Robert G. Barrett
Two classic Les Norton adventures in one volume, plus Robert G. Barrett's outrageous columns on life in Australia PLUS the ultimate Les Norton trivia challenge.
Wolfman Les - rock'n'roll DJ. Another good idea down the gurgler... What should have been a quick gig on a radio station followed by a white water rafting holiday in North Queensland finishes up a four wheel drive trip to Cooktown with Norton looking for two missing SCUBA divers. The army, the air force and half the Queensland water police couldn't find Jade Biscayne and Horden Genting. What chance does Les have? Along the way Les finds the Rainbow Princess, out chasing UFO's and predicting the future.
All easy-going butcher Bob Davis wanted after his divorce was to get on with his job, have a few beers with his mates, and be left alone. But this was Sydney in the early Eighties - the beginnings of the AIDS epidemic, street gangs, gay bashings and murders. When a gang of skinheads bash Davo's old school- friend to death simply because he was gay, and leave Davo almost dead in an intensive care unit, they unleash a crazed killer onto the city streets.
Les Norton's apartment block in Randwick was proving to be nothing but trouble, full of mayhem and murder. It seemed the longer he owned it the more money he lost. But while he's trying to solve his financial problems, Les still has time to fight hate-crazed roadies, sort out a drug deal after fighting a gang of bikies, help a feminist Balmain writer with some research she won't forget in a hurry, and get involved with Franulka, a super-sexy leadsinger of an all-girl rock band, The Heathen Harlots.
Les is back and on the detox ... All it took was a summer's day and a flat tyre on his push-bike, and Les is out on bail and on the run from a gun-happy street gang intent on a drive-by. So, with Warren's help, Les Norton defendant, becomes Len Gordon film director, safely ensconced at the ultra-swish Opal Springs Health Resort till Eddie can sort things out back in Sydney. Unfortunately, the first thing Les finds on arrival is motivational guru Alexander Holden dead at the front gate.
They don't call him Lucky Les for nothing. A ticket in a raffle and Norton was off to the US of A where it turned out hot, red hot, and it wasn't just the weather. Night club brawls, mafia hitmen and too many girls called Lori, all in a sea of margaritas. Even for Les Norton it was just too hot to handle. So it was off to the Caribbean, where Millwood Downie - schoolteacher, historian and would-be stand-up comic - helps Les trace his family tree and possibly uncover the biggest earn ever.
All Les Norton wanted was a quiet coffee and Sacher cake at the Hakoah Club in Bondi, and to be left alone to sort out his troubled love life. How he let notorious conman Kelvin Kramer talk him up to Surfers Paradise for five days, Les will never know. He went along expecting some relaxation in the sun, the chance to earn a little money and possibly a little fresh romance. Les definitely got the earn. He certainly got the girl. But what Norton mainly got in Surfers Paradise was trouble. In a size 40 Double-D cup.
Les thought that playing minder to Peregrine Normanhurst III sounded like a dead-set snack: Les would keep Peregrine out of trouble. So what if he was on the run from the IRA? They'd never follow him to Australia... But Les quickly finds himself thrust into an adventure that moves at breakneck speed from the corridors of power in Canberra to the grimy tenements of Belfast, to climax in a nerve-shattering, blood-spattered shootout on a survivalist fortress in the Tweed Valley.
The five stories in The Real Thing provide an entertaining mix of laughter and excitement, as well as an insight into the underworld of Sydney - an often violent and cynical world, but also with its fair share of rough humour and memorable characters.