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The Shotgun Rule    by Charlie Huston Amazon.com order for
Shotgun Rule
by Charlie Huston
Order:  USA  Can
Ballantine, 2007 (2007)
Hardcover, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Mary Ann Smyth

George, Hector, Paul and Andy. Summer 1983 in a northern California suburb. The usual summer diversions for the kids. Different ethnic gangs stealing each other's bikes. Fights. Bike riding. Getting into juvenile summer escapades. Until, trying to get Andy's bike back from the Arroyos brothers who had stolen it, the four kids stumble across a highly lucrative, competitive and illegal home industry a meth lab.

Turning the brothers into the police - but not before helping themselves to some of the product - opens a whole new bag of worms.

The Shotgun Rule, while a highly readable book with its local patois, is also highly disturbing. I kept wondering how much of this came from author Charlie Huston's imagination and how much was possibly gleaned from headlines. Wherever this came from, it makes for a good scenario.

Action leaps from almost every page. The young characters portray youth in its innocence as well as its search for a place in the scheme of things - trying to be adult but not yet able to handle the adult world, and in some cases paying for the sins of the fathers.

The Shotgun Rule is a stand alone book. Huston is a compelling writer, which makes his work hard to put down until finished. I found it exciting while I was also gasping at the brutality portrayed. Drug lords, corrupt cops, and hard-riding bikers populate a story best read with the lights on.

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