Reviewed by Jason Brummell ©
I’ve just finished reading GANGSTERS, GEEZERS & MODS by Stephen Pennell and very good it is too.
Whilst all three of the touch-points in the title are therein I would say that it is primarily a story of working class chancers from the second city. In parts it reminds me of Lock-Stock and I can see this being made into a Brit-flick movie as it has an array of notable characters.
The start of the book is great (as is the Introduction featuring, deliberately, the world’s longest sentence) and wonderfully shapes the recent family history of ‘Steve’ the main protagonist and archly describes his working class Brummie background and his love of Aston Villa FC (bit like a yam-yam Prince William - only joking!)
Once I started the book I read it straight through in a few hours. It barrels along at a great pace as the story builds and builds. A ‘page-turner’ in every sense. It possibly helps if you know your Gordon Cowans from your Peter Withes and the rhyming-slang of Birmingham but in truth this is not your run-of-the-mill football hoolie book and the football is only really there as part of the shaping of his life and moral codes (for better or worse). Similarly this is not a ‘Mod’ book but it is also part of the narrative. Nor is it really an out-and-out Gangster tome either. Don’t let this put you off - it is an enjoyable and easy read that keeps its pace throughout.
The best bit of the book for me is that it is genuinely laugh out loud funny. Being working class, humour is everything. It’s our armour, our crutch and in some cases our only weapon. Gangsters, Geezers & Mods is awash with great humour and comedic scenes (the one that ends with one character serving 5 years is a great example). Fans of Irvine Welsh would love the humour in this book - it decorates every page with a healthy dose of gags sprinkled across the dialogue.
It is well-written and there is no let up as the book races to its ‘conclusion’. It is very ‘cinematic’ and as I say I can see this as a Brit-flick, but definitely one with a strong sense of humour throughout.
“Go in there... you’ll love it... it’s a right laugh!”
If you wish to purchase a copy - it is available on Kindle via Amazon but best to get it in print (in my humble) direct from the author - drop him a line - he’s a nice guy! Or:
Jason Brummell is an accomplished author and admin of Our Favourite Shelf (Mod & Beyond in Print). His books include All About My Girl, All Or Nothing and Ready Steady Girls.