Urban Hunters Collection Books (1 to 3): Billy’s Gotta Get Some Girls- Gary Taaffe


I could only ever give this five stars. I was almost convinced about that right from my first glimpse of the cover art.
I’ll talk about Billy’s walkabout first, before I tell you why all five. . . . . Come to think of it, no I won’t, You’ll have to buy Taaffe’s books for that.
I give five for novelty, for creative reinvention of old themes, for daring to talk in a humorous way about cultural diversity, and of course for getting most of the basic mechanics of writing correct.
This book isn’t perfect. Is there such a book?
The episodic nature means that we don’t get big bang book endings, but rather plot bumps, with some ongoing resolution. In other words, the Urban Hunter series, is written like TV episodes. The concept works very well.
I quite like big bang endings, resolution if you like, but I am enchanted by the way Taaffe hooks the reader. He so well creates the need to read the next part, of which there seems to be ever more.
Of course, as is the fashion, people like to have the box-set of episodes to work through, which I assume is why Taaffe has brought together the first three shortish episodes into one book. This is episode 1 to 3, though apparently, as of today, the count of episodes completed is at least six. I have to say that I prefer longer books, so I’ve never read any of these stories independently.
The writing is concise, accurate, easy on the eye and brain, and full of energy. The comedy, of all colour and tones, is pretty good. Some of the humorous ideas have been around for all of time, but Taaffe gives them all a good spring clean. The read is so alive that I actually felt as though I was watching film, not reading. Some of the humour, even when obvious and puerile, has a real grittiness about it. It sandpapers away at out preconceptions even as it emphasises them. There are plenty of underlying serious issues covered, particularly concerning our expectations about each other. Crocodile Dundee set aside, this is a story about a real native Aussie bush fella plunging himself into urban society.
This book is definitely Youth and Young Adult material, with plenty for all generations up to and including decrepit. I’m nearer 60 than 50, and am really enjoying Taaffe’s episodic creations. There are great dollops of young humour, as well as a plethora of freshly angled peeks at our social diversities and irregularities. Taaffe’s light style bounces the reader over the pages drawing one to finish each episode with a smile, and then to hardly draw breath before craving the next. This isn’t going to make one see the World in a different fashion exactly, but it is extremely good fun. Most of all I now need to read on to see if Billy’s got his girl.



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