Category Archives: Humour

Review: All Tide Up

By Alex Cay

Another great farce

Like it’s predecessor, Man Up!, this is a knock-about farce based around the capable but somewhat cursed sports agent, Patrick Flynn. This time the key protegé is a nymphomaniac Russian tennis player, but otherwise the cast of gangsters, hit-men (& -women) and scam artists hasn’t changed much. So much the better for that. Several of the key characters miraculously make it through from the first book to the second, and if you want to understand how then you first need to read the author’s even more farcical short story Icy Hot.

This style of comedy writing is difficult to pull off, and can mis-fire, but Alex Cay seems to have it off pat. The body count continues to be high, but sometimes (not always) with a slapstick element which invokes a lighter cartoonish tone. The sex scenes are moderately graphic, but provide both the prime driver for several of the female characters and a fair element of the humour. However as long as you are comfortable with a fairly adult style then you will enjoy and frequently laugh out loud at this outlandish tale.

It’s always encouraging when someone takes note and acts on a review. The author personally asked me to review his first book, and I happily did so noting that I’d like to see a change of location, fewer detailed American sports references, and a couple of stylistic tweaks. He has delivered on all those requests, and that makes the book all the more readable. Thanks for listening, Alex!

A great holiday read. I look forward to the next instalment.

Categories: Reviews and Thoughts on the World. Content Types: Adventure, Fiction, and Humour.
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Review: Man Up

By Alex Cay

Fun, but a very high body count!

This is a comedy thriller very much affecting the style of Carl Hiaasen. Hiaasen’s latest, the hilarious Bad Monkey, uses almost exactly the same Floridan and Bahamian locations, and reading this book almost immediately afterwards did feel a bit like a slightly distorted echo. It would be refreshing to see some authors writing this style of work but against less stereotypical backgrounds, and I hope Alex Cay does so with his future books.

That said, Man Up! is a good example of the genre, and well worth a read. It zips along at a good pace, with enough plot intrigue to keep the reader entertained, even if some twists are rather predictable, and is regularly punctuated with almost slapstick comedy which made me laugh out loud on several occasions.

The central character is a sports agent, and in this case was dealing with ice hockey. In Britain this is very much a minority sport, and the copious ice hockey references and terminology in the first couple of chapters put off at least one reader I know. Keep going and once the real action starts the sports context is no longer such an issue, but if the author wants the widest readership this is something to watch in the future.

I liked the writing style, and was impressed by how Alex Cay had captured the nuances of dialogue for the English characters versus the American ones very well. On a slightly more negative note he has adopted a habit of writing for emphasis One. Word. At. A. Time., which is rather off-putting, and I’d suggest trying to find a smoother alternative.

The book is populated with a range of interesting characters, but in many cases you don’t get to learn much about who they are, or how they have got to where they are, and a bit more background would work well. There are no “supermen”, and a number with very real mental limitations, but almost all the men are enormously well provided in the trouser department, which seems to destroy the good judgement of several otherwise single-minded female characters. I did like the animal characters, including two homosexual bull mastiffs and a shark nick-named Elvis!

This is a tale of stupid wealthy people, corrupt spies and incompetent hitmen, and a large helping of sex and violence more explicit than some other books in this genre is unavoidable. The high body count is actually quite comical, but be prepared for some writing which is not exactly “family friendly”.

Overall I enjoyed the book, and I look forward to reading some more of Patrick Finn’s adventures in the future.


Finally, I’d like to say a big thank you to the author Alex Cay for providing a review copy of this book in Kindle format. I do most of my fiction reading when travelling, and it’s really annoying that most publishers and review commissioners, notably and inexplicably including Amazon themselves, still insist on providing review copies in hardcopy form. Thanks to Alec for doing the right thing.

Categories: Reviews. Content Types: Book, Crime / mystery, Fiction, and Humour.
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Review: El Dorado Blues

By Shaun Morey

Another enjoyable romp

Like the predecessor novel, Wahoo Rhapsody, this is an enjoyable romp which charges on at an impressive pace. As a complete antidote to all the “Templar Treasure” novels of recent years, while this does feature a long-buried fabled treasure, which is located and dug up in the first few pages. That’s when the trouble starts…

Thereafter the story becomes a tale of rich and unscrupulous dealers and collectors trying to get control of the treasure, with a few reasonably honest characters caught in the middle. It’s neither a very long story nor a very complicated one, but it’s quite fun.

I liked the new unpleasant characters, and welcomed the return of the same “good guys” from Wahoo Rhapsody. I just hope Morey has done his legal homework creating a wealthy collector with an ill-fitting toupee called Ronald Stump!

My only complaint about the first book was that it felt a bit too obviously a copy of a Carl Hiaasen, and there’s still some truth in that criticism. In particular Atticus Fish does feel like an echo of Hiassen’s character Skink. However, that’s a minor complaint, and I look forward to the next book in the series.

Categories: Reviews. Content Types: Book, Crime / mystery, Fiction, and Humour.
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Review: Utter Folly

A high comedy of bad manners, By Paul Bassett Davies

As good as Tom Sharpe at his best

I can praise this book no more highly than to say that it’s reminiscent of the best work of Tom Sharpe. A cheerfully anarchic tale of country folk, of dark passions, of sex, drugs and rock & roll, of windmills and traction engines.

To reveal much more would risk spoiling the story, but rest assured this will keep you turning the pages and frequently laughing out loud.

If you mourn the passing of Sharpe’s best work, and are frustrated by the way so many purported “comedies” import of this genre fail to amuse, then you will enjoy this.

Categories: Reviews. Content Types: Book and Humour.
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