I know what I like about reading crime fiction. There are tense, unfamiliar, dangerous places I want to go and safe, cozy places that don’t interest me. ANGRY BIRDS, a short 165 page crime novel written by newcomer, James Austin Farrell, a Chiang Mai expat, takes me to all the right places.
They include a status conscious British society of haves and increasing have-nots; the pub and class cultures of a decaying West Yorkshire; inside a bottom rung school for the kids of the old working class, now mixed in with the sons and daughters of the new immigrants and a large counsel estate, what we would call a welfare housing project. The characters include psychologically troubled school boys, one violent ex-con with short odds of going back to his comfort zone and a drowning idealist teacher, dealing with depression and prescription drug dependencies.
What does James Austin Farrell give the reader? He gives us dysfunction but it functions perfectly on the written page. He shows us inequity and everything bad that goes with it: resentment; envy; anger and hatred. He breaks down violence and we understand how it escalates. And in case you’re wondering, yes, the computer game Angry Birds does feature prominently, but only brilliantly. The commentary on social media alone is worth the price of this book, which has the potential to break out of an ever increasing pack and be a surprise hit in 2013 and beyond if it gets the proper publicity. Old school publicity, for literary talent, not new school tweeting for anyone with a smart phone.
The book is a thriller. There is a kidnapping. It is beautifully constructed. Even the long passages of narrative held my interest. I didn’t skip a word. Some I read twice. Even when the words were dark. James Austin Farrell’s dark world and dark words made me smile, often. Not because they were funny; they weren’t. I smiled because the words were so damn good. If you really want to forget yourself for awhile and immerse yourself into a very different world, while learning some important things about society, any society, because our problems are universal, read ANGRY BIRDS. You may learn a few things about yourself too.
For USA Amazon account holders, click the ANGRY BIRDS cover picture for more information about the book. To go to the publishers web site: Spanking Pulp Press, click the picture of author, James Austin Farrell, above for information on how to purchase the book in the United Kingdom and South East Asia.