Christopher Brookmyre - Shastrix Books

Christopher Brookmyre

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The Cliff House

The Cliff House

Christopher Brookmyre

3rd September 2022

Chris Brookmyre’s latest novel is a bit overwhelming at first - introducing a lot of characters very quickly, who make up the party going for a hen weekend on a remote Scottish island.

Once I’d got my head around the cast though the plot moves at a fantastic pace and the intrigue flows throughout the rest of the text, which I devoured very quickly.

The classic Brookmyre feel is here, though the structure is a bit different. Finding out the characters’ backstories is key, but that’s dripped throughout, rather than taking half the book to get through before the action kicks in.

I had so many thoughts and ideas of what the secrets might be, and am glad not to have been totally caught out by the end. A really great fun modern mystery.

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The Cut

The Cut

Christopher Brookmyre

2nd May 2021

The latest Chris Brookmyre crime novel is another genius blend of cultural references, commentary on society, mystery, history, and comedy.

The plot considers the life of a former horror-movie make-up artist, released after a 25-year prison sentence for a crime she denies committing, and that of an 18-year-old film student. Both make for intriguing reading, and help explore both our world and the fiction that Brookmyre weaves on top of it.

The classic Brookmyre style is there, with a mix of storytelling in the present day and in flashback, which combine to reveal information at exactly the right pace. This gives quite a few of the classic gasp out loud moments as the plot meanders, though not quite to the throw down the book in delighted surprise level of one of his previous works.

I was particularly pleased when I identified an early and obscure reference, as my exposure to the horror film genre is limited just to the most mainstream - so there is something for everyone regardless of your own viewing habits.

A really good, enjoyable and engrossing novel.

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Fallen Angel

Fallen Angel

Christopher Brookmyre

23rd June 2019

Chris Brookmyre’s latest stand-alone novel is a surprisingly dark exploration of a family’s secrets, which gradually emerge over the course of a holiday in Portugal following the death of the patriarch.

The narrative is incredibly compelling, and Brookmyre has produced a text that’s so filled with mystery and intrigue that it was hard to put down. However it’s also got some pretty horrific moments, which are spread throughout, and make for quite difficult reading when you realise what’s being said.

There are multiple twists throughout, including one which had me throw down the book in delighted exasperation that it had managed to keep me going for so long.

I really enjoyed reading this and would totally recommend it, although it should probably come with appropriate trigger warnings.

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Places in the Darkness

Places in the Darkness

Christopher Brookmyre

23rd March 2018

Christopher Brookmyre, known for earlier comedic and latterly serious crime novels takes a second step into science fiction with this tale of a future space station, its new head of law enforcement and a local cop who knows the place like the back of her hand.

Brookmyre presents a future which is a rounded blend of positive and negative. The people of his world are socially liberal but fiscally conservative, which isn’t quite what their government want them to be. Things really kick off when there's a brutal murder aboard the space station, and some people really want to cover it up.

While the graphic storytelling, humour, characters and society are reminiscent of Brookmyre's usual output, the narrative felt like it had quite a different structure. It's told in the present tense (which as always takes me a while to get used to) but this also means the narrative is pretty much chronological, whereas a lot of Brookmyre's books tell a large part of the plot in flashback.

While not unenjoyable, I didn't feel the book sparked for me as much as his earlier works.

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Want You Gone

Want You Gone

Christopher Brookmyre

25th May 2017

After a few quite hard crime novels, it feels like Chris Brookmyre has relaxed a little back towards his earlier more comedic style with this book. While it's still a solid crime type novel, it is slightly lighter in tone and focussed on a less horrific type of crime.

This time out, disgraced journalist Jack Parlabane has a new gig, and is telling fascinating stories about hackers, when one of his sources decides it's time to cash in a favour. And it's a complicated one.

The issues dealt with in the story are really contemporary, and I loved how a room YRS has used elements he's slowly been introducing to pull together a story that takes current affairs from a number of different perspectives, and weaves them into a story that is not only action-packed, but also character-driven and that makes you think.

Another really great story that distracted me well from goings-on in the real world and got me back into reading much more regularly than I have recently.

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Black Widow

Black Widow

Christopher Brookmyre

25th March 2016

Brookmyre's original hero, now-disgraced journalist Jack Parlabane, returns in the next of the author's serious crime novels, when he's asked to look into the apparently accidental death of a hospital IT worker. As usual there's a lot going on and a fantastically dark set of characters to keep the reader guessing where things are going.

Like most of the author's novels, much of the story is presented retrospectively, in the form of flashbacks interspersed with contemporary events. This time there are multiple points of view thrown into the mix as well as multiple timeframes, but Brookmyre manages to bring each scene together into a beautifuly flowing narrative that reveals just the right amount of information to the reader at every turn. I picked up on some of the twists well in advance, but on reflection I suspect that was by design and they were telegraphed partly to distract me from everything else that was going on.

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Dead Girl Walking

Dead Girl Walking

Christopher Brookmyre

11th February 2015

Following on from 2014's ebook short, investigative reporter Jack Parlabane is finally back on the page and in the centre of a new story. Down on his luck after the real life events that have affected the British press, he's invited to take on a unique secret investigation by an old friend.

The events of the short story ([On] The Last Day of Christmas) are surprisingly important backstory for some of the events here and I certainly felt that if I hadn't read it first I'd be at least a little confused, if not frustrated, by the constant references back to it.

This book is actually surprisingly serious is tone and content. The days of the early Parlabane comedies, and the following eras of satire and even fantasy and gone and replaced with the more hard crime focus of Brookmyre's other recent novels. Despite this, it remains a thoroughly engaging read and has moments of levity throughout.

One common aspect of the author's other books does remain however - a good chunk of the story is told in flashback, this time through the journal of one of the new characters, which alternates through the chapters with Parlabane's viewpoint. This distribution makes for a plot that moves at a good pace and reveals things to the reader with perfect timing, and avoids the issue that some of his earlier books have with a sudden change of pace and focus halfway through.

I really liked this book and once again will recommend it widely. I especially loved a moment about two thirds through where the opening line of a chapter really surprised and indeed delighted me. As always I look forward to many more adventures for the author and his characters.

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Other reviewed books

On the Last Day of Christmas
Flesh Wounds
Bedlam
Jaggy Splinters
When the Devil Drives
Where the Bodies are Buried
Pandaemonium
A Snow Ball in Hell
Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks
A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil
All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses an Eye
Be My Enemy
The Sacred Art of Stealing
A Big Boy Did it and Ran Away
Boiling a Frog
One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night
Not the End of the World
Country of the Blind
Quite Ugly One Morning

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