Les Norton

20 books in series
4.5 out of 5 stars 65 ratings


Les Norton is a burly ex-meat worker from Queensland. When he gets a job as a bouncer in Kings Cross, the red-headed country boy is seduced by the illicit charms of the 1980s Sydney underworld.

Norton's new career brings him face to face with an array of dirty, colourful, dark characters in Sydney’s underbelly - gamblers, conmen, bookies, bouncers, hookers and hitmen. 

Les has never been accused of being progressive though, and his story is like going back in a time machine to a much more 'un-PC' world. He reckons he 'sticks out like dog’s balls' on the cosmopolitan Bondi Beach and only 'speaks Australian'. 

The series is a roller-coaster of crime, full of swearing and no-holds-barred street fighting. 

Narrator Dino Marnika uses his excellent Australian accents to become everything we imagine Les Norton to be. It is authentic and real, as well as incredibly gritty. It’s hard not to smile, if not laugh out loud, as Manika embodies a true larrikin with old-time Australian humour and slang. 

Les Norton’s creator Robert Barrett based the tale on two likeable Sydneysiders he met while working as a DJ and a doorman as a young man. The success of Barrett’s Les Norton books led to him being dubbed ‘the king of popular fiction’ by The Australian

The runaway success of Barrett’s first Les Norton book – You Wouldn't Be Dead for Quids – sparked him to write a series of 19 more. Since 1984, Les Norton books have sold over 1 million copies in Australia. 

A 2019 Australian TV drama series based on Les Norton was nominated for an ACCTAA Award. The show’s creator Morgan O’Neill describes Robert Barrett as ‘an equal-opportunity shit-stirrer’. He could also be describing Les himself.

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