Quick by Steve Worland

QuickA review by Nalini Haynes

Quick is an action-comedy, a gender-flipped Cinderella story starting with Cinders, in this case Billy Hotchkiss, rolling a V8 race car 18 times at Bathurst, ending his racing career. After 6 years of therapy, Billy still hasn’t recovered; pain his constant companion. Attempts to conceal his limp are unsuccessful. Sitting in a plane for the brief time of a beginner pilot lesson causes him considerable discomfort.

And yet, in the 6 years since Billy’s accident, with this physical disability, he passed the demanding physical requirements to become a Victorian Police Officer.

Billy is still an adrenaline junkie so risks life and limb — just like in Lethal Weapon — in an attempt to take down jewel thieves who drag an armored car on its side through the streets of Melbourne’s central business district in a high-speed chase. Just like in Lethal Weapon, Billy gets hauled over the coals for his efforts. A security guard whose life Billy saved is now suing the police for injuries sustained when Billy hauled him off the bonnet of the armored van. Billy is fired.

So Interpol hires Billy and puts him on the case with no training and no induction. As they do.

At first sight, Billy’s new partner Claude tries to arrest Billy. Claude believes Billy’s limp and scratching his injured back with a mobile phone signals ‘guy with a gun’. And things just get better from there, including Billy’s fairy godfather, the owner of the racing team where Billy goes undercover, telling Billy they’ll get him race-fit in a week. After 6 years of unsuccessful therapy.

We’re talking ‘buddy cop guy movie’ type script with lots of ‘splodeys and physics-defying action. Readers must have capacity to suspend disbelief: don’t get caught up when the bad guys swap $10 million in diamonds for a fertilizer bomb that is airlifted into the story inside a van, inside a plane.

Did I mention the physics-defying? A bomb goes off so, instead of being killed or, at least, knocked unconscious (he was, like, 2 metres away), our hero is blown from the Monaco Harbour through the air to faceplant on the bonnet of a Lambourgini; Billy bounces and walks away. Billy drives a Formula One race car along the side — I do mean on the wall — of a Monaco race track tunnel; to avoid a maintenance door he then takes it up to the ceiling. Driving upside down, straight ahead, no centrifugal force in play, he winks at the girl and shoots at the bad guys. This is a comedy.

Quick is a light action-adventure-comedy: very light on the realism and very fast-paced action-adventurey. Steve Waugh said, ‘One of the best action-adventure novels I’ve ever read’. If you can’t suspend your disbelief when dudes spend $10 MILLION on fertilizer bombs, defy the laws of physics and experience an inconsistent physical disability, you’ll walk away. Hopefully, you won’t limp. Or experience pins and needles. Quick is one of those ‘airport novels’ that will sell like hotcakes. The kind that Billy likes eating.

A FREE author-signed copy of Quick is up for grabs for Australian residents until 13 September 2014. 

ISBN-13: 9780143799542
ISBN-10: 0143799541
Format: Paperback, 384 pages
Publisher: Michael Joseph (Penguin)
Rating: ★★★☆☆ 3/5