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The Hitman's Guide to Housecleaning | [Hallgrimur Helgason]

The Hitman's Guide to Housecleaning

With some 66 hits under his belt, Tomislav Bokšic, or Toxic, has a flawless record as hitman for the Croatian mafia in New York. That is, until he kills the wrong guy and is forced to flee the States, leaving behind the life he knows and loves. Suddenly, he finds himself on a plane hurtling toward Reykjavik disguised as American televangelist Father Friendly. With no means of escape from this island devoid of gun shops, this country with absolutely no tradition for contract killing, he is forced to come to terms with his bloody past and reevaluate his future, to tragicomic effect.
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Publisher's Summary

With some 66 hits under his belt, Tomislav Bokšic, or Toxic, has a flawless record as hitman for the Croatian mafia in New York. That is, until he kills the wrong guy and is forced to flee the States, leaving behind the life he knows and loves. Suddenly, he finds himself on a plane hurtling toward Reykjavik disguised as American televangelist Father Friendly. With no means of escape from this island devoid of gun shops, this country with absolutely no tradition for contract killing, he is forced to come to terms with his bloody past and reevaluate his future, to tragicomic effect. Toxic paints Iceland as an icy netherworld where in spite of peaceful appearances danger lurks - in the guise of terrifying romantic overtures with tough-girl Gunholder, fear of being caught in his blasphemous deception, and the threat of punishment at the hands of Thordur... whose name seems to be pronounced “Torture.”

©2012 Hallgrimur Helgason (P)2012 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

What the Critics Say

"A sensational book. Hallgrimur Helgason's brain is like this amazing app that morphs the English language into gorgeously blunt new forms. It delivers surprise after surprise and makes you feel good about books again. I can't recommend it enough." (Douglas Coupland, author of Generation X)

"If you read this I predict [Helgason]’ll be in your mind to stay.” (DBC Pierre, Man Booker Prize-winning author of Vernon God Little)

“[Helgason is] uproarious, sharp, and outrageously funny.” (Kirkus Reviews)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.6 (128 )
5 star
 (38)
4 star
 (34)
3 star
 (29)
2 star
 (18)
1 star
 (9)
Overall
3.4 (121 )
5 star
 (31)
4 star
 (31)
3 star
 (30)
2 star
 (19)
1 star
 (10)
Story
4.1 (121 )
5 star
 (59)
4 star
 (32)
3 star
 (17)
2 star
 (6)
1 star
 (7)
Performance
Sort by:
  •  
    Jane Chicago, IL, United States 05-31-13
    Jane Chicago, IL, United States 05-31-13 Member Since 2015
    HELPFUL VOTES
    1021
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    410
    410
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    118
    3
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Some find this humorous,"

    but it did not work for me. The narrator made it worse.

    It was dragging and dragging. Finally at about half way through I stopped reading and jumped to the last two chapters.

    I might have liked it better if I were reading as opposed to listening. The narrator used a strong Croatian accent and an Icelandic accent. The accents were not enjoyable. There’s a reason TV anchors sound the same - it’s pleasant for the majority of the population.

    There was one scene I found funny. Andro was a crazy gay boy who jerked off two men at the same time, one Serbian, one Croatian. The author said “It was the strangest image I have from that f***ing war. If we had gay nations there would be less wars.”

    I did not like the ending. The main guy/narrator is shot. We don’t know if he lives or dies. It was not funny.

    The title is misleading because it is such a minor part of the story. Toxic enters a girl’s messy home to hideout. He cleans it before she arrives home.

    Genre: humorous crime fiction

    3 of 3 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jami E. Nettles Columbus, MS USA 03-11-13
    Jami E. Nettles Columbus, MS USA 03-11-13 Member Since 2005
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    Story
    "An un-redemption story"

    Wow, that was not at all like I though it would be. Funny moments, but written in a story with a main character that is both an over the top caricature and a brutally real a**hole. I found the main character's accent very distracting - so heavy that it drags - and this could have interfered with my ability to bond with him. The other characters had excellent narration, and some of these people could have been very interesting and funny, but there were so many missed opportunities to give them more depth.

    In the end, this was the story of the almost redemption of a hitman. Like the main character, the story just falls short in the end. The hitman is deep but unlikeable, the likeable characters shallow. It's too harsh to be light, and too funny to be bleak.

    I've thought about the book since I finished it, talked about it with several other people, it was well written, not at all a throw away mystery or a nordic copycat. I just didn't enjoy it.

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    regina New Sharon, ME, United States 04-02-12
    regina New Sharon, ME, United States 04-02-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
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    "laugh out loud funny"

    I enjoyed every minute of the book. more more more more more more more more

    1 of 1 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Jason Montclair, VA, United States 03-27-12
    Jason Montclair, VA, United States 03-27-12 Member Since 2009
    HELPFUL VOTES
    37
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    40
    8
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    2
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    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Funny moments but mostly a snore"

    There are some things to like about Helgason's novel. As common a character as "the hitman on the run" is in books, this hitman at least has a fairly interesting and novel background. The setting in Iceland is also something the reader might not have come across before now. There are funny moments in the book, a few almost laugh out loud. And lastly, the narrator is fantastic. I am guessing that he is affecting the accent he uses for the hitman, but I personally thought he did a great job with the reading.

    My main problem with the book was the story. After a decent setup, it alternates between not very interesting to just flat out dull. At times the situations feel like something you might find in a sitcom. Three's Company or something like that. A lot of things happen which are just hard to understand. Why did a character act this way? Why is this happening at all? The finale is completely unsurprising. This book ends pretty much EXACTLY the way you think it will.

    I was mostly glad it was a fairly short novel. I managed to finish it, so it wasn't a complete waste of a credit or anything. I think I have better books in my library to enjoy though.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    bionichands washington, d.c. area 03-27-12
    bionichands washington, d.c. area 03-27-12 Member Since 2009

    procrastinator

    HELPFUL VOTES
    294
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    231
    38
    FOLLOWERS
    FOLLOWING
    19
    0
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Funny moments but mostly a snore"

    There are some things to like about Helgason's novel. As common a character as "the hitman on the run" is in books, this hitman at least has a fairly interesting and novel background. The setting in Iceland is also something the reader might not have come across before now. There are funny moments in the book, a few almost laugh out loud. And lastly, the narrator is fantastic. I am guessing that he is affecting the accent he uses for the hitman, but I personally thought he did a great job with the reading.

    My main problem with the book was the story. After a decent setup, it alternates between not very interesting to just flat out dull. At times the situations feel like something you might find in a sitcom. Three's Company or something like that. A lot of things happen which are just hard to understand. Why did a character act this way? Why is this happening at all? The finale is completely unsurprising. This book ends pretty much EXACTLY the way you think it will.

    I was mostly glad it was a fairly short novel. I managed to finish it, so it wasn't a complete waste of a credit or anything. I think I have better books in my library to enjoy though.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Lex United States 03-22-12
    Lex United States 03-22-12 Member Since 2013
    HELPFUL VOTES
    3
    ratings
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    205
    4
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    0
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    Performance
    Story
    "Wish this had been on a hit list..."
    What would have made The Hitman's Guide to Housecleaning better?

    Perhaps anything redeaming or exceptional about this hitman... A better run down on the events that caused him to run... Less naval gazing from a contract killer... Don't want to spoil anything, but there isn't really any reason for him to be a hitman.


    What do you think your next listen will be?

    Fantasy and economics books I've been wanting to get to.


    Which scene was your favorite?

    The last chapters were good, until the author decided we needed a really odd and completely misplaced flashback sequence.


    What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

    Bordom, it was a strugle to get through this short book. If it had been a two parter I probably wouldn't have finished.


    Any additional comments?

    The narration was great, well acted even if the accent was a bit thick.

    3 of 4 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Thomas Juul Dyhr 04-20-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
    REVIEWS
    11
    1
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    Story
    "Brilliant & Fun"

    It's a long time since I have laughed this much - while listening to a grotesque tour de force of a Serbian Hitman's history. It fils you with a bizarre taste for redemption biographies.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    MJ 03-18-15
    MJ 03-18-15 Member Since 2015
    ratings
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    97
    2
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    Story
    "mew"

    Kinda just waited for it to end. The racism and sexism, though true to character, made the hero so off putting that the final chapter's close comes as a relief. Voice actor was very very good, there just isn't a single character, action or out come that makes this enjoyable.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    David Mendez 01-27-15 Member Since 2014

    melobites

    ratings
    REVIEWS
    14
    2
    Overall
    Performance
    Story
    "Could not get past the first two chapters"
    What disappointed you about The Hitman's Guide to Housecleaning?

    General story line is bland, crude and the narrator did not help, trying to do a fake eastern European accent...not good at all


    Has The Hitman's Guide to Housecleaning turned you off from other books in this genre?

    No, still like the genre


    Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Luke Daniels?

    Book is bad, narrator made it unbearable


    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  •  
    Amazon Customer 10-24-14 Member Since 2015

    Namaste

    HELPFUL VOTES
    25
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    0
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    Story
    "Great narration, but couldn't stick with the story"

    If you can get past the murder-as-comedy mindset, then the first half of the book was pretty funny. About halfway through, however, it turns into an entirely different story, and I couldn't tell if it was trying to turn into an earnest redemption story, a religious tome, or what. Writing in first person always takes the risk of losing the reader, especially when so much of the content goes on only in the narrator's mind. I really tried to stick with it, but finally had to put it down, as I was becoming bored silly. The narration and accents were spot-on, of course, since the narrator is Luke Daniels and he can probably make the phone book interesting. He has a great ear for dialect and foreign accents as well. Maybe a solid C-

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
Sort by:
  • Sile
    Kent, England
    3/20/12
    Overall
    "Rude, Crude, and (Darkly) Funny"

    The language is this book can be offensive, but as the main character is a hitman, in hiding in Iceland, after a job gone wrong, this is appropriate. The fact he rates every female character he encounters according to how many days it would take if they were alone before he would think about her (that way) was off-putting. Aside from this, Toxic has an amusing way of seeing the world, from a completely different perspective than the average reader. Seeing Iceland from his point of view is a revelation, and I'm not sure the tourist board would be altogether happy with Toxic's opinions.

    I'm not sure about the accents employed by the narrator, but the nuances employed only add to the author's charaterisation. As the story progresses, one wonders where it will all end, but the desire to continue (regardless of whether you empathise with Toxic) is unavoidable. The humour is dark, almost black, but perfectly pitched. The only disappointment is the last few minutes; the ending. Even so, I'd recommend it to others.

    4 of 4 people found this review helpful
  • H
    Southport, United Kingdom
    3/27/12
    Overall
    "Very dissapointing"

    A real dissapointing listen. big holes in the plot. Very obvious "bending" of circumstances to get the story out of a hole, and a very dissapoinitng ending, that seem to indicate the author just ran out of steam. A total waste of money! AVOID !

    The narator was not a fault on this , He did his best with a bad book I think.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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