Scotland’s Highland & Island Arts undertook a critique of this book. Beneath are some of their conclusions.
Novel: The Jock Connection on the trail of Billy Bagman the Colostomy Comic.
This is a comic and ribald novel of 120,000 words, definitely a page-turner, firmly within a comic tradition, maybe somewhere between Flann O’Brien and Tom Sharpe. It is well-written and enjoyable, though at times hardly politically correct, with such unlikely police constables as the London Met Police duo MacNab and MacSporran, who aren’t very pc PC’s.
Like London itself, all life is here.
The book details the misadventure of two maverick Scots constables They are not rebels without a cause however and the pair persevere to see their shenanigans vindicated at the end.
The novel is an almost burlesque tour-de-force but it leans heavily on humour, ranging from farce to the stand-up comedy of Billy Bagman. The humour is relentless but it was never too predictable or too contrived. Much of the humour rests with the relationship between MacNab and MacSporran, and between these chuckle brothers and their more serious colleagues. The humour is not for the politically correct or the faint-hearted, but is of High chuckle/chortle factor throughout.
There is a lot going on here. There is a mayor and his wife, a Divisional Commander and his wife, a police superintendent and his wife, a ribald comedian, the anarchic duo of Harry and Hamish and various supporting characters. There is sex (too much and two little) cross-dressing, plenty of farting and spicy food. This involves trips to Blackpool, undercover work in an Irish community, farcical Masonic jiggery-pokery and some good old Scottish dourness. It is not so much a Road Novel as a Revenge Novel, where Hamish and Harry set out to right wrongs and restore the natural order. With all this going on, the author kept it all ticking over and got us all there in the end. (no pun intended!) It takes some skill to keep everything on track