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Operation Bourbon: The First Chapter Paperback – October 19, 2013
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Top customer reviews
Overall, Parke writes pretty well, but I am perplexed by the construction of all his books. He doesn't follow any of the rules for fiction writing. And it seems like his books get very little real editing and not much proofreading. There are a disturbing number of errors for a professionally "published" book, even by today's pathetic "e-standards".
In all of his books, dialogue as written my Parke tends to be confusing. He uses single quotation marks instead of doubles, even for words a character speaks out loud. Spoken words are supposed to be encased in double quotations marks, and a character's unspoken thoughts should be placed inside single quotation marks. In Parke's books, not every line of dialogue gets its own paragraph, as is the norm. Sometimes he will have a character recite a few sentences encased in single quotation marks, which are immediately followed by another character's response attached to the same paragraph within separate single quotation marks. And to make things worse he very seldom attributes dialogue to a character, using clarifications like: "...said Joe" or "...Tom asked". The reader is supposed to know by the context who said what. In a long conversation this gets confusing. And this is even a greater problem with Operation Bourbon, which has no traditional dialogue (explanation below).
In addition, Parke never indents paragraphs. He really needs to learn how literature, especially fiction is properly structured. Where have all the editors gone? It seems they were all fired after the debut of "e-publishing".
In all Parke's outlaw biker books, I have found his characters' road names to a problem. Maybe it's a cultural thing, but wimpy names like Gibbo, Dazza, Tommo, Wibble and other silly names like that sound more like they should be part of the Marxx Brothers than a band of tough-guy outlaw bikers. It's baby-talk gibberish and it's hardly intimidating.
Why this book is worse than the others:
In Operation Bourbon, the entire story is told without narration. Instead, Parke tries unsuccessfully to get fancy by using the well-worn technique of inserting fictional documents like "reprinted" newspaper articles, police reports, outlaw motorcycle club manuals or their orders for operating, and transcripts of police surveillance recordings (more on that silliness later). We are also treated to transcripts of interviews by Parke's fictional, eponymous alter-ego with some of the characters. The use of a few of these little gimmicks in a book isn't such a bad thing but Parke overuses them to fill the entire book. Yes, the entire book is made up of such... stuff. To further confuse the reader Parke sometimes gets the dates of these documents confused. In one instance there is a surveillance transcript from 1994 immediately followed by a transcript dated in 1992 of a conversation between two cops discussing that same transcript. It's sloppy and makes an already tough read even worse. But the worst part is, none of the many transcripts have any attributions to tell the reader who is saying what. This is remarkably stupid because in reality all transcriptions must be done with the speaker's name preceding every line of speech. No transcriber would ever bother NOT to identify a speaker (when possible, of course). A transcription without any attributions is absolutely WORTHLESS in court, and readers of this book will find out why. By the way, why would two cops record themselves discussing an investigation? Even stupider, why was it transcribed?
POSSIBLE SPOILERS: As for the crime drama or thriller aspect (as this book is claimed to be), Parke has not done proper research, especially on the law and police procedures. Does he really expect us to believe that cops in Scotland would put one of their own undercover in a "gang" for that many years on end? Not even way back in the uncivilized days of the 1990s. Or that they'd let him ascend to become national president of the club? Or that he could get married to a woman who didn't know who or what he really was? Or that said undercover cop could plant listening devices everywhere he wanted in all the clubhouses? Logistically, this might be possible, though very difficult, but from a legal and administrative standpoint it would be utterly impossible without a team of lawyers and administrative personnel. Sure, these cops are somewhat corrupt, as all cops in biker fiction are, but they're at least trying to pretend to be playing by the rules. Parke is presenting this as regular police procedure, which is ludicrous. Most preposterously of all, Parke seems to believe that these devices can run continuously, around the clock, for years on end, constantly recording or transmitting everything to recorders somewhere. In any free country like the UK that would take court orders stating where and for how long the recorders could run, plus other information a judge would have to approve, and the cops would need to show the results, especially if they wanted to renew these court orders, which would expire every so often. In what fantasy world do cops run around placing bugs in numerous locations inside several different buildings, which then magically pick up and record everything with no further effort? In Parke's magical biker underworld, it seems. So who is changing out all the cassette or reel-to-reel tapes, back in the day before digital? And who would be changing the batteries in the listening devices, which would need to be done regularly, if not often, in these heavily restricted areas inside biker clubhouses? Nobody.
In addition to the several plot holes, inconsistencies, poor research, terrible structure of this book and all the far-fetched nonsense, the ending was abrupt, ridiculous, and, due to the weird method of storytelling employed throughout this book, hard to understand. Don't bother with this one.
To steal a line from the book "C'mon son is that all you got"
Better luck with the next one.
I'm giving it 3 stars as I really enjoy his writing overall.