“What are you doing in London? Are you even allowed in London?”
“Why the fuck wouldn’t I be allowed in London?” Hoon asked.
“I don’t know. I just sort of assumed there’d be some reason.”
Okay, so: imagine Jack Reacher, only he’s a bug-eyed psychopathic Scottish ex-Detective Superintendent in his fifties called Bob Hoon and he talks like this:
He squirmed, tears springing to his eyes. “You’re breaking my arm.”
“You’ll know I’m breaking your arm when you start spitting jaggy wee fragments of it out of your arse, son,” Hoon told him.
Hoon. The sound of a foghorn lowing in the distance, warning of approaching menace. He was, it seems, a supporting character in a previous series by author JD Kirk, and the bastard apparently rattled around in Kirk’s head enough that he had to release Hoon into his own series. From the afterword, it seems Kirk felt the need to humanise Hoon somewhat for him to support a series, and sets off a fairly textbook clutch of emotional inciting events to launch Hoon on his way. This reader suspects that these events, though fairly powerfully felt and communicated, were really just an excuse for Kirk to get to the good fun stuff – Hoon swearing at people and then fucking them up.
“I like to think I’m different things to different people. To some, I’m a wise fucking mentor, guiding them through these challenging times we find ourselves in. Like yon wee green homeless bastard in Star Trek, or whatever. Wi’ the ears and the funny voice.”
It is, as I suggest by the Reacher comparison, the knight-errant story form, something that Reacher author Lee Child expands upon in his book THE HERO. Hoon’s ageing, ill-preserved carcass soaks up a lot more damage, though, and part of the extended gag is that he’s simply too insane and angry to die. As the book progresses, Hoon’s dialogue gets more florid and eccentric, as if Hoon, in this new phase of his life, is finding his true voice. I particularly enjoyed:
“They’ll no’ just give you a medal for this, they’ll make one in the shape of your face, and then give that one to other, lesser bastards.”
As well as the most puerilely funny interrogation scene I’ve read in years. Hoon is a monster, and, as much as Kirk tries to tack heroic or even decent traits on to him, the monstrousness continually leaks out. Though I wasn’t pleased by the obvious lead-in to a forthcoming sequel, NORTHWIND was a fine entertainment which played with the tropes of its form enjoyably – as Mike Moorcock says, obey and enjoy the genre — and I hope that in the future books JD Kirk gives up a little on making Hoon a functional human, finds some shamelessness and just releases his Creature on the world.