DEAD DOG BY NICKOLAS COOK
It’s the late 70s and Max and Little Billy are back from Vietnam trying to mind their own business when they stumble onto the murder of a local boy. With organized crime and local thugs on their trail, it’s up to these two local heroes to solve the murder.
This is one of those books, that you pick up and and decide to give it a quick preliminary read, and suddenly you realise, that all those things you had planned on doing that day just aren’t going to get done. In fact this book should come with a warning. “Blokes if the wife has left you a to do list, DO IT FIRST”
With Dead Dog, Cook has added a new entry into the rich compendium of brilliant, dark, twisted, but utterly loveable anti-heroes. The likes of Repairman Jack and Hap and Leonard, have a new brethren with Max and Little Billy.
As some of you may know I am a a sucker for stories set in the USA’s deep South. There is something about the rich breadth of characters, characters that step of the pages of a book and begin to inhabit your real life. Dead Dog is full of these sort of characters, from the double team of Max and Billy, to the firebrand and feisty mother of Max’s girlfriend, the hard down and put upon local Sheriff, right through to the local crime lord. You may look at that list of memorable characters and think, yes but aren’t they the staples of this sort of book, and you would be right. However Cook brings each and every one of these characters to life in such a glorious way, that Dr Frankenstein must be looking over his shoulder with eyes full of the greenest envy.
With Max, Cook has created a character that could stand toe to toe with the best of fictional anti-heroes. Yes he is an extremely violent man, but he is a man who has his own moral code. The code may no be to everyone’s liking but it is a code nonetheless, a code that I could relate to. The son of a terrible and violent father, Max appears to have inherited his fathers violent streak, but unlike his father, he has learned to hone and train the violent nature into a force for good. However, it is something he has to fight to control everyday of his life, there is a poignant scene between Max and his girlfriend, where they discuss his apparent love of violence.
Told in a first person narrative Dead Dogs, rattles along at breakneck speed. This is an engrossing, action packed and completely thrilling story, that will leave you with a hankering for more adventures with some Good ‘Ole Boys who never meanin’ no harm, who have been in trouble with the law since the day they was born.
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