BOOK SPOTLIGHT: Base Cowboys by Mark Farrer

Today I welcome the Book Tour for the entertaining Base Cowboys by Mark Farrer. Along with this spotlight post, I’ll be giving my take on the novel here in a bit. But before I get to talking about the book, let’s start by learning a little about this here book, okay?

Book Details:

Book Title: Base Cowboys by Mark Farrer
Release date: July 22, 2019
Format: Paperback/Ebook
Length: 356 pages

Book Blurb:

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:

Dirty Barry
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.

Bronchial Billy
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.

About Mark Farrer:

Mark FarrerMark 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.

Mark Farrer’s Social Media:

Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Website ~ Amazon Author Page

Purchase Links:

Amazon UK ~ Amazon US

My thanks to damppebbles blog tours for the invitation to participate in this tour and the materials (including a copy of the collection) they provided.

June 2019 Report

Wow, I knew I was distracted this month — but only 18 books? And one was a picture book! Still, 5345 pages finished is nothing to sneeze at. And a 3.8 average is great. So I’m not complaining at all — just noticing. Pretty good month in the end.

So, here’s what happened here in June.

Books/Novels/Novellas Read/Listened to:

Dead Inside The World's Greatest Mousetrap State of the Union
5 Stars 3 Stars 4 1/2 Stars
The Big Kahuna Deception Cove Even Dogs in the Wild
1 Star 4 Stars 4 Stars
How Not to Die Rediscovering the Holy Spirit Paper Son
4 1/2 Stars 3 Stars 4 1/2 Stars
Null Set One Salt Sea (Audiobook) The October Man
3.5 Stars 4 1/2 Stars 3 Stars
The October Man Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 3: Christology Magic for Liars
4 Stars 4 Stars 3.5 Stars
Fletch Won (Audiobook) Flynn (Audiobook) Marah Chase and the Conqueror's Tomb
4 Stars 5 Stars 4 Stars

Still Reading:

 Finest Sh*t! Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 4: Soteriology      


5 Stars 2 2 1/2 Stars
4 1/2 Stars 4 2 Stars
4 Stars 6 1 1/2 Stars
3.5 Stars 2 1 Star 1
3 Stars 3
                                   Average = 3.8

Reviews Posted:

TBR Pile/Mound/Heap:

Physical Books: 3 Added, 2 Read, 25 Remaining
E-Books: 4 Added, 1 Read, 23 Remaining
Audiobooks: 4 Added, 3 Read, 5 Remaining

Book Challenge Progress:

2019 Library Love Challenge

2019 Library Love Challenge

  1. State of the Union by Nick Hornby
  2. The Big Kahuna by Janet Evanovich, Peter Evanovich
  3. Deception Cove by Owen Laukkanen
  4. How Not to Die by Michael Greger M.D. FACLM, Gene Stone
  5. Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey (link forthcoming)
  6. Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin (link forthcoming)

While I Was Reading 2019 Challenge

Nothing this month

LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

#LetsReadIndie Reading Challenge

  1. Dead Inside by Noelle Holten
  2. The World’s Greatest Mousetrap by B.C.R. Fegan, Fanny Liem (link forthcoming)
  3. Kill for Me by Rebecca Bradley
2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

2019 Cloak & Dagger Challenge

  1. Dead Inside by Noelle Holten
  2. Kill for Me by Rebecca Bradley
  3. The Big Kahuna by Janet Evanovich, Peter Evanovich
  4. Deception Cove by Owen Laukkanen
  5. Even Dogs in the Wild by Ian Rankin (link forthcoming)
  6. Paper Son by S.J. Rozan: Lydia and Bill in their most foreign setting yet — Mississippi
  7. Null Set by SL Huang: Cas Russell — the world’s most violent mathematician — gets proactive fighting crime.
  8. Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey (link forthcoming)
  9. Fletch Won by Gregory McDonald, Dan John Miller (link forthcoming)
  10. Flynn by Gregory McDonald, Donald Corren (link forthcoming)
  11. Marah Chase and the Conqueror’s Tomb by Jay Stringer (link forthcoming)
Humor Reading Challenge 2019

Humor Reading Challenge 2019

  1. The Big Kahuna by Janet Evanovich, Peter Evanovich
2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

2019 Cloud of Witnesses Reading Challenge

  1. Reformed Dogmatics, Volume 3: Christology by Geerhardus Vos (link forthcoming)

How was your month?

Opening Lines – Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

Head & Shoulders used to tell us that, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” That’s true for wearing dark shirts, and it’s especially true for books. Sometimes the characters will hook the reader, sometimes the premise, sometimes it’s just knowing the author — but nothing beats a great opening for getting a reader to commit. This is one of the better openings* I’ve read recently. Would it make you commit? How can you not?

It might take a little while to get there, but I’ll tell you everything, and I’ll tell you the truth. As best I can. I used to lie, but when I tell you the story, you’ll understand why I had to lie. You’ll understand that I didn’t have a choice.

I just wanted to do my job.

from Magic for Liars by Sarah Gailey

* Technically not the opening, there’s a Prologue (or something, I don’t have the book on me) — it’s the start of Chapter 1. But I count that as the opening.

Knots & Crosses by Ian Rankin

Knots & CrossesKnots & Crosses

by Ian Rankin
Series: John Rebus, #1

Hardcover, 256 pg.
Minotaur Books, 1987

Read: February 1 – 4, 2016

Yet there had to be clues. There had to be. Rebus drank his coffee and felt his head spin. He was feeling like a detective in a cheap thriller, and wished that he could turn to the last page and stop all his confusion, all the death and the madness and the spinning in his ears.

After 21 novels and 30 years of being in print, I finally decided to give DS John Rebus and his author Ian Rankin a shot, it looks like they might stick around for a bit. Seriously, I’ve seen the names a lot over the last few years, and despite being unimpressed with his appearance in the Face/Off collection a couple of years ago (I’m sure I’ll change my opinion once I get to know Rebus a bit), when I needed a new mystery series to sink my teeth into, this looked like a good candidate.

In Knots & Crosses we meet DS John Rebus, a former SAS officer, now a Detective Sergeant in Edinburgh. He’s scraping by, he has an ex-wife and daughter; a small, dusty apartment; stacks of books; a pretty successful brother that he really has no relationship with; a large capacity for drinking; a surly attitude; and a not-that-successful program to limit his smoking. On the whole, that sounds a lot like many other fictional detectives (police and otherwise) — but there’s something about him that doesn’t seem that cookie-cutter when you read him. Maybe it’s just Rankin’s writing, maybe there’s something else — I’m not sure yet, I’ll have a better idea in a book or two (which will also give Rankin the time to distinguish Rebus). There is one other thing that separates him, but that’s the crux of this book, so I won’t get into it.

There’s a serial killer at loose in Edinburgh, killing girls and sending little notes to Rebus, taunting him about it. Sadly, Rebus doesn’t realize that for quite some time. Whoops. Not that there’s any reason for him to have seen the link, really — the killer was really more clever than he needed to be on that front. Rebus is part of the army of police working on his case, while dealing with some personal demons of his own — hopefully, the latter doesn’t prevent him from doing his part to help with the former.

The best part of the book for me was Rankin’s writing — the book is full of great sentences. Not so much that it distracts from the characters or story, but enough that you can admire his prose while enjoying the rest. This book wasn’t intended to be the beginning of a series, and doesn’t really feel like one — it’s a character study (probably a couple of characters, really), but one that’s rich enough that Rankin could come back to Rebus and build. There’s no way that future cases will be solved the way that this one was, this isn’t a prototype for Rebus’ methods, but an introduction to the detective and his world.

I liked Rebus — well, not “liked,” really. But as a character, he’s someone I want to spend more time with. Like Harry Bosch, he doesn’t seem to be a likable person, but frequently, those are the kind of guys you like reading about. I also liked that he wasn’t some sort of super cop. At one point, he’s described as not “a very good” cop, merely “a good one” (or something quite like that, I don’t have the book on me to get the exact wording). I imagine that over another 20 novels, he’ll get better — and I look forward to seeing that growth.

I really wish I’d known what “Noughts and Crosses” was before the killer mentioned it late in the book, sending me to google. I’m not sure it would’ve improved the book much for me, but I’d have appreciated aspects more and when I should’ve. Stupid “two countries separated by the same language”-thing….

Anyway, a solid beginning to the series, and more importantly, a good read for those who like police procedurals. I’ve already got the sequel on my shelf and will be getting to it in a week or so.


3 Stars

2017 Library Love Challenge