by Christopher Brookmyre
Whether you like his books or not (and why wouldn’t you?) you have to admit that Christopher Brookmyre certainly knows how to give a book a title!
And if you are one of those who don’t find the title amusing then probably won’t like the book either.
A Big Did It And Ran Away is a reference to that old childhood ploy of passing the blame onto someone else, and that is, in a way, what drives the plot of this book. Basically it is a thriller with a twist. Warned of a terrorist threat to the UK, the police are on full alter and on the lookout for anything unusual that might offer a lead to where and when the attack might take place.
Meanwhile, feeling his life drifting away from him and struggling to cope with the combination of a new child and new job, Raymond Ash finds himself at the centre of some very unusual events.
Christopher Brookmeyer’s talent as a storyteller is indisputable. The plot is as relentless as anything written by le-Carre of Forsyth, the witty snipping at modern life as anything written by Tom Sharpe. It is a unique blend of thriller and comedy that makes this such a good book.
The plot is solid, the characters interesting and flawed, and the politics realistically absurd. A wonderful combination that makes this a really great read.
by Christopher Brookmyre
One thing that can definitely be said about Christopher Brookmyre is that he really knows how to come up with a good title. Thankfully, his books seem to live up to them, at least the two I have read so far do.
Quite Ugly One Morning begins, well, one morning, with the digitally challenged corpse of one of Edinburg’s most respected doctors. As the police try to make some sense of the scene before them, Glaswegian catastrophe-magnet Jack Parlabane finds himself caught up in the whole stinking mess.
But Jack is not just any old neighbour. He may be extremely hungover, but even if he weren’t an investigative journalist on the run from the mob, he could hardly have failed to notice the smell coming from the flat below. He soon finds himself drawn into the affair, particularly when he encounters the dead doctor’s estranged wife Sarah prowling through the crime scene.
Quite Ugly One Morning has a plot with the intrigue and twists you would expect from a crime story, mixed with characters and situations that wouldn’t be out of place in a Tom Sharpe novel. It is full of wonderful one-liners, farcical, but believable plot twists, physical slapstick and verbal dexterity that leave me wanting more.
Brookmyer is a great story teller with the kind of sense of humour that I find drawn to. Like Tom Sharpe before him, he takes great delight in poking fun at our institutions and the people who inhabit them. His characters find themselves in ludicrous situations but you can’t help feeling that they are actually a little too close to being believable.
Great escapism, intelligent and very funny.