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    Review of A DANGEROUS MAN by Charlie Huston

    Ballantine, September 2006

    Life hasn't been easy for Henry Thompson. He found and lost four million dollars belonging to a gangster chief, had to kill way too many people, and he's now alive only because the gangster thinks he can be an effective hit man. Fortunately, or unfortunately, Henry doesn't even do well at that, having trouble pulling the trigger in cold blood. As a last effort to get some use out of Henry, the mob boss assigns him the job of escourting a number one baseball draft pick through Las Vegas. That one night changes Henry's life when the baseball player demands that Henry move to New York and become his permanent bodyguard.

    In New York, the mother of one of Henry's victims tracks him down, sending her ex-Russian intelligence officer nephews after him. Bodyguarding a baseball player becomes the least of Henry's problems as he struggles to stay alive in the face of threats from just about everyone he meets. When the local police are a serial killer's biggest ally, things are definitely dangerous.

    Author Charlie Huston (see also urban fantasy novels by Huston) sustains a compelling dark narrative. Henry Thompson is an overweight druggie who kills without any particular moral qualms, and whose desire to protect his parents smacks more of a strange obsession than true affection. Still, he becomes a sympathetic character as he continues to slide into deeper and deeper danger. Over time, Henry's options narrow, promising paths close down, and attractive choices become ever-harder to see. Huston does an excellent job showing Henry struggling--because he must, but without hope.

    A DANGEROUS MAN is a strangely powerful story. In the dark world of this story, there really aren't any blacks and whites--everything is a shade of gray, and all the shades are dark indeed.

    Three Stars

    Reviewed 7/21/07

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