“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.
Emma has very kindly left me with the keys to the blog today to review Mark Farrer’s Base Cowboys. This collection of three novellas centre around Cullen who I first met when reviewing The Good, The Bad and The Rugby. Farrer is a great author whose comedy characters have just the right balance of realism whilst erring on hilarious caricatures. I wasn’t sure how I would find 3 novellas versus a full novel but it was a nice change of style. Each of the novellas works on its own but reading them in this way helps you dive into Farrer’s world and stay there until the end and you have to make your way back to the real world.
Cullen is an enigma and these novellas allow a focus on the other characters with Cullen only entering the story to help put things back to his version of right. Each of the stories brings a new villain from the repulsive Barry Sullivan, dentistry’s very own Lothario to the meanest landlord in the area, Bronchial Billy. Mark Farrer’s evil characters are clever parodies and I am sure they will show characteristics where each reader will say “I know someone like that”. Fan Favourite ‘Big Paul’ also makes his return in these stories, lumbering through the narrative with an awareness of the situation that is normally sub-optimal but makes for great set pieces. Cullen’s affection for Big Paul, one of his few friends, is clear and the two make an unlikely double-act with no doubt who provides the brains and who provides the brawn!
For me, Tyler in “Pale Ale Rider” was the worst of the bunch, a schemer with grand plans but little attention to detail when it came to planning. Seeing him pitted against Cullen, you weren’t quite sure how Cullen could get to him without getting hurt, but it made the last 40 pages of the book fly past.
Would I recommend Farrer’s books? Absolutely, they are a joy to read. I look forward to reading more in the future and hope new readers choose this series and encounter these wonderful characters in equally wonderful situations for themselves!
I chose to read and review an eARC of Base Cowboys. The above review is my own unbiased opinion.
Base Cowboys by Mark Farrer was published in the UK by Funny Business Press on 21st July 2019.
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.