by Christian Thompson
Bradford's answer to Spenser is is not your run-of-the-mill private dick. He is a martial arts expert, philosophy graduate, practitioner of Chinese medicine and an ex-psychiatric nurse.
In CHRIS O'BRIEN's (O.B. to his friends) first outing, That Which Doesn't Kill You, he is hired by Tim Marconi, manager of Bradford nightclub Club Zed, to find out who is dealing drugs on his premises. It doesn't sound like too hard a case to crack until a dead body turns up outside the club and the police get involved. O.B. stays with the case and when his loyal sidekick Kelp is hospitalised he becomes even more determined. Assisted by Kelp's tough sister, Debra (think a Susan Silverman that kick ass!), the investigation takes O.B. to the depths of Dorset after elusive mystery man Greg D'ancona. The plot is fair from original but the novel is an enjoyable enough mix of gritty noir and menís adventure fun.
O.B. returns in Sing No Sad Songs, with him mixing it up with a neo-nazi gang, an evil NHS psychiatric manager and a would-be werewolf. There is more than a nod to the Magnificent Seven (or more than likely Parker's Potshot) when O.B. brings together a team of British "hardnuts" to take on the neo-nazis. A violent but very funny book that has more than a bit in common with Mike Ripley's Angel.
Christian Thompson is a qualified acupuncturist and masseur, who worked in the NHS for 8 years as a nurse himself, and now works for Social Services. He lives in England.
Respectfully submitted by Terry Fountain.
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