Christmas time. Mistletoe and wine. The season of domestics, religion, adultery, drugs, hangovers, alcohol, parties, fights, unwanted gifts, football matches and goodfucking will to all men.
And that’s just one tour of duty on a TSG van.
Ugly Bus is five cops. Martin. Flub. Dullas. Vince. And good old brain-dead Thrush. Specialist Territorial Support Group officers working a late shift on Boxing Day. Martin Finch is the new sergeant on the group: young, idealistic, following in his late father’s footsteps and desperate to make a difference. Unfortunately the old sweat coppers he’s now working alongside have other plans…
What begins as a routine shift policing a football match rapidly descends into chaos, and Martin is faced with the question: just how far would you go to fit in? The answer will change the lives of everyone on the Ugly Bus – and the life of a young woman drawn into their orbit – forever.
Always remember: what happens on the van, stays on the van.
HERE ARE MY THOUGHTS AND REVIEW
What an opening scene, a woman desperate for help, Where the hell is a policeman when you need one? Exhausted, confused, drunk and obviously brutally abused, then finally sanctuary and a step back to the day before……..
There could only be one thing worse for the TSG (Territory Support Group) then getting a new Sergeant and that is getting a new Sergeant that learnt everything he knows at University not through the ranks like a real Policeman. After having Jim as their Sergeant, one of the lads like them, just happy to take the easy route until retirement, well now it wasn’t going to be easy, no way, all done by the book. Yes well good luck with that! Sergeant Martin Finch had a lot to live up to, being an only child and growing up to stories from his Policeman father every night that unfortunately he leaned more to the fairy tale version of being a policeman than to the real thing, as Martin was now rapidly finding out. Simply putting on a uniform doesn’t make you a good person. Limits were to be pushed to find out how much his team could get away with and where to draw the line for his authority.
This isn’t a good feel factor story. It isn’t good cop bad crook. It is a scary reality of what could be given that all the elements come together in the right order. Mike Thomas has written a dark and compelling novel that takes one day and pushes everything to the edge and beyond. All the bad days rolled into one, but it isn’t all doom and gloom because the story is laced with humour through out. The rebelliousness of this team against authority, I know they are Police Officers, but they don’t have a lot of respect, and this can be beautifully summed up with a daring game of bingo which is quite amusing. I just loved how they got lost in the moment and excitement of winning before remembering just where they were. Magic! But some practical jokes just aren’t so funny when they go wrong.
What happens in the van stays in the van. The rule between them all. But how far will they all go before it is too far and has anyone the courage to say enough. Highly recommended.
HERE IS A LITTLE ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mike Thomas was born in Wales in 1971. For more than two decades he served in the police, working some of Cardiff ’s busiest neighbourhoods in uniform, public order units, drugs teams and CID. He left the force in 2015 to write full time.
His debut novel, Pocket Notebook, was published by William Heinemann (Penguin Random House) and longlisted for the Wales Book of the Year. The author was also named as one of Waterstones’ ‘New Voices’ for 2010. His second novel, Ugly Bus, is currently in development for a six part television series with the BBC.
His new novel (the first in the MacReady series), ‘Ash and Bones’, was released August 2016 by Bonnier Zaffre. ‘Splinter’, the second in the series, is ready for release in 2017.
He lives in the wilds of Portugal with his wife, two children and an unstable, futon-eating dog.
Follow the author on Twitter at @ItDaFiveOh. More details can be found on the website http://www.mikethomasauthor.co.uk
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