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Reviewed by Rosie Malezer for Readers' Favorite
Black Market Prawns is the first book in the Sam, Jake and Dylan Want Money series by Sam Bowring. From an apartment on the 42nd floor of Hazy Towers – one of the most rundown buildings in existence – Sam ignores requests from Dylan to help with the dishes, insisting his blog has a strict deadline ... should he ever think of something to write, that is. When spineless and naive Mr Hayes timidly knocks on the door and asks for the rent (and is denied, yet again), he is promptly asked to leave. Jake arrives home with many hessian bags in tow, each filled with prawns (shrimp), insisting that he got them cheap from the docks and now has to offload them before they go bad. They first approach Mr Chiu at the local Chinese restaurant, who agrees to take what they have for a small price per kilogram, as long as Sam, Jake and Dylan can ascertain the exact weight of the prawns. After a failed attempt to do so at a nearby grocery store, they wind up setting up an illegal stall outside their building, inventing such vile products as prawn milkshakes and dressing up prawn shells in doll’s clothing for children, not realising that the stench back at their apartment had become so overpowering that it had drawn birds and cats alike, smashing through their windows and fighting over the rotting prawn carcasses...
Not since John O’Grady have I seen such pure, unbridled literary wit. Sam Bowring presents the perfect Australian tale, with all spoken dialogue written in typical Aussie English. I felt right at home while reading this side-splitting narrative of Sam’s attempt at a blog and the conversation that ensues. From the first page to the last, Black Market Prawns doesn’t skip a beat in action, drama, entertainment, and pure hilarity. Although this is the first book I have read by Sam Bowring, I can guarantee that it will not be the last, as it tickled my funny bone in all the right places. I highly recommend this book to anybody who is not shocked by the way in which typical Australians speak – swearing and all – and to those who enjoy a great laugh.