REVIEW by Chris Moss

NWR Issue 105

Ugly Bus

by Mike Thomas

Somewhere between the romanticised detective fictions of Ian Rankin and Colin Dexter and the depressing reality of gritty, formulaic television documentaries about speeding motorists and midnight drunks lies the shadowy world of real police work.

Mike Thomas worked for two decades as a cop before turning to novel writing, and his working-class characters, down-at-heel urban locations and hard-boiled language ring true. Much of the dialogue in Ugly Bus is delivered in a dry slang that can become wearing at times but is probably true to form. The title is typical, the ‘ugly bus’ referring to the TSG or Territorial Support Group police vans that patrol our city centres, especially on special events and Saturday nights. Five cops (Martin, Flub, Dullas, Vince, Flinch) have been assigned said vehicle for the Boxing Day football derby. As well as the inevitable stresses of coping with drunken, raucous, potentially violent fans, the cops have to keep apart two groups of political activists. Damned by one faction as ‘Nazi scum’ and by the other as allies of the Unite Against Fascism protestors, they are obliged to remain publically neutral while reflecting on their own individual prejudices...

Want to read the full article? Go to our online shop where you can buy an individual issue or take out a subscription to NWR, saving £3.98 on the cover price. Prices start at £16.99 for three issues via Direct Debit, including p+p (UK only).

Buy this book at


previous review: The Bad Doctor: The Troubled Life & Times of Dr Iwan James
next review: Dark Actors: The Life and Death of Dr David Kelly


A brief note on copyright:all authors have given permission for their work to appear online on New Welsh Review's website. Copyright remains with the author. If you wish to reproduce part or all of any article then the permission of the author must be sought, and the author and New Welsh Review credited accordingly.

Contact us:Registered Office PO Box 170, Aberystwyth, Ceredigion, SY23 1WZ - Telephone 00 (44) 1970 628410
© New Welsh Review Ltd, all rights reserved - Registered in England and Wales - Registered number: 02493828
Website design: mach2media and mopublications      Website development: Technoleg Taliesin Cyf.