Bravo Jubilee

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 14 June, 2009, 12:00am
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 June, 2009, 12:00am

Bravo Jubilee
by Charlie Owen
Harper HK$169

Bravo Jubilee begins in spring 1977. A group of renegade policemen find two bodies in a Manchester maisonette. One, a small girl, reduces an officer to tears. But not for long. Grabbing the main suspect (a junkie), he calls him a 'c***', twists 'the man's arm until he was sure it would break' and then stamps on his head. This is a mere hors d'oeuvre for the violence to come as these sensitive hard-men try to wash criminal scum from the streets of northern England. On the plus side, the police have fun as the baddies suffer their comeuppance. One officer is clearly something of a wag, advising a suspect to 'mind your head' just before he slams it 'hard' into a door frame. It's only a matter of time until the accused is 'trussed like a pig and going nowhere'. On one side of the dividing line is a ruthless local gang (the sort that will remove your face if you step out of line), on the other our even more ruthless policemen, who not only bend the rules but also smash them against door frames. Owen writes powerfully and with humour, but construing Bravo Jubilee as entertainment does require a stronger stomach than mind.