You would have to wonder why a Rhodes Scholar, a VC winner and a Commissioner of Police named his son Frank E. R. Stein by way of a ha-ha ‘monstrous joke’… or why he cackled derision every time his eyes lit upon the boy; or why he showered more affection on his adopted son, Costas, the otherwise offspring of a Mr Bigs of organized crime.
And as the well is so poisoned such is the quest Frank Stein must make to seek revenge for the gangland killing of his crusading crime-fighting half-brother. At least it is a way to presuppose the kingpins presumably coming for him too; after all, even as a joke, it’s not how you bow out, but how you get stuck in.
Rape, assassination, shocking intrusions of a vicious crime world… it’s all there for a tragic and hilarious story to unfold before Frank Stein, assisted(?) by his own side comprising of a woman in search of an international bestseller and an indigenous brother who survives writing sports reports without going to any games when all he needs is a deaf, dumb and blind rich white sort to tide him over. And, yes, haunting over all is a shadowy guardian Chinese toughie, as well as his ubiquitous father from his wheelchair. One has to ask: what have the famous father’s shocking WW1 experiences to do with the resulting mayhem? What has be done to his sons? What did the Nip bullet the old boy finally coughed up after forty years look like, even as a metaphor?
Underlying the rich gallery of these and other grotesques, there are the wit and the pace and the bawdry of Crooks. In the real-life crime parlance of ‘a pushover to put down’, this book won’t disappoint crime buffs.
about the author
Originally a well-known playwright, Bill Reed began writing longform fiction in his late thirties. To date he has written thirteen novels, including the so-called noteworthy ‘1001 Lankan Nights, books 1 and 2’. He has had eight plays professionally staged. He has worked as an editor and journalist in Australia and overseas before finally putting his feet up in Sri Lanka.