Reviewer Gordon Osmond : Gordon is a produced and award-winning playwright and author of: So You Think You Know English--A Guide to English for Those Who Think They Don't Need One, Wet Firecrackers--The Unauthorized Autobiography of Gordon Osmond and his debut novel Slipping on Stardust.
He has reviewed books and stageplays for http://CurtainUp.com and for the Bertha Klausner International Literary Agency. He is a graduate of Columbia College and Columbia Law School and practiced law on Wall Street for many years before concentrating on writing fiction and non-fiction. You can find out more about Gordon by clicking HERE
This grim, and often grimy, novella tracks the efforts of Nancy and her boyfriend, Tommy, to locate, befriend, rescue, and avenge a rather large collection of post-adolescents who have fallen really hard on to really hard times. The plight of these throwaways, or disposables, is caused by a confluence of circumstances, not the least significant of which is victimization by predators who take advantage of their preys’ addiction to drugs and indebtedness to highly unlicensed lenders. For some reason, the plight of one of the collection is sprinkled throughout the book in italics to confirm its non-chronological presentation.
To the book’s credit, these crusaders are about as far from other model detective teams as one could imagine, whether they be Nick and Nora Charles from The Thin Man series or the sleuthing couples in the burgeoning Law & Order canon. Both Nancy and Tommy come with biographical baggage that beggars the competition. Nancy, the book’s narrator, has a particularly complex blend of melodrama in her personal history, which manifests itself in raw dialogue, scathing assessments of almost everyone she encounters, and general personal coarseness. It’s totally believable that she masters the art of enlightened self defense in record time and that she describes herself as a “pissed off psycho bitch.”
Another nice ironic touch is that some of the predators are engaged in occupations dedicated to assisting the victims. This, along with a description of the ineptitude of the police, casts a cloud of despair which is very supportive of the overall dark atmosphere the book creates.
This eccentricity aside, the bulk of the book consists of locating persons of interest, interviewing them, and following up on resulting leads, much in the same way that the book’s predecessors do. Viewers of current TV detective fare will feel very much at home.
Well into the book, a genuine surprise occurs, but it is dealt with with such speed and unconvincing facility as to render it but a bump, rather than a real twist in the road.
The title of the book suggests a feminist perspective, yet at least one of the “bad guys” is most definitely a “bad gal.”
Ms. Thomson tells her tale in the first person, an ambitious choice. Its hazards are particularly evident when there are jarring shifts from past to present tense in the telling. Also, some of the chapters seem unseemly short.
At times I wondered if the text had been given a final read-through, which would have revealed that “stench” is not the word, in any linguistic variation, to describe stopping the flow of fluids, and that the back-to-back sentences “…who had I got into bed with? Trusted to cover my back?” would have been less suggestive of sexual choices if somewhat separated.
In a somewhat defensive dedication, the author thanks those who “got” Book One in the series, adding that some didn’t. I think I “got” Book Two; it was the exceptional nature of the exposition that eluded me.
However, if one wants to have a look at the underbelly of Glasgow, where the novella is set, one might have a go with this short book. You’ll have a hard time finding it the libraries of the Scotland Chamber of Commerce, if there is such an organization.