Christopher Brookmyre – All Fun And Games Until Somebody Loses An Eye

Just when you thought it was all over for Mr Brookmyre

A man I would once have described as the best satirist in Scotland, he once wrote deeply inelegant but vicious and great fun thrillers. As the satirical edges began to come off his work, he also became a more assured writer. However, his last book Be My Enemy was the sound of an establishment figure (he was probably about the only decent selling scots author they could get to attend the Holyrood opening) treading water. I mean, yuppies quarreling with lefty journos about Thatcher. Grrr. That’ll stick it to them. Don’t get me wrong, it was good time-passing nonsense, just lacking that bite.

So, I wasn’t really in that much of a hurry to check out his latest. But those cheeky scamps at Fopp made me an offer I couldn’t refuse.

Now, don’t get me wrong, all of his books are worth a look, you’ll not be robbed of the time. They are pretty hilarious page-turners. And, as I’ve made much of, with a satirical angle to them. And, this latest is pretty much par for the course (neither as brilliant as Boiling A Frog nor as disappointing as the last). This time he turns his attention to the arms trade (with about as much success as Lord Of War) and (far more successfully) shattered dreams and life in a west of Scotland new town, with this tale of a middle aged housewife drawn into a web of international spy type things.

Previously, Brookmyre has worked very much in black and white hats. Characters are cool or tossers. There’s been very little room for much emotional input. This changes in the new book. It’s been suggested to me that he’s recently become a father (I can neither confirm nor deny this) which would explain his impassioned take on the politics of family life. OK, he does slip over into mawkishness at points with it, but it’s an interesting addition to his palette.

If I’ve seemed hard on the guy, it’s because I’m waiting for him to come out with the book that it looked like he would a few years ago. We know he can do it. So, more Carl Hiaasen than Elmore Leonard, but then, that’s not really that bad is it?


Written by Tony Kiernan

02 December 2005 at 4:34 pm

Posted in Books

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