7 Feb 2011


Once in a while you read a story which is a bit extra special. This is so of The Bookies Runner.
A true story about .....

Well read for yourself.



”He’s dressed like Frank Sinatra

like a member of the Rat Pack.

He’s the Bookies Runner with the

lopsided grin, but he’s destined to lose!”

So begins the epitaph for Derry McKay. A loving family man who fathered seven children. Respected and loved by all who knew him. Just an ordinary working class man. A gentle soul who toiled every day and night for the love of his family.

The story opens with a young boy on a bus journey to a new school (St Mary’s Academy) and the first day in his fourth year. As he sits in the back of the bus he reminisces about his departed father and the life he led. As the memories flow so do the held back tears.
We learn that Derry McKay was raised by his grandparents because he was unwanted by his family. He was forever cheerful and happy go lucky. As he grew older he joined the Royal Navy as an Ordinary Seaman and was based on HMS Victorious. Many tales are told of his eventful voyages abroad.

He married an Irish lassie from Eire reputed to be ‘another fresh young Irish girl straight from the farm’. There were difficulties during the marriage with Derry toiling to keep food on the table and clothes on their back while his wife got deeper in debt to the tallyman.

At this point the boy lays the death of his father firmly at the door of his mother. He considers that she always tried to live above her means. His fathers’ opinion being ‘there is no shame in being poor’.

Eventually Derry becomes a bookies runner but ill health catches him out and the job (although illegal) goes to his son.

The boy watches on in despair as his father finally gives up his fight for life.

He cries for the man who had never won. The man who was destined to lose.

....The Bookies Runner is a wonderful tribute from a loving son to a very loved father.

I thoroughly recommend this book which I read in one hit, but have a few paper tissues close by. You’ll need them.

Brilliant Brendan I loved it.

ã Teresa Geering 06/02/2011


Brendan Gisby said...

Thank you for this beautiful review, Tee!

KJ Kron said...

I've read parts of this on Slush Pile Reader - and glad to see that's it's published - good review.

Brendan Gisby said...

Thanks, Karl!