Okay, so it looks like the Kelly Club is finally closing down - it had to happen sooner or later. And it isn’t as if Les Norton will starve. He has money snookered away, he owns his house, and his blue-chip investment - a block of flats in Randwick - must be worth a fortune by now. Except that the place is falling down, the council is reclaiming the land, there’s been a murder in Flat 5, and the tenants are the biggest bunch of misfits since the Manson family.
This book was first published in 1996 under the title Rider on the Storm and Other Bits of Barrett. It was a one-off book that got under the radar and a lot of Robert G. Barrett's readers weren't aware of it. Fifteen years later, to mark the 25th anniversary of the first Les Norton novel, this collection is being republished. It's the original stories re-edited, as well as some classic articles and columns on a range of subjects such as publishing, fame, dates, and the dole. Plus two brand new Les Norton short stories and a feature article, "Bowling for Bukowski".
It isn't every day you help murder someone with poison in an illegal casino, whisk his body halfway across town in a Rolls Royce after robbing him, then bury his body in tonnes of concrete underneath an international airport - all more or less with the co-operation of two detectives. Les Norton is back in town! Trouble seems to follow Les like a blue heeler after a mob of sheep. Maybe it's his job - being a bouncer at the infamous and illegal Kelly Club in Kings Cross isn't exactly the stuff a quiet life is made of.
All Les Norton wanted was a quiet coffee and Sacher cake at the Hakoah Club in Bondi, and to be left alone to sort out his troubled love life. How he let notorious conman Kelvin Kramer talk him up to Surfers Paradise for five days, Les will never know. He went along expecting some relaxation in the sun, the chance to earn a little money, and possibly a little fresh romance. Les definitely got the earn. He certainly got the girl. But what Norton mainly got in Surfers Paradise was trouble. In a size 40 Double-D cup.
The Tesla Legacy, set in Newcastle, Muswellbrook, Scone and the mysterious Burning Mountain in New South Wales, is an action-packed, pace-driven thriller woven with intrigue and a delightful touch of humour and romance, and an ending guaranteed to send chills down your spine.
Les Norton, a big red-headed country boy from Queensland, has just arrived in the big smoke and is set to make his mark. Working as a bouncer at an illegal casino in the Cross, Les encounters a number of fascinating characters who make up the seamier side of one of the most exciting cities in the world – gamblers, conmen, bookies, bouncers, hookers and hit men, who ply their respective trades from the golden sands of Bondi to the tainted gutters of Kings Cross... usually on the wrong side of the law.
All it took was a summer's day and a flat tire on his push-bike, and Les is out on bail and on the run from a gun-happy street gang intent on a drive-by. So, with Warren's help, Les Norton defendant, becomes Len Gordon film director, safely ensconced at the ultra-swish Opal Springs Health Resort till Eddie can sort things out back in Sydney.
Les figured by tossing $50,000 into the Gull's movie he'd become the next Sam Goldwyn. Only someone put a bomb on the film set. And who gets the blame? Now Norton's a fugitive from the law, desperate to prove his innocence.
Arranging the hit on Fabio was a low act, and Les knew it. And when you get Sydney's deadliest killer to do the hit, there's always a quid pro quo. In this case, Les had to take a trip to Nimbin to help an old army mate of Eddie Salita's open a bar, the Double L Ranch. Which suited Les, since he had to take his friend Tony Nathan to the waxhead wedding of the year at Bluey's Beach, and it was on the way. The waxhead wedding of the year turned into the ethnic brawl of the decade.
Moving into his old flame Susie's flat in Bondi should have been a piece of cake for Les Norton - except that Price and Eddie had other ideas. There were two bodies buried under the handball courts at the Bondi baths. The man to get them out? Major Garrick Lewis, aka, The Gecko. With Norton for company, The Gecko literally took Bondi, and everything that went with it, in stride - Mossad hit squads, the KGB, ASIO, yobbo builders and loose women looking for action. And for once, Les is flat out keeping up.
"Ace! Loved it!"
All easy-going butcher Bob Davis wanted after his divorce was to get on with his job, have a few beers with his mates, and be left alone. But this was Sydney in the early Eighties-the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic, street gangs, gay bashings and murders. When a gang of skinheads bash Davo's old school- friend to death simply because he was gay, and leave Davo almost dead in an intensive care unit, they unleash a crazed killer onto the city streets.
"Bit slow in the middle"
They don't call him Lucky Les for nothing. A ticket in a raffle and Norton was off to the US of A, where it turned out hot, red hot, and it wasn't just the weather. Night club brawls, mafia hitmen, and too many girls called Lori, all in a sea of margaritas. Even for Les Norton, it was just too hot to handle. So it was off to the Caribbean, where Millwood Downie - schoolteacher, historian, and would-be stand-up comic - helps Les trace his family tree and possibly uncover the biggest earn ever.
"Listening to the makes me feel good"
Les thought that playing minder to Peregrine Normanhurst III sounded like a dead-set snack: Les would keep Peregrine out of trouble. So what if he was on the run from the IRA? They’d never follow him to Australia… But Les quickly finds himself thrust into an adventure that moves at breakneck speed from the corridors of power in Canberra to the grimy tenements of Belfast, to climax in a nerve-shattering, blood-spattered shoot out on a survivalist fortress in the Tweed Valley.
There's no two ways about Les Norton - the carrot-topped country boy who works as a bouncer at Sydney's top illegal casino. He's tough and he's mean. He's got a granite jaw, fists like hams, and they say the last time he took a tenner from his wallet Henry Lawson blinked at the light. Lethal but loyal, he's always good for a laugh. In this, the third collection of Les Norton adventures, Les gets his boss off the hook. But not without the help of the boy from Binjiwunyawunya. Les then finds himself in a spot of bother in Long Bay Gaol then in a lot more bother on a St. Kilda tram in Melbourne.
"Great, captures the true essence of AUSTRALIA "
Norton's old friend turned out to be the biggest brothel owner in America. Madam to the stars. Through her, Les met Mitzi Moonkiss; he also met the Japanese Yakuza, lesbian geisha girls and every time he put his head out the door some boofhead US Marine was looking for a fight. And these were all the nice people. Somewhere in the middle a crazed serial killer was on the loose with a bayonet. Aloha, Les.
"Robert Barrett ya Legend."
From FM radio to FN Queensland, Goodoo Goodoo is the latest Les Norton adventure. Robert G. Barrett shows again why he is Australia's biggest-selling contemporary author, a hit with both men and women readers.
Norton needed a holiday - anywhere - as long as it was out of Bondi. Price was only too willing to oblige - Les could have his house at Terrigal. All he had to do was look after George Brennan's nephew for a week while he was there. Sounded okay to Norton, and it was better than spending his own money. Jimmy Rosewater was young, cool and the original brown-eyed handsome man. He loved good wine, going to restaurants, going line-dancing, and the ladies loved him. This suited Les nicely.
Aussie Vietnam veteran Ron Milne is on a good thing, growing Indian hemp on the tiny Micronesian island of Lan Laroi. Besides being President, the natives treat him as a god. To the American DEA he is a dangerous criminal. US President Clifford J. Clooney decides to invade. Onto this island of sun, surf, beautiful women, and mysterious ruins arrives Bondi surf journalist Brian Bradshaw. Brian came to find a story, then return home to write it. He didn't expect to get involved in something almost impossible to comprehend....
"Ridiculous teen boy's fantasy"
Look out Wagga Wagga. Les Norton's in town and he feels like dancing. Extreme Polo. The wildest game on water. That's what it said on TV. All Les had to do was drive down to Wagga Wagga for an old mate who owed him a favor, Neville (Nizegy) Nixon, and pick up the Murrumbidgee Mud Crabs.
"Excellent easy listening"
Robert G. Barrrett's latest Les Norton adventure, The Wind and the Monkey, set in Port Stephens, NSW, is a romance as well as an adventure - proving once again Barrett's enormous appeal to both men and women readers.