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The Shotgun Rule: A Novel (Paperback)

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Blood spilled on the asphalt of this town long years gone has left a stain, and it’s spreading. Not that a thing like that matters to teenagers like George, Hector, Paul, and Andy. It’s summer 1983 in a northern California suburb, and these working-class kids have been killing time the usual ways: ducking their parents, tinkering with their bikes, and racing around town getting high and boosting their neighbors’ meds. Just another typical summer break in the burbs. Till Andy’s bike is stolen by the town’s legendary petty hoods, the Arroyo brothers. When the boys break into the Arroyos’ place in search of the bike, they stumble across the brothers’ private industry: a crank lab. Being the kind of kids who rarely know better, they do what comes naturally: they take a stash of crank to sell for quick cash. But doing so they unleash hidden rivalries and crimes, and the dark and secret past of their town and their families.

About the Author

Charlie Huston is the author of the Henry Thompson Trilogy: Caught Stealing, Six Bad Things (an Edgar Award-nominee), and A Dangerous Man, as well as the Joe Pitt novels: Already Dead and No Dominion. He lives in Los Angeles with his wife, the actress Virginia Louise Smith. Visit him at

Praise For…

“Anyone not acquainted with Charlie Huston’s blistering, unputdownable novels will want to tie their sneakers nice and tight before starting The Shotgun Rule, or they are apt to be blasted clean out of them.”
–Stephen King

“A dark but brilliant portrait of the way many teenage boys live in America . . . a coming-of-age novel, like Catcher in the Rye . . . [Charlie Huston is] one of the most original crime novelists at work today.”
–The Washington Post Book World

“Equal parts Stephen King’s Stand by Me and Irvine Welsh’s Trainspotting, The Shotgun Rule is Huston in top form. . . . [An] unforgettable blend of humor and horrific violence.”
–Chicago Tribune

“[A] compelling depiction of aimless teenage boys trying to rise to manhood. In Huston’s hands, it’s Greek tragedy on speed. . . . Huston’s strengths are the brutal efficiency with which he sets a scene, and the breakneck pace he maintains throughout.”
–San Francisco Chronicle

“Huston is a monstrously gifted purveyor of suspense. . . . This book raised blisters on my fingers–and I still couldn’t put it down.”
–Austin American-Statesman

“One of the most memorable crime novels of this year.”
–Baltimore Sun
Product Details
ISBN: 9780345481368
ISBN-10: 0345481364
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Publication Date: January 13th, 2009
Pages: 272
Language: English