Dark Side of the Moon

Les Wood

Foreword Reviews - - Reviews Adult Fiction -

Freight Books Soft­cover $14.95 (316pp) 978-1-911332-00-8

Full of jaggedly po­etic charm and twisted hu­mor, this is a fine novel about a ca­per gone wrong.

Les Wood’s Dark Side of the Moon is the painfully funny tale of a jewel heist that never should have hap­pened and a plan gone un­sur­pris­ingly wrong.

Set in Glas­gow’s grit­tier cor­ners, the novel as­sem­bles its mot­ley cast: sadis­tic crime boss Bod­dice, un­will­ing en­forcer Davie Pren­tice, wary Kyle, a pair of twins no one can ever seem to tell apart, and tech ex­pert Boag, who uses the chil­dren’s game Op­er­a­tion and other “DIY crap” as in­spi­ra­tion for his gad­getry.

Bod­dice feels that his crim­i­nal em­pire is be­ing en­croached upon by for­eign­ers and wants to re­claim power by mas­ter­mind­ing the theft of a flaw­less pur­ple di­a­mond called the Dark Side of the Moon. It may also be the name of a Pink Floyd song, Bod­dice notes, and not a bad one at that. The di­a­mond will soon be on ex­hibit at a ma­jor Glas­gow depart­ment store, and Bod­dice in­sists that his gang is go­ing to steal it. No one will sus­pect them, he prom­ises, be­cause their im­age is one of “strictly drugs” and of not be­ing bright enough to pull off such a so­phis­ti­cated job.

Wood’s cre­ation of this un­der­world is bril­liantly in­sid­i­ous. Whether hard­ened, hap­less, or both, th­ese men are memorable and vivid, caught up in spi­rals of greed, fear, vi­o­lence, or just numb con­fu­sion. The gen­eral run­ning di­a­logue is a slangfest of Glaswe­gian ar­got, keen in­sight, and pro­fane bab­ble, yet it never seems gra­tu­itous or forced. And at the base of th­ese var­i­ous mis­ad­ven­tures is of­ten a sur­pris­ing hu­man­ity: lost chords of com­pas­sion, re­morse, and dim flick­ers of hope.

Wood thor­oughly fol­lows the fail­ure of the rob­bery as it goes from bad to very bad in an ir­re­versible course. The huge vi­o­let di­a­mond has be­come so real to Bod­dice’s crew that they ac­tu­ally feel awe upon see­ing it “in the flesh.” The com­plex­i­ties of the se­cu­rity sys­tem sur-

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