sábado, julho 06, 2013

Personal Take on the Book "Foxtrot Oscar" by Charlie Owen


As in the first book ("Horse's Arse"), it gripped me from page one. The characters, the plot-lines and the especially the dialogue were so vivid:

Taken from Pages 21, 25:

'Your worships, the police consider the prisoner is likely to abscond prior to trial as he has no local ties, is of no fixed abode and is a foreign national'.
'A foreign national? From where??'
'He's German, your worships.'
'GERMAN??' shouted Mortimer, who despised the sausage-eating bastards even more than he did the French, before quickly noticing his colleagues' looks of concern and repeating more quietly, 'German?'
'Where's the interpreter?' asked Mortimer testily, keen to get Herman the German banged up quickly.
'Inspector, where's the interpreter? queried the clerk.
'John, where's the interpreter?' hissed the court inspector to DC Benson, sitting behind him in the body of the court.
'Fuck' replied Benson, acknowledging that he'd completely forgotten to book one.
'You twat,' growled the inspector before getting to his feet and addressing the bench.
'Is there anyone in the court who speaks German who could help with a basic interpretation?', asked the clerk getting to his feet.
Inspiration had struck, and Psycho had spotted the opportunity quickly. Getting to his feet alongside the dock, he announced dramatically, 'I may be able to help your worships. I speak a little German.' He felt those present in the court gaze at him with new-found respect. Jesus, a copper who spoke German, what next?
'Oh no, stop him for fuck's sake,' hissed Benson urgently to the court inspector.
'Thank you, Constable." He smiled at Psycho. 'Please ask the prisoner to confirm his name and date of birth for the court.'
'Clearing his throat loudly, Psycho tuned to Gunther and said his best Colditz guard accent,  'Vot ist your name?'
'Benson and the court inspector dropped their heads on to the desks in front of them as as incredulous Colonel Mortimer bellowed, 'What did you say?'
Psycho repeated himself, 'Get him to the cells"' and pandemonium ensued.

Foul-mouthed and amusing in equal measure. That's Charlie Owen...

It's 1976 and England is sweating its nuts off...As an unrelenting heatwave beats down on Britain, the residents of Horse's Arse in North Manchester are reaching melting point. Wading into the middle of this scorching weather are the Grim Brothers, Psycho, Lly, all of them Horse's finest and hardest boiled coppers I'll ever meet lol.

What a laugh this book was. The first volume also inhabited the Laugh Factory, but this one surpasses it by a mile.

The book does not ask for believability, in fact it would be utterly unbelievable if it wasn't for the mundane streak that runs through its pages. So many of the pranks lack a punchline, so many characters' stories are left unresolved, and you quickly realize that this is a novel with roots very much in the real world (Charlie Owen was a Police Inspector in Britain).

The book has two drawbacks:

1 - Its episodic quality. But what it lacks in depth gains from the fact that it's a frequently hilarious book, a snapshot of a summer long ago, when anarchy was very real.

2 - The writing is extremely jarring and confusing. Many times Owen changes the single point of view within each scene. The third person narrator takes over and we'll follow a character down the corridor, leap into the back-story of another character for an unrelated anecdote and then back to first character, all within the same scene. "No can do..."

But oh God, it was a belly laugh!

Two down, two to go ("Bravo Jubilee" and "Two Tribes").

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