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Customer Review

on 28 October 2013
Who is Iain Parke? Do you know? Does he know? Does he even exist? Mystery surrounds Iain Parke just as much as it surrounds his novels which have become a sensation in the past few years.
His foray into the murky world of bikers in the UK has seen him become a cult figure in a traditionally close knit and misunderstood community. The Brethren Trilogy was intelligent, original and captivating as each novel unravelled and blurred the lines between fantasy and reality. Parke himself became one of the main characters in the books in a fascinating series of novels that gripped the reader from first page to last.
Parke always finishes his books with a disclaimer about his novels being fiction but even after reading them I am not so sure. You become so engrossed in what he has written that the final disclaimer still feels like part of the novel; another path he is leading you down to confuse you, to throw you off the scent.
It was with that background that I gulped down his latest offering - Operation Bourbon. The book is presented as a jigsaw of transcripts, police evidence, news stories and previously unpublished material from the original trilogy that the Publishers have put together. While the original novels focussed almost entirely on the biker world in England this one is firmly focussed on the same world north of the border. It follows the incredible undercover journey of a police officer who spends years infiltrating an MC and his trials and tribulations as he becomes part of that world.
The enigmatic way the novel is pieced together captivates throughout. The beauty of Parke's style is that nobody in these novels is a hero but we are drawn into their lives and we have a fascination for who they are and how they live. More so than the Brethren Trilogy, Operation Bourbon describes in great detail how the world of the MC works, how you get into it and what it means to be in it. It is a form of anti-society but rather than being pure fantasy it is, of course, based entirely on fact.
Parke's description of this world is amongst the best I have ever read - and that includes myriad true biker story books that exist out there. He treats his subject with respect but not reverence and that is key.
Operation Bourbon is a must read not just for anybody who has interest in the biking world but for anybody who likes to read a well structured, well thought out story with real characters and descriptive excellence.
It forces you to re-read paragraphs to be sure you have taken in what was written, it makes you question what you are reading and most of all it messes with your head. But that is exactly what Parke wants - if he even exists.
I enjoyed my first shot of Bourbon. I expect, I hope and I crave more shots to follow. Take a bow Iain Parke, whoever you are.
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4.1 out of 5 stars