The Sparrow Conundrum
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The Sparrow Conundrum

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4.1 of 5 stars 4.10  ·  rating details  ·  21 ratings  ·  8 reviews
Winner of the 'Humor' section of the 2011 Forward National Literature Awards 2011. Winner also of the Big Al's Books and Pals Readers' Choice Award for Humor and Satire 2012.

Chris Machin isn’t his name, at least not to the bottom feeders in Aberdeen squabbling over North Sea oil and gas contracts. Chris has a code name, and when his garden explodes, The Sparrow takes fligh...more
Paperback, 184 pages
Published March 16th 2011 by PfixChase (first published March 2011)
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Heikki
Bill Kirton's The Sparrow Conundrum is a truly entertaining read.

In the underworld surrounding the Aberdeen oil business there is a bunch of thugs who like to have an elaborate code name system based on birds. The Cage is run by the Eagle, and the ranks descend in various stages of fearsomeness through Kestrel and Hawk onwards, until we come face to face with... Sparrow.

Chris Machin is really way out of his league when he is scooped into the world of criminals who like finger-busting and quick k...more
Melissa Conway
Full disclosure: the author of The Sparrow Conundrum, Bill Kirton, is an esteemed Booksquawk contributor. He provided me with a free ebook copy for this review.

In his youth, Chris Machin rather accidently got involved with the mob. Astonished to find himself entangled with a woman way out of his league, he blindly obeyed her every wish and soon found himself muling drugs for the Bellazzo brothers. Now Machin’s garden has exploded and the hapless school teacher is paying for his past indiscretion...more
Chris Longmuir
I started reading this book expecting it to be one of Bill Kirton's excellent dark crime books and after a brief period of confusion, which wasn't surprising, considering this is a spoof crime novel, I started chuckling and then laughing. I think I became as manic as the book. It is a story full of surprises, twists and turns. The characters are enjoyably over the top, from the weak-kneed Machin to the psychotic police inspector who is constantly trying to rearrange evidence to increase his arre...more
R.B. Wood
The Sparrow Conundrum is one of those rare spoofs that made me laugh out loud. Bill Kirton does a slick job in painting a skewed picture of the mob racket—think Reservoir Dogs, only better.

From the poor teacher with the moniker of “Sparrow” to the bumbling hitman, to the out-of-place Texan as a figurehead of an Aberdeen, Scotland-based crime “family,” The Sparrow Conundrum is a wonderfully tongue-in-cheek peek inside the flighty workings of criminal “masterminds”

Mr. Kirton paints a wonderfully r...more
Linda Faulkner
Excellent story displaying the author's offbeat sense of humor and wry perception of the human condition. Expect to alternately laugh like crazy and shake your head in amazement.
Linda Faulkner
Terrific book - a wry and amusing portrait of the human condition.
Al
I saw this described as a “crime spoof,” which is a perfect description. It is full of humor, often dry and subtle, as the stereotype of English humor would indicate. I learned the names of obscure (to me) birds and fish, which are used as codenames amongst the criminals; thankfully, my Kindle dictionary knew them all. Many of the criminals, especially the protagonist Chris Machin, are likeable and sympathetic (with the exception of those crimes they’re supposed to be committing). In contrast, t...more
Pete Morin
This novel represents everything I love about British humor.

It is over-the-top Benny-Hill-meets-James-Bond type humor, and I'm never sure which is being lampooned.

It's the kind of novel that makes publisher's editors scratch their heads and say (in all likelihood), "Oh, I'd love to buy this, but what will my bosses think?" Bookstores would have to build a shelf for one book. Better yet, put it on an end cap near the front door.
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