By Marty Mulrooney
Following on from the explosive Ashes To Ashes finale, fans still looking to get their Gene Hunt fix could do a lot worse than seeking out this delightful trio of comedic books published by Bantham Press and written by Guy Adams (posing as DCI Gene Hunt, as well as DC Chis Skelton and DS Ray Carling).
The Rules Of Modern Policing – 1973 Edition
Published in 2007 to tie in with Life On Mars, the first book in the collection is presented as having been written by DCI Gene Hunt himself to help out coppers starting on the force in the 1970’s. Areas covered include equipment needed on the job (Fags and a hip flask), interrogating suspects (An upwards tug on the ballsack usually does the trick) and dealing with complaints (Tell ‘em to fuck off).
The best thing about this book is the design, which has been handled for all three by designer Lee Thompson. It looks and feels exactly like an old text book, including fake coffee stains and rough brown paper. The line diagrams throughout prove hilarious because they are so deadpan and matter of fact. Furthermore, this copy belongs to DCI Chris Skelton, so expect plenty of fake pen notes in the margins!
These scribbles also help liven up the end of section tests, where Chris tries to answer Gene’s questions correctly: Guy Adams has nailed the voices of these characters to perfection and transferred them authentically to the page. My only complaint would be that some of the jokes require juggling multiple pages (such as the end of section tests) and that no examples are used from the show itself, which could have proven funny and nostalgic! Still, a great collectable item for fans of Life On Mars.
9 OUT OF 10
The Future Of Modern Policing – 1981 Edition
Published a year later in 2008 to tie in with Ashes To Ashes, this second book in the collection is again written by DCI Gene Hunt, this time dealing with policing in the 1980’s (Looking back at it now, 1973 seems like a different planet) and the future of modern policing (However fast progress marches, the Gene Genie can march faster).
The change from London to Manchester allows a different style from the previous book, although the design still retains a wonderfully retro feel. This time, the pages are a crisp white but it definitely still feels like a text book from the 1980’s. The green colour scheme also ties in very nicely with the Commodore PET computer font from Ashes To Ashes’ credits.
Split into two sections (Home and Away) this follow up book covers a wide range of topics including paperwork (We hit him, put him in the car, then had 4 pints), technology (You can’t move for extra kit nowadays, it feels like Tomorrow’s World have moved into the bloody office), and politics (The world outside the station’s four walls changes more than the batteries in Thatcher’s vibrator).
The test sections are a lot funnier now as well, because they feature fully written answers rather than multiple choice ones, allowing DC Chris Skelton to make a complete idiot of himself as usual! I did miss the textbook style diagrams from the first book, although the real images in their place are a worthy substitute and are great fun to pour over. However, the funniest section in the entire book by far is when PC Bill meets Jim. Accompanied by cartoon images, I don’t think I have laughed quite so hard in a very long time. A great follow up to the first book and every part its equal!
9 OUT OF 10
The Wit and Wisdom of DCI Gene Hunt
This final book in the series was published in 2009 and is written from DC Chris Skelton’s point of view, with scribbles provided by DS Ray Carling. Taking a different approach from the previous two books, the design is initially disappointing (looks like most modern day books) although this is made up for by the content inside. I shall let Mr Gene Hunt’s words of wisdom do the talking here!
Anything you say will be taken down, ripped up and shoved down your scrawny little throat until you choke to death. – Gene Hunt on Arresting People
They say the way to a man’s heart is via his stomach. It’s out by a few inches, to be honest, but if the woman gets that far I’ll happily direct her the rest of the way. – Gene Hunt on Food
I’m sure inside Thatcher there’s a perfectly lovely woman. No doubt she ate the poor bitch. – Gene Hunt on Maggie
Presented in an A-Z format, this really is the perfect coffee table book for fans of Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes. What it loses in design it more than makes up for in sheer hilarity due to the quotes contained within. Some are taken straight from episodes, others are brand new. All are unmistakeably Gene Hunt. There are also some great pictures from both shows and the running commentary provided by Chris and Ray is always good for an extra laugh. The best book of the series just because it is so easy to dip into and revisit again and again!
9.5 OUT OF 10