Mac Black

Mac Black

Rosie Amber rated it 5 of 5 stars
Derek’s in Trouble is the second book in the Derek series of witty humorous tales about newspaper reporter Derek Toozlethwaite.  Derek is surrounded by a cast of delightful characters who add to the chaos and calamity which is Derek’s life.

The book opens with recently married Derek caught dressing up in his wife’s clothes as part of research for a newspaper article. However wife Sally doesn’t see the funny side of her best pair of shoes being ruined and takes off to stay with her parents.

—————————————-

Sep 08, 2013 Cheryl M-M rated it 4 of 5 stars

I would suggest reading Please… Call Me Derek to get a better feel of the writing style and Derek’s story. Actually based on the first chapter it might just be a good idea because of the completely bizarre situation the main character is in the middle of. You have to know Derek to understand why eccentric is the norm for him. Black has a very distinctive style. The humour is quirky and often whimsical with an underlying wit.

—————————————-
May 30, 2013Ionia rated it 5 of 5 stars

The story of Derek’s misfortune continues in Mac Black’s Derek’s In Trouble. Without doubt, Derek must be the most efficient trouble magnet to ever roam the earth. Seriously, trouble comes looking for him without him even trying to find it.

I loved this book even more than the first one Please… Call Me Derek

Mac Black displays his use of easy-going humour and fun characters well in this second book in the series. As you read these novels, you are reminded of people in your own life. The hilarious antics of the main character and his family reminded me of how odd life can really be on a day to day basis.

The conversations are fun and the use of Scottish Brogue was a lot of fun to read. It is so easy to listen to these characters in your mind and that makes them seem very real to the reader.

As Derek’s adventures continue, he is older and (wiser?) Okay, maybe not so much wiser. He is married, has a different life than he did in the first book, but still has struggles he must face and overcome and they are still giggle-worthy.

I also really enjoyed the secondary characters in this story. There are quite a few things happening, and the author manages to tie them all together in the end without it ever becoming confusing.

Hands down, my favourite character this time was Gran. She is an ‘agony aunt’ (advice columnist/radio personality–think Dear Abby for those of you who aren’t familiar) and she is one tough lady.

When you get started with these books, Derek becomes a member of your own family. He touches your silly side, but also your heart. I can’t read these books without feeling a little sorry for the guy. I look forward to reading the next book in the series: Derek’s Revenge

If you haven’t checked out these books yet, you should. Need a good laugh? Want a story that is only just beginning?

—————————————-

Good Fun Once it Gets Into Gear, 4 Feb 2013 By Brett H “pentangle” This review is from: Please… Call Me Derek

I was looking forward to reading Just Call Me Derek as a little light relief from my recent reading which has been both heavier in content and longer. It is quite a short book and I rattled through it in about a day.

Frankly it did take me a little while to engage with Derek. Early on the tale hops around a bit and there is some about Derek’s early days and the kids he knocked around with, their resentment when the local patch of land they play on is taken over by the local supermarket, and various other excursions within the text which are not immediately obviously of relevance to the story. My initial impression was this was going to be a tale of juvenile exploits and I was not at all sure I was going to enjoy it.

However, the meat of the tale concerns a bungled robbery at Bishko’s, the aforesaid supermarket, which occurs many years later when Sweaty,

Err….call me Derek, is all growed up. The perpetrators of this crime are incompetent in the extreme, as, it has to be said, are most people in this story, Derek included. The only sensible ones seem to be Derek’s girlfriend, Sally and her mother Muriel and they get carried along by the farcical situations in which they find themselves.

Once the story gets going it is a lot of fun, quite humorous and an enjoyable read. Certainly a farce in the proud British tradition of Douglas Adams or Tom Sharpe, although the author’s writing style is not similar to either of these luminaries.

The rather strange ending is clearly a prelude to the next Derek book which will probably be more focused from the word go and hence should also be a very good read.

—————————————-

Please Call Me Derek, 28 April 2013 By ElaineG This review is from: (Derek Series) (Kindle Edition)

This is a quick, easy to read introduction to Derek (AKA Sweaty), who on the whole seems to be a pretty nice guy who just has a habit of ending up in the wrong place at the wrong time, thereby getting himself into some pretty unusual scrapes. I wouldn’t have said it was “laugh out loud” comedy but a more gentle “make you smile” humour with comedic characters who are mostly likeable, if a trifle thick.

In this story Derek meets Sally, the girl of his dreams, and gets a new job on the same day, only for matters to take a dramatic turn for the bizarre after the local supermarket is raided, with Derek just happening to be on the spot!

Whilst on the whole it is a pleasant read, there were a couple of things that just did not sit right with me. For instance some more research into police procedure after the supermarket raid would have been beneficial to the plot line I think. As it stands, the way the police handle what is, after all, a serious crime, just does not feel believable = they just don’t seem to treat the matter very seriously at all.

The story flows fluidly at a good pace to an ending which ties all the loose ends together, although it did make me groan a bit, I’m afraid!

All in all, a nice read by an author who certainly shows promise of good things to come.

NB: I was provided with a review copy of this book.

—————————————-

4.0 out of 5 stars Good Old British Humour, 29 Mar 2013 By A. Rose (Devon & Menorca) 
(TOP 500 REVIEWER) (VINE VOICE) (REAL NAME)

This review is from: Please… Call Me Derek (Paperback)
Like many of the other reviewers, I found this book very funny, very British and very entertaining. The book introduces Derek, aka Sweaty, as a child feeling upset and rebellious because the local supermarket has bought and built on the best rough playground that he and his mates spend their weekends and school holidays on. This same supermarket plays a part through to the end of the book and, with quite few characters, all are intertwined (with one or two convenient coincidences) to give a very fulfilling and refreshing story. There’s a bit of everything in there starting with a sad boy almost attacked by a guard dog through to his adult life living with slightly dippy grandparents, getting a job, saving a damsel in distress, getting a girlfriend, and solving a crime – not to mention all the capers he gets up to trying to get out of the many sticky situations he
finds himself in.

All in all, this was a refreshing book written totally with British humour in mind, and not a single Americanism in sight. Very funny and can totally recommend.

—————————————-

5.0 out of 5 stars Recommended reading, 23 Nov 2012 By Anna

This review is from: Please… Call me Derek (Derek Series) (Kindle Edition)
Great book by Mac Black. I came across this book by chance and although not the type of book I usually read I found it amusing and couldn’t put it down!

—————————————-

4.0 out of 5 stars Derek’s Complicated Life, 30 Mar 2013 By Brett H “pentangle” (Brighton) – (TOP 50 REVIEWER)

This review is from: Derek’s In Trouble (Paperback)
It was a pleasure renewing my acquaintance with Derek and his friends and family after meeting them first in Please…Call Me Derek. This sequel starts rather more strongly than the first book, which, I felt, took some time to get into gear since we first met Derek or Sweaty and his gang aged about six or thereabouts whereas most of the story has them as adults.

This time round the story hits the ground running, following straight on from the action in the earlier book. I do think that it is best for the reader to have read the introductory book first, as it would really be quite difficult to relate to Derek when the reader’s first glimpse of him is dressed up to the nines in his (slightly thinner) wife’s clothing and tottering around on her high heels. Of course, there is a perfectly reasonable…ish explanation, but one has to know a bit about Derek to appreciate this.

Derek certainly seems to have an unenviable talent to get himself into difficult situations, as a result of some really poor decisions. For example, a simple answer to his grandfather and friend, Hammy’s request to get involved in their little escapade would have been no, but Derek is, of course, made of sterner stuff than that. One thing I like about these stories is that everyone involved is, if not downright strange, certainly slightly eccentric. Characters such as the next door neighbour and the policeman who we met in the first book and who appears again certainly have their own quirkiness.

Overall I found this an enjoyable and, at times very amusing read. Its not quite a laugh a minute stuff, but in fairness, it is quite hard to write two or three hundred pages in that style. However, there is enough there to keep the reader engaged. Its fine as an adult read but I think that young adult readers will really enjoy it.

—————————————-

5.0 out of 5 stars Great reading, 23 Nov 2012 By Anna

– This review is from: Derek’s in Trouble (Derek Series) (Kindle Edition)
After reading “Please call me Derek” I looked forward to this 2nd book by Mac Black and have to say I wasn’t disappointed. It was every bit as amusing as the 1st. I can’t wait for the 3rd in the Derek series to be published. I would highly recommend these books.

 

4.0 out of 5 stars Derek’s in Trouble, 2 Oct 2012 By seb – This review is from: Derek’s In Trouble (Paperback)
Having thoroughly enjoyed Derek’s antics in Mac Black’s first novel, I was eager to read about yet another crisis in Derek’s life. It didn’t disappoint and had both my husband [who got to it first!] and myself laughing out loud! Can’t wait to find out how Derek gets his revenge.

5.0 out of 5 stars How much trouble can one person get in to?, 1 Mar 2014 By Roses are Amber

– This review is from: Derek’s in Trouble (Derek Series) (Kindle Edition)

Derek’s in Trouble is the second book in the Derek series of witty humorous tales about newspaper reporter Derek Toozlethwaite. Derek is surrounded by a cast of delightful characters who add to the chaos and calamity which is Derek’s life.

The book opens with recently married Derek caught dressing up in his wife’s clothes as part of research for a newspaper article. However wife Sally doesn’t see the funny side of her best pair of shoes being ruined and takes off to stay with her parents while her temper cools down.

Meanwhile there is so much else going on; Derek’s Granny gets a secret slot on the local radio as Granny Wisdom. Poor Hamish Macintosh is forced to sell up his farm. Aunt Thelma wants a motorbike and the lovely Sophie Clerkenwell-Brown wants to sign up the author of The Big Squeak, the mysterious Ivy Bloom. Then there are Arthur and Charlie, gardeners who are training for the Marathon and looking for sponsors and finally what is growing on Hamish’s old farm now being run by Tipsicorus International?

Just how much trouble can one man get himself into? You will have to read it and see, and like me, become a fan of Derek.
This review is based upon a free copy of the book given to me by the author.

—————————————-

4.0 out of 5 stars Derek is always in trouble….the only thing that varies is how much trouble, 9 Sep 2013
By Cheryl M-M (United Kingdom) – (TOP 500 REVIEWER)

This review is from: Derek’s In Trouble (Paperback)
I would suggest reading Please… Call Me Derek to get a better feel of the writing style and Derek’s story. Actually based on the first chapter it might just be a good idea because of the completely bizarre situation the main character is in the middle of.

You have to know Derek to understand why eccentric is the norm for him. Black has a very distinctive style. The humour is quirky and often whimsical with an underlying wit. Think on the lines of one man telling the story of his life in a low key satirical way. The first book covers his childhood. This one is about his adult life and the beginning of his marriage.
The author has been honing his craft because this second book has more focus, better structure and the character have more depth. It might not be every readers cup of tea, as I mentioned before the author has a very distinctive style. Black humour, taking the proverbial urine out of his character and the situations.

I received a copy of this book courtesy of the author.

—————————————-

4.0 out of 5 stars Derek’s Growing Up !, 12 May 2013 By A. Rose (Devon & Menorca) (TOP 500 REVIEWER) (VINE VOICE) (REAL NAME)
This review is from: Derek’s in Trouble (Derek Series) (Kindle Edition)
In this second book of the `Derek’ series we love and cringe for the hapless Derek/Sweaty just as much, if not more, than the first book – Please… Call Me Derek.

Derek is now married to the lovely Sally who he met in `Please . . .’ and right from the first few chapters she leaves him because of his unacceptable behaviour. After letting him stew for a while she returns home just as Derek is having an `innocent’ chat with a semi-naked young lady in their downstairs shower room – all innocent from Derek’s point of view but not Sally’s. It’s all an uphill struggle for Derek from thereon. All the same loveable characters are in this book as were in the first with the addition of a new Scot or two, with accents to match. Granny now has her own `Agony Granny’ programme on the local radio but being a technophobe she makes some hilarious mistakes, much to the amusement of the listeners. Her new job has to be kept secret, even from her husband, and in turn he thinks that the secrecy is an affair. With much confusion all round, even over who wrote a novel – Thelma, Mrs Masterson or Andy Pandy – there’s plenty to amuse, not to mention drugs and buried treasure !

This really is a lovely book to read and is written with a little more confidence that the first book. A great sequel.

—————————————-

4.0 out of 5 stars Derek on Good Form, 13 May 2013 By Brett H “pentangle” (Brighton) – (TOP 50 REVIEWER)

This review is from: Derek’s Revenge (Paperback)
I was looking forward to getting to grips, as it were, with Derek for the third time as I have read the first two in this series. When I read the second book, Derek’s In Trouble , I did feel that it was very much a standalone novel in that it was not necessary to have read the preceding book to enjoy it. However, this time around there are quite a few references to what comes before and a new reader may be a bit bemused by comments about Derek’s cross dressing (all in the interests of research of course), the kidnapping and ransom, Tipsicorus and various other things which came before. Characters such as the two gardeners pop up again, which one understands if one has come across them before. Hence I would advise reading at least Derek’s In Trouble , and preferably both earlier Derek books before embarking on this one.

This time round the story is quite a lot more plausible than in the preceding tales. The main tenets are that Derek finally finds something to write a book about which may just be successful and at the same time begins to feel the lack of his mother, as his grandparents have brought him up from an early age and he has never known her. Predictably these two threads merge and the outcome is fairly obvious from quite early on in the book. This does not, however, diminish the enjoyment and the last part of the book was probably the strongest. Derek at last appears to have learned when it is best to keep his mouth shut and not say the first thing which comes into his head, at least with his wife, Sal, who seems to have become something of a shrew.

I think there is probably quite a bit more mileage in Derek who has now reached his early thirties so I am pleased to hear that a further installment is on its way. I have enjoyed each of these books more than the one which preceded it as I have become more familiar with Derek, Sal et al and their funny little ways but I would recommend that you start with the first and work through them rather than starting here to get the best out of the Derek series.

—————————————-

5.0 out of 5 stars More comedy from Derek, 23 Mar 2014 By Roses are Amber

– This review is from: Derek’s Revenge (Paperback)
Derek Toozlethwaite is a journalist in Newingsworth who is trying to write a book. So far he has failed to find a suitable subject for his book, instead his research has got him into trouble. He’s also been thinking about his past, he’s never known his Mum, Granny and Grandad Smith raised him and there has never been any talk about his Mum. Fans of Derek know that his life if full of crazy adventures and comical characters and to this end we find Derek quickly in trouble stuck sideways inside a caravan in a ditch with Hammy. With the help of the local fire brigade the rusty relic finally finds its way into Derek’s garden.

Café owner Anton, provides Derek with an idea for his book when he reminisces about a local rock band, who once used the café as their meeting place. They later found fame in America calling themselves Rabid Revenge. Derek decides he’ll write up the story behind the band and sets out to hunt down the band members.

There’s a surprising romance for Hammy, another falling out between Derek and wife Sally and Grandad is accused of stalking a lovely young American lady in Bisko’s supermarket. Will Derek get the story he needs? And finally write his book Rabid Revenge Revisited?

Another greatly entertaining book in the Derek series written by Scottish author Mac Black, with his distinctive style of comedy.

—————————————-

This review is based on a free copy of the book given to me by the author. 4.0 out of 5 stars Derek At His Unwitting Best, 22 Aug 2013 By A. Rose (Devon & Menorca) – (TOP 500 REVIEWER) (VINE VOICE) (REAL NAME)

This review is from: Derek’s Revenge (Kindle Edition)
This is the third book in the ‘Derek’ series and, for me, the best. The style of this one is a little different from the earlier two Please… Call Me Derek and Derek’s in Trouble in that we go back in time to before Derek’s birth and meet his mother. In the previous two books we only really know that Derek has been brought up by his grand parents having never met his real mother or father although he did have a happy childhood and a good upbringing. The same characters from the earlier two books are all lovingly and credibly in this one and give a great roundness and answers to earlier plot lines. There’s plenty of humour and broad Scottish lingo as you would expect in a ‘Derek’ novel, and also plenty of trouble with his wife.

Derek, in his fumbling and unwitting way, now has a subject to write his book about, the local pop group of many years ago making it big in

—————————————-

4.0 out of 5 stars Great read, 20 Feb 2013 By Anna – This review is from: Derek’s Revenge (Kindle Edition)
3rd in the Derek series and just as enjoyable as the first two. Amusing and unpredictable from start to finish. Hope there’s more “Derek” to come.

—————————————-

Derek’s Growing Family, 30 Jan 2014 By A. Rose This review is from: Derek’s Good Relations (Paperback)

This is the fourth in the ‘Derek’ series of which I have read all. Derek is now maturing and settling into being a husband, writer and fairly quickly

into this book becomes a father to little E.T. The whole ‘Derek’ story has now expanded into a new and much larger family since he quite accidentally found his mother, a new sister and a reluctant father in Derek’s Revenge.

Derek’s Good Relations is written with the same light hearted humour as the earlier books and is in much the same style of story with Derek always getting the ‘mucky end of the stick’. The same old favourite characters are still around (Hammy, Hector and even P.C Andy (Pandy)) but are taking more of a backseat ride whilst the newer characters are playing a larger role in Derek’s life.

I enjoyed this book just as much as the earlier Derek books but would now say that it’s not really a stand alone story. You need to have read the earlier books to appreciate Derek’s problems with Sally, Sophie and ladies clothing, and also as his family has grown it’s best to have a background of his parentage and the rock group Rabid Revenge.

Not The Strongest Derek Story, 8 Jan 2014 By Brett H “pentangle”This review is from: Derek’s Good Relations (Paperback)

Now on to the fourth Derek book, I imagine that the strange world of Derek and his family and friends is very much second nature to the author. As I have read the first three I certainly feel that I am completely on board. However, if you are new to this little universe this is certainly not the right book to start with. I imagine that anyone who has not had the benefit of a little background of Derek Toozlethwaite will be left confused, and even reluctant to continue after a few dozen pages as there is so much history behind the tangled relationships referred to.

I felt that this was not the strongest of the books to date. As I have already alluded to, there is quite a lot of reference back to what has gone on in previous volumes. However, what has gone on before is so strange that it is not really going to help a new reader much. What this instalment does lack is the really strong story line which the previous three certainly did possess.

As a committed Derek reader, I would say that Derek’s Good Relations was still quite an enjoyable read, although I did find myself glancing through sections where not much was going on, which was not my experience with the other episodes. Hopefully Derek’s Secrets which is on the drawing board for release later this year will also herald a return to form since I always look forward to Derek volumes for some light relief after rather heavier reading.

The order of the Derek series:

Please… Call Me Derek
Derek’s in Trouble
Derek’s Revenge
Derek’s Good Relations
and coming during 2014 – Derek’s Secrets