Thursday 1 August 2019

Base Cowboys by Mark Farrer

And another new author for me on the blog today! I am delighted to be joining the blog tour for Base Cowboys, a collection of three  novellas by Mark Farrer. And I knew within the first couple of pages that I was going to enjoy it. Thanks to Emma Welton at damppebbles blog tours for inviting me, and to the author for providing my review copy.

The 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.

Base Cowboys was published on 22nd July 2019 by Funny Business Press and you can purchase it here.

My Review:

As I mentioned above, I hadn't previously read anything by Mark Farrer. These three novellas are written between the full length novels in the Cullen series and are designed to give more insight into main man Cullen and his best, possibly only, friend Big Paul. I'm not sure whether any of the other characters we meet here feature in the other books. Despite not having read anything else in the series, I really enjoyed these and look forward to reading more in the series.

We first meet Big Paul in Dirty Barry. He's ridiculously laid back, although it makes him very unreliable.  His ethos is  "Trust the soup" and who can argue with that? I love that his dogs are called Penn and Teller!

Barry the dentist is horrible with absolutely no redeeming features. Because of his attitude to women, some of the language used to describe them is less than complimentary, but this type of language is confined to this character only. But I did love "...a face like haunted tupperware" even though I have no idea what had it means (although !

Cullen kind of shambles onto the scene. He finds out about Barry by accident, and seeks his own kind of justice for people he doesn't know, with some surprise assistance.

I think Bronchial Billy was my favourite story of the three. I loved Stinky Pete, and laughed out loud at the description of his outfit following the discussion about belt positions on big bellies. You can tell Billy and Pete are good pals because they take part in the "ultra-competitive Scottish sport of insult wielding.'" But they are not fans of Vince. Here, again, some of  the language used by Billy is far from politically correct, but it's only Billy. Maud is absolutely fabulous. And Cullen made me sad for a moment. But generally this is a laugh out loud story. And look out for a very funny description of Republicans and Democrats.

In Pale Ale Rider we meet young thieves Tyler and Tracey. The Brazilian misunderstanding is hysterical. This is the first time I've seen the ending a relationship compared to knocking over a coke machine. I loved Arthur! He's so kind, sweet, innocent and gullible. Freddie is horrible, but I admired his use of the word 'chuffing.'

We learn a wee bit more about Cullen in this tale, and we see lots more of Paul, and it was great to see their scenes together.  And who other than Paul could talk about Darwin in relation to the washing?

Going into these three stories knowing nothing about the characters, I loved them. Cullen is a mysterious enigma who I want to know more about. And Big Paul is adorable, in his own way. The writing is very fluid, very descriptive, full of metaphors and very funny. And the characterisation is brilliant. I look forward to reading more by Mr Farrer.

The Author:

Mark 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.

Author Social Media Links:

Twitter: @mark_farrer
Amazon Author Page:


  1. Thank you for your great review x

  2. Pretty good post. I just stumbled upon your blog and wanted to say that I have really enjoyed reading your blog posts. Any way I'll be subscribing to your feed and I hope you post again soon. Big thanks for the useful info.

    1. Thank you very much!Looking forward to having you on my subscribers list.


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