting to, the book begins with him losing his appetite to kill and a hired thug has to do all the work), you feel some sympathy for a guy who can't catch a break.
Do yourself a favor and wait for the rest of this series to be posted up and then get it. I got it because I am a Huston fan, but I'll have to come back to this again when the rest is out.
I love the book (and trilogy) but didn't care for this reader. It was probably intentional, but there was nothing naturalistic about his delivery, especially in Henry's voice. It felt as though he was declaiming every line. At first I didn't care for the reader of the second book, but grew accustomed to his voice and natural delivery very quickly. I kept hoping the same would happen with this book, but it never did.
I've read the trilogy at least three times but this is my first time listening to it: still thrilling, tragic, and triumphant!
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