“Who the F*ck Am I?” is a novella by Stephen Bentley (more about him later), which can only be described as borderline non-fiction crime-thriller genre.
Steve Regan is an undercover cop, who is trying to infiltrate a US-driven drug ring in late 70s Britain. He comes across Bill Morris, a Canadian international who is trying to establish this drug ring, and they immediately set off on a collision course. While Regan is the ultimate conflicted good boy, Bill is the absolute devil: murder, rape, and outright violence is his bread and butter, while he is in bed with the dangerous Bolivian cartel. Will Steve stop him or will he succumb to the thrill and glamorous life of an international drug dealer and go rogue?
As a novella, which sets the scene to a trilogy, “Who the F*ck Am I?” is a very good read. Stephen Bentley’s writing is precise, well edited and weaved with high English as well as punchy Cockney slang. Stephen Bentley has been an undercover cop himself, active in “operation July” which is one of the biggest international drug busts in modern history. Bentley had managed a variety of jobs, including a barrister, and his intimate knowledge of the crime world oozes from the pages. There’s no doubt in my mind that this book is inspired by real events, even though the author is trying to undermine this in his foreword.
The critical aspect of this review has to do with the Characters – Regan was a bit underdeveloped for my taste, and I would have loved to understand what he was doing undercover for two years, He is too “perfect” and I didn’t buy for a second his “going rogue” thoughts. My second critical point has to do with the ending. Without giving out any details, I think the entire episodes after the climax of the Regan-Bill confrontation were unnecessary. instead I would have preferred a more elaborated account of Bill’s affairs in the US and Regan’s past. The book ends in a very American-movie manner and too many things fit into their right place…
“Who the F*ck Am I?”‘s plot is plausible and believable, however I would have loved to see it develop more: A bit more about the cartel, Bill and Regan’s life would have made me much more content. Compelled to write this, I must concede that this novel is well succinct and is a page turner on its own merit. The book will give you a glimpse of the undercover life and if you like crime thrillers you would love to enter this 70s world of no mobile phones, no advance tech and old school British-gangster-violence.