#Spotlight on Fat Boy by Joseph Cobb, including an #Extract ~ Contemporary Dark Comedy set in the West Country

Today I’m pleased to share an extract from Fat Boy by Joseph Cobb. Before I do, here’s what the book is about…

Way out west, in the tumbling greens of England, something’s going down. Two boys attempt an escape from the clutches of their poisonous parents… A good policeman fights to sidestep the corruption that blows like hellfire down his neck… A calamitous filmmaker and her witless lead actor scramble desperately to overcome their mucky pasts and make a Hollywood hit… A trio of nude-nutted nasties thrash their way through the picturesque countryside, collecting debts but finding more than they expected… Then there’s Captain Grubbe: the eminent, manipulative and falsely titled antichrist. He hosts a spectacular annual Christmas party, and this year’s is set to be even more extraordinary than usual.

Fat Boy is a treacherously fictitious rhapsody, taking a tongue-in-cheek look at the best and the worst of humanity and treating it with the disrespect it deserves – love and hate, corruption and extortion, car chases, gunfights and high jinks, all set against the green and pleasant land of the English countryside. It is ludicrous. It is raucous. It is a modern classic.

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Inkker Hauser ~ Part 2: Literastein

  • InkkerAuthor: Phil Conquest
  • Kindle Edition
  • Category: Fiction, Dark Comedy
  • five-stars

Having spent a pleasant day preparing to harness his muse and strolling around his local neighbourhood committing acts of literary vandalism, our hero contemplates his research into such matters as he prepares for his date with the gorgeous Tylissa. 
The date does not work out as he had hoped. In fact, the whole night turns into a disaster of spectacular proportions, but the worst surprise of all waits for him on his return home….

Part two of the story of Inkker Hauser, Literastein, follows straight on from Rum Hijack and takes place over the course of a day. After stocking up on groceries and booze, Inkker decides he needs new clothes for his date that evening and proceeds to buy several shirts and a couple of trouser suits which would also, he thought, further his intellectual self-image. After delivering a tirade of abuse at his Twitter timeline and logging in to his account to change his name to Inkker Hauser, he has an idea and takes a trip into town. 

I popped the lid off the pen and turned to the title page just inside the book. An inch or so below the title, in large letters, as neatly as I could under the circumstances, I wrote: #InkkerHauser. I put the lid on the pen quickly, closed the book, got up and returned it to the shelf. A wave of exhilaration shot through me.

Being privy to Inkker’s inner monologue and observations is fairly intense, his thoughts are quite extreme but that only makes him a more captivating protagonist, maybe in part because he’s a loner, mostly scorned by others, has a fragile grip on reality and he’s hurting. The weirdness and eccentricities are increasing. And he must be slowly killing himself with amount of alcohol he consumes.

Well lubricated before his date after several afternoon drinks in the pub, and more at home watching the video documentary of the Kursk submarine disaster, the evening was destined to be a major disaster. Inkker still firmly believes he will write the literary masterpiece he believes himself capable of, if he could just write that first elusive sentence. The more he drinks, the more he tries to impress Tylissa, the more outrageous and unpredictable his behaviour and dialogue become.  His despair as the evening goes downhill with increasing speed is tangible. And when he gets home, to top it all off, he learns he has a new neighbour. This information, coupled with the events of the last few hours, sends him into a tailspin and causes quite a meltdown. 

As with Rum Hijack, this is a very out of the ordinary, well written, dark, entertaining and humorous instalment in the tortuous life of our protagonist. I could pull out any number of great quotes, but the one that sticks in my mind is Inkker’s belief that there is a ‘space reserved for me in the car park of the literary kingdom.’

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

About the author

PhilConquestPhil comes from southern England and now lives in the US. He is a radical, innovative, avant-garde writer whose prose attracts readers every time it is encountered. His influences are many but he has been compared favourably with Rimbaud, Bukowski and Dosteovesky for his dark and earthy tales of outsiders on the edge.

Inkker Hauser Part 1: Rum Hijack, his debut on Amazon, is the darkly comic tale of a frustrated and slightly insane would-be writer who begins taking out his “writers’ block” on the local community. Inkker Hauser Part 2 is the follow-up and contains a hysterical, surreal and agonising karaoke sequence, which will probably never be equalled.

Rum Hijack was recently included in a list of the top 50 Best Indie books of the year in 2014.

Phil’s other main interests are music and basketball – and is a fan of the Chicago Bulls. His Bukowskiesque blog, Motel Literastein, about an Englishman living on the fringes of society and sanity in a motel in Philadelphia, is controversial, confrontational and cathartic, but never dull, beautifully written and well worth following.

He will probably never return home.

Author links ~ GoodreadsTwitterWebsite

Inkker Hauser ~ Part 1: Rum Hijack

  • InkkerAuthor: Phil Conquest
  • Published: September 2014 by Phil Conquest
  • Category: Fiction, Dark Comedy
  • four-half-stars

One day he will write the masterpiece that renders critics speechless and seats him on the throne of literary infamy. 

It’s inside him…somewhere. 

In the meantime, between going from one failed relationship to the next, he sits in his dead grandfather’s flat watching videos of nautical disasters, scorning bestselling ebook writers and searching for his elusive muse. 

One day he will show them all. 

All he has to do is write that first sentence…

Beginning with the violent demise of his computer by his own hand, or rather hammer, the unconventional and strange narrator drew me in almost immediately. He is a man of repetitive behaviours, habitual visits to the same few places and routinely eating the same food (potatoes and coleslaw for three weeks.)  His extreme frustration at the lack of inspiration and the belief he is a literary genius, destined to write a masterpiece if only he could get past the dreaded writer’s block, jumps off the page. As soon as the intense excitement of creative power engulfs him, it’s gone leaving him out of touch with reality and reasoning that it ‘shows how potent and unstable a mix my talent is,’ which I think applies more to his balance of mind.

Living in his late grandfather’s flat surrounded by older neighbours, he feels isolated and lonely by design, yet needs emotional support. There are nine televisions usually on different channels balanced atop each other in his living room and scattered about the completely disorganised flat, among other things, are several model submarines, lights stolen from road works and a fish named Kursk, who he talks to affectionately. He often tries to commune spiritually with his grandfather..and his fish. 

Sometimes I go into my grandfather’s old and now empty bedroom to meditate and try to attempt some sort of psychic connection with him, hoping he’ll come to me from the spirit world, to give me some sign or message to confirm that I am indeed destined for literacy notoriety.

Not helped by the ample quantities of alcohol he consumes, along with very strange eating habits, his agonising attempts to begin his masterpiece somehow make him quite engaging, regardless of his obvious dislike, and avoidance of, people in general and especially writers. Social media doesn’t escape his contempt and gets a severe verbal bashing. To confound even further, he goes out of his way to be kind to a lady in a charity shop, who is having a one-sided (naturally) conversation with a ceramic elephant. And when he finds a travel typewriter he’s sure it’s a sign. ‘It’s all in there, I thought. My book is in there somewhere.’

An unusual and cleverly written novella, it’s a dark, humorous and touching story. And in spite of, or perhaps because of, all the quirks and weirdness, the impossible highs and the desperate lows, he’s a compelling protagonist. I so want him to succeed before his tortured soul is pulled over the edge and into the abyss. Looking forward to the next instalment.

Book links ~ Amazon UK Amazon US

About the author

PhilConquestPhil comes from southern England and now lives in the US. He is a radical, innovative, avant-garde writer whose prose attracts readers every time it is encountered. His influences are many but he has been compared favourably with Rimbaud, Bukowski and Dosteovesky for his dark and earthy tales of outsiders on the edge.

Inkker Hauser Part 1: Rum Hijack, his debut on Amazon, is the darkly comic tale of a frustrated and slightly insane would-be writer who begins taking out his “writers’ block” on the local community. Inkker Hauser Part 2 is the follow-up and contains a hysterical, surreal and agonising karaoke sequence, which will probably never be equalled.

Rum Hijack was recently included in a list of the top 50 Best Indie books of the year in 2014.

Phil’s other main interests are music and basketball – and is a fan of the Chicago Bulls. His Bukowskiesque blog, Motel Literastein, about an Englishman living on the fringes of society and sanity in a motel in Philadelphia, is controversial, confrontational and cathartic, but never dull, beautifully written and well worth following.

He will probably never return home.

Author links ~ Goodreads, Twitter, Website