Kindle Edition, 331 pg.
Read: January 21-23, 2019
Flockhart has given us a tale of horrible people doing horrible things in the name of various causes. There’s no attempt to minimize these acts, or is there any attempt by anyone to convince the reader that these groups are worthwhile. Just before (what we know as) the Good Friday Agreement is finalized, the 1972 Club (a reference to the Bloody Sunday massacre) sees their way of life and way of funding is at risk. They launch an ingenious and audacious (if troubling) effort to destabilize the British government while lining the Club’s bank accounts. Meanwhile, various intelligence services and armed services are at work, too, and showing a similar disregard for lives as the terrorists do.
Each group is convinced they’re in the right—at least they act as if they are. Flockhart doesn’t try to make any of the characters sympathetic, they aren’t charming ne’er-do-wells. They are soldiers, killers, and/or those who aid them. The reader is free to apply their own value to the actions taken by the characters. It’s uncommon for a writer to do this and a refreshing take.
I have to warn you, there is a rape scene/storyline that many of readers of The Irresponsible Reader will find offensive (all of the writers of The Irresponsible Reader did). I don’t take the position that rape is an unmentionable subject in fiction–but there’s a way to use it to depict reality and depravity responsibly, and Flockhart fails at this.
I feel bad about saying this, but if Brian May played a concert out of tune, someone should say it. In that vein, more often than not, Flockhart doesn’t use commas where he needs them. It’s distracting and detracts from the text (or I wouldn’t say anything). Similarly, his dialogue reads like the script from a drama from The Golden Age of Radio. which does create problems for the reader.
Ultimately, the technical problems were too much for me to overcome, and while Flockhart’s approach to the subject was atypical and fresh, it didn’t win me over. I can see where many readers would see the appeal to it (and many have). For readers who appreciate a bare-bones style and frank discussion of the acts of these various groups and how they attempt to achieve their ends, Operation Large Scotch: O.L.S. should prove to be a bracing and compelling read.
My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the novel) they provided.