Summary and book reviews of Huge by James Fuerst

Huge
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  • Paperback: Jul 2009,
    320 pages.

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Book Reviewed by:
Donna Chavez

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Book Summary

Life hasn’t been easy for Eugene “Huge” Smalls.

Sure, his IQ is off the charts, but that doesn’t help much when you’re growing up in the 1980s in a dreary New Jersey town where your bad reputation precedes you, the public school system’s written you off as a lost cause, and even your own family seems out to get you. But it’s not all bad. Raymond Chandler and Dashiell Hammett have taught Huge everything he needs to know about being a hard-boiled detective... and he’s just been hired to solve his first case.

What he doesn’t realize is that his search for the truth will change everything for him.

ONE

It was one of those lurid August days, all haze and steam, the sun hidden and stewing like a shameful lust. I dropped the kickstand, locked the Cruiser to the no parking sign, and wiped the glaze of sweat off my face and neck. Thrash was at my side (I'd doubled him along), and we shared a quiet look before heading in.

As we stepped through the glass front doors, the chill from the air-conditioning slapped me like I'd mouthed off. But that was good. It gave me a jolt, woke me up. There wasn't anyone at the front desk, so we hung a left and tiptoed down the pale gray corridor, sticking close to the wall. The Oakshade Retirement Home bragged about cleanliness in its brochures, and to back it up they made sure every inch of the place always reeked of rubbing alcohol and used rubber gloves. Some of the janitors said that if you stayed there long enough, the smell alone could make you sick, or even kill you. Not me, though. I loved that goddamn smell.

We slipped past a few cocked and ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

Fuerst’s small-time detective and his whodunit mystery delivered me straight to readers' heaven... Huge's narrative voice swings seamlessly from snappy wiseguy cant to philosophical musings, pre-teen naïveté and savvy smarts without losing the essence of the boy's character... An unlikely combo of pulp PI-wit plus 19th Century transcendentalism contributes to Eugene's uber-unique charm.   (Reviewed by Donna Chavez).

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Media Reviews
People Magazine

Fuerst's debut is a hugely entertaining novel... Juxtaposing Huge's preteen angst with his passion for detective work, Fuerst has created a winning protagonist (who needs to have his mouth washed out with soap).

Publishers Weekly

Fuerst demonstrates...skill at conveying a child's-eye view of the world that is full of nostalgia, humor, candor and emotions that all readers can relate to.

Kirkus Reviews

Credible and engaging, [with] a hero who assumes the most eye-catching characteristics of Holden Caulfield, Phillip Marlowe and Nick Twisp.

Booklist

Starred Review. Huge will occupy a, yes, huge place in readers' affections and memories.

Author Blurb Ron McLarty, author of The Memory of Running
A rocket ship of adolescence. I loved little Huge.

Author Blurb Keith Donohue, author of The Stolen Child
An evocative black comedy…Huge effortlessly lures you into his hardboiled imagination and completely dysfunctional life.

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Beyond the Book

BookBrowse chats with James Fuerst

BB: Is Eugene based upon anyone in particular?

JF: I hope no one is terribly disappointed by this, but Eugene "Huge" Smalls isn't based on anyone in particular nor is he a composite of characteristics drawn from real people (at least no real people I know or have known). He is, however, pretty explicitly cut from the cloth of fictional hard-boiled detectives such as Raymond Chandler's Philip Marlowe and Dashiell Hammett's Sam Spade, among others, and he's also a kid, a somewhat precocious, almost-thirteen-year-old kid who has problems, a foul mouth, has experienced his share of difficulties and is trying to figure out not only who vandalized the sign at his grandmother's retirement home, but also...

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