Fancy a bacon, Marmite and honey sandwich? Get Plugged...
Never have I read a book that provoked such a staggering array of emotions, ranging from the turned off and bored right through to jaw-dropping admiration and the unfortunate (and unfeminine) snorts of laughter. Back and forth it would go; yawn…wish this bit would get on with it, blink…where did the last hundred pages go? Plugged is Colfer’s first venture into the realm of adult fiction and he certainly succeeds in producing a memorable book that is unsuitable for his younger readers.
Ex-army, now lowly doorman, Danny-boy is an Irish thug living it large Stateside. He’s a complex soul, with the biceps of a soldier, the arsenal of a mass serial killer and the mental stability of toddler. Danny thinks he’s an intelligent ex-soldier. He also carries around the voice of “Ghost Zeb” in his head for the majority of the narrative; which is quirky, bewildering and injects a touch of lightness into this gangster slash something-else-entirely.
The luck of the Irish in this case is all bad. His hair doctor and best mate, Zeb has disappeared in mysterious circumstances, leaving behind a would-be killer that Danny has to bump off using a key. Then, his wish-she-was-my-girl, Connie, gets herself dead outside the seedy Casino they both work at and the clincher is that his apartment gets tossed and shredded. What’s an ex-soldier to do? Well, he digs out his hidden stash of guns and sets about thumping blokes, winging cops, framing a dirty lawyer and hoping he finds his friend, Zeb, alive… he has his hair implants to think about.
Brimming over with American gangster slang, Plugged is Pulp Fiction meets In Bruges, minus the subtle humour (Colfer appears to prefer the obvious and slap-stick), witty one liners and the rugged handsomeness of Bruce Willis or Colin Farell. It takes a while to get into the swing of things, and even when it does, there is something about Daniel’s mentally-ill character and the laboriously deprecating use of Americanisms that is irksome. The style is a blow back to the 1990’s, with the requisite paraphernalia of drugs, sleaze, back room gambling and hard-ass put-ons. Still, at least Danny makes it to the end with his “arse” intact. Mostly. Plugged is a down and dirty, thrill ride with a happy-ever-after ending. I get the distinct feeling that Colfer was aiming his adult debut between the eyes of movie-makers over in La-La land. Me? This is a book I hate to love...
We interview C J Daugherty about Night School
- 10 January 2012