The opening chapter of Heavy Duty Attitude is prefaced with a newspaper clipping in The Guardian, dated 15 May 2009, about the fatal stabbing of a nightclub “security” guard and another about a retaliatory biker brawl on June 8. The first book in The Brethren trilogy is immediately tied to the first when Iain Parke, a journalist for The Guardian and author of Heavy Duty People, gets invited to meet with the new president of The Brethren MC.
The writing is convincing. Obviously the real-life author is a rider and intimately familiar with outlaw clubs, but the first-person technique of assuming the main character role and inclusion of a real book—Heavy Duty People, ISBN 9780956161512—into a work of fiction becomes only the first step in blurring the line between fact and fantasy. The story is action packed, the plot tight, and the reader doesn’t know what is going to happen next. There are opposing sides and shifting alliances, both inside the club and out, combined with that of an unknown player and a journalist caught in the middle. Like any good mystery or spy thriller there are unexpected twists and you feel like you can almost, but not quite, grasp the thread running through the story as suspense builds towards the climax.
British 1%er clubs formed a bit later than those in the U.S., but the author follows the historical timeline for the consolidation of independent clubs into chapters of international organizations and creates an amalgam from various incidents during the “biker wars” of the last couple of decades. In reality, over a 150 people died in the conflicts between the Hell’s Angels and the Rock Machine in Montreal; the Hell’s Angel’s clubhouse in Copenhagen was attacked with an anti-tank rocket and AK-47’s in 1996; the Warwickshire chapter of the Outlaws MC gunned down a Hells Angel member in 2007; and there have been car bombings. Iain Parke fictionalizes all of these events and brings them together to create a very compelling adventure story that smacks of authenticity.
This is the second book in The Brethren trilogy. The first was Heavy Duty People, a novel so convincing that it has frequently been reviewed as being a biographical novel based on prison interviews with former Brethren president Martin “Damage” Robertson. Although the second book is a sequel and certain elements and characters link them, each stands completely on their own and each has a distinct style of writing. In fact, I read the second before opening the first and now can’t wait for the third, Heavy Duty Trouble, that will be released later this year.
Heavy Duty Attitude
Iain Parke © 2011
bad-press.co.uk, 223 pages.