James W. Fuerst’s impressive debut, Huge (Three Rivers Press, July), presents the compelling and funny story of a boy living in his own world, constructed from detective stories and held together by his own anger at life. Eugene “Huge” Smalls is both tough and vulnerable, fierce and fragile; his voice is unique, fresh and believable—it stayed with me for days. Huge sets out to solve a mystery—the identity of the vandal that defaced the sign at his grandmother’s nursing home—and solves a much more difficult one instead: his own mind and heart. Watching Huge grow up, at least a bit, was a great and rewarding trip. Fuerst’s book manages to be, all at once, a mystery and an homage to noir, an examination of a family living close to the margins, an exploration of the bonds between siblings and between mother and son, and a meditation on the darkness that can haunt a young person. It deserves to be as huge as its title.