Everyone's favourite unorthodox journalist, Jack Parlabane, goes undercover to investigate the mysterious and lucrative world of alternative medicine: in particular the practice of homeopathy. Are there unexplained forces that can be harnessed to heal us, or is it all a load of sugar? Meanwhile a sinister tale of restorative justice and the occult takes an even darker turn; two body-snatchers find more than they bargained for when raiding a morgue; and a contract killer finds that fatherhood has sent him on the straight and narrow . . . sort of.
Reviewed on 23rd November 2012
Jaggy Splinters is a collection of short stories and other pieces by Christopher Brookmyre, one of my favourite authors, whose series of dark comedies has kept me entertained for many hours. This ebook is a bit of a mixed bag though, with some pieces better than others.
The first story, place b., is the best of the bunch, and is similar to Brookmyre's 'Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks', seeing his most frequent character, journalist Jack Parlabane, investigate homeopathy. In place it feels like a bit of a rant, but it's a story that's trying to tell a point and it's one well made, with the author's usual sense of humour and style intact. Parlabane reappears in one of the later stories, which reads like a discarded opening chapter from a novel, but is nonetheless a good stand alone tale.
The final two pieces I've read before on the web - the first is another interesting short story about a character that could easily have retired from one of Brookmyre's novels. The second felt out of place - it's not really a story, just a piece of comic writing, and one that I didn't find that funny. Of the remaining two short stories, one is another good piece of dark comedy, but the other feels abrupt and the joke doesn't really work - there's no real connection to what's happening and the tale has no real point to it.
Overall, I'm torn - most of the content is excellent - pure Brookmyre genius, and worth the price alone for a little piece of his vision of the world - and the others aren't really weak enough to drag it down. A good quick fix of comic storytelling while I wait for Brookmyre's next novel to come out.