After Call Work: Verbal Warning (After Call Work #1)
by Ryan Bracha
Sometime last year I reviewed a book called “Thank You for Your Call” by Robert Leigh
This was my review
“Hmm, this could have been so much more. The idea of a call centre worker going out and murdering some of his overzealous complaining callers is one that appealed to me. I was hoping for a character similar to Serge in Tim Dorsy's series...twisted, evil, funny and sadistic with a unswerving sense of righteousness about his deeds. But I found the lead character as annoying as his callers. Of course the book ended with our man on the verge of a new conquest and I guess in time he could become a bit more cynical and humorous about what he does...but i just felt a little let down that the author seemed a little reluctant to inject joy and fun into the killing spree”
So, I come to read After Call Work, by one of the UK’s most exciting “indie writers” around, Ryan Bracha.
If you have read any of his previous work you will know that, apart from his dynamic, no nonsense writing style Ryan Bracha isn’t afraid to deliver, hilarious, inventive and twisted characters and story lines. From the scarily prophetic Dead Man series where he regaled us with the stories of a gang of rogues and rebels trying to make sense of a un-united kingdom that had closed its doors to the rest of the world to his hilarious true life short stories (“The banjo string snapped but the band played on”, “Bogies, and other equally messed up tales of love, lust, drugs and grandad porn” and other twisted tales like “The Switched” and “Strangers are just friends that you haven’t killed yet”, you dive into the mind of a man who can find humour and love in the most evil and violent worlds imaginable.
So I was particularly excited to see Bracha take on the world of the call centre after I felt let down by my previous reading experience in that world.
As you would expect, he doesn’t disappoint.
Although this book is probably as normal as it gets for Bracha (and his characters are based on people he met when he worked in a call centre, I believe). The sad but hilarious decent into murder, rim jobs and STD’s of the books two main characters, Barry (the overweight, socially inept loner who is cruelly and mercilessly bullied by his contemptible protagonist, Steve and the other main character Penny (the sexy heroine, loose of morals, nice heart, unfortunate choice in sexual partners). Penny shows a glimpse of humanity towards Barry after a devastating incident in the call centre toilets and the story takes a twist in more ways than you can imagine.
Penny’s fall from Grace is met head on by Barry’s sad infatuation and soon enough people start to die and the reader is treated to all manner of twists and red herrings that prevent the story from being in anyway predictable and keeps your avid interest from start to finish.
Bracha’s stark and often brutal portrayal of his characters is one of the reasons he is such a great writer and although this outing is set in the real world, in real time with no supernatural or dystopian aids to take it elsewhere, the characters and the situations they find themselves descending into makes this as thrilling as any of his previous books.
I am always disappointed when I finish a Bracha book and this was no exception. So I was delighted to see that After Call Work is book 1 of an up coming series and I just know it’s going to get even funnier and twisted with each book. I can’t wait for the next one.
If you haven’t read any books by Ryan Bracha, this may be the ideal one to prepare you for the rest.
If you haven’t read any books by Ryan Bracha, you must be a knob.