BASE COWBOYS is a comic crime trilogy set in the Scottish Borders. It is the sixth laugh-out-loud book in the CULLEN series written by Borders author Mark Farrer and will appeal to readers of Christopher Brookmyre, Carl Hiaasen, Nick Spalding or Tom Sharpe. The book tells the stories of three amoral ne’er-do-wells, their unfortunate and accidental intrusion into Cullen’s life, and the imaginative ways he finds of ensuring (his) justice is done:
The first casualty of adultery is… the tooth!
Barry Sullivan is a sordid dentist who resorts to blackmail to keep his string of married women in line. But now Cullen has toothache – and a very different interpretation of the dental code of practice.
Meet Billy – the fastest gun in a vest.
Billy is a geriatric slum landlord desperate to win first prize in a Country & Western gunfight competition. But his trigger-happy birthday celebrations provoke Cullen, and now Billy must pay. Will he meet his High Noon at the Grand Ole Opry or will he go out with a bang? Whatever happens, there’s sure to be fireworks.
Pale Ale Rider
There’s trouble brewing…
Tyler is a teenage tearaway with the eyes of a serial killer. But when he decides to rob Big Paul’s local pub, he gets more than he bargained for. Will Tyler lose his bottle, or just get smashed? Cullen thinks he’s seen dead eyes like those before, and now he has a plan: he’s not bitter, he’s just a little twisted.
I would like to thank the author and blog tour organiser for the ARC in return for an honest review.
I wasn’t sure what I expected from this series of Novella’s, but I knew within pages of starting this collection that I was going to enjoy it.
Funny as hell in places, sad and emotional in others, they are packed with characters who entertain and whose company I really enjoyed.
It takes a completely different skill set from a writer to tell a whole story in this shortened novel form. Telling a well-rounded, satisfying read in a Novella means being concise in the use of language without making compromises in the story and characters and Mark Farrer delivers a very enjoyable mix of drama and top-notch characterisation.
All three have a common theme, there is a character who is bad, evil or selfish and then there is Cullen and his friend Big Paul who seem set to bring justice to anyone who needs teaching a hard lesson. It all felt kind of American western, which by the way I enjoyed watching as a kid, in that justice it meted out or is it. They all worked for me, because I couldn’t help but enjoy the theme of a bad guy/lady being made to face the consequences of their actions. Then there was Cullen a tragic loner, who lives off the grid. He is not a caricature though; Mark Farrer avoids that, by feeding us titbits about his life and the tragedy that leaves him alone, making him human and easy to love. On the other hand there is Big Paul, a little dim, but with a great big heart and together they form the perfect friendship, and partnership. They believe in good and justice, that makes them easy to love, and you cannot help rooting for them. They make the stories and ground them in that essential combination of great characters and a story about good against bad liberally littered with humour and a touch of pathos.
I have always loved Novella’s and this little group are the perfect addition to any reading pile, if you looking for a quick but fun set out reads.
About the author
Mark Farrer is the author of six comedy novels and novellas, each set in the Scottish Borders with a distinctive Scottish backdrop – whether salmon farming, textile mills, Rugby Sevens or the Scottish criminal justice system. His books are multi-stranded storylines involving larger-than-life characters, whose plans and incompetence inevitably exceed their wits. All feature an itinerant loner, Cullen, who lives off the grid and finds himself inadvertently drawn into someone’s crazy scheme, only for his own (very individual) sense of right and wrong to be offended. That’s generally when things start to go wronger.