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Attack Of The Unsinkable Rubber Ducks [Paperback]

Christopher Brookmyre
3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
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Book Description

5 Jun 2008

Do you believe in ghosts? Do we really live on in some conscious form after we die, and is that form capable of communicating with the world of the living?...Aye, right.

That was Jack Parlabane's stance on the matter, anyway. But this was before he found himself in the more compromising position of being not only dead himself, but worse: dead with an exclusive still to file. From his position on high, Parlabane relates the events leading up to his demise, largely concerning the efforts of charismatic psychic Gabriel Lafayette to reconcile the scientific with the spiritual by submitting to controlled laboratory tests. Parlabane is brought in as an observer, due to his capacities as both a sceptic and an expert on deception, but he soon finds his certainties crumbling and his assumptions turned upside down as he encounters phenomena for which he can deduce no rational explanation. Perhaps, in a world in which he can find himself elected rector of an esteemed Scottish university, anything truly is possible. One thing he knows for certain, however: Death is not the end - it's the ultimate undercover assignment.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Abacus; Reprint edition (5 Jun 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0349118817
  • ISBN-13: 978-0349118819
  • Product Dimensions: 12.4 x 19.6 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (52 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 75,669 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris Brookmyre was a journalist before becoming a full time novelist with the publication of QUITE UGLY ONE MORNING. Since writing A BIG BOY DID IT AND RAN AWAY he and his family decided to move away from Aberdeen and now live near Glasgow.

Product Description


Sharply satirical and poignantly funny, this is a gripping and highly entertaining read. (Time Out)

Chris Brookmyre is a genius. (Mirror)

Brookmyre has no equal. (Maxim)

Exhilerating linguistic fluency and keenly subversive intelligence (Scotland on Sunday)

Book Description

Bad language. Scatalogical humour. Razor wit. Convoluted plot. High readability. It's the new Christopher Brookmyre novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
39 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A welcome change of tone from Brookmyre 5 Sep 2007
By Keris Nine TOP 500 REVIEWER
Well now, this is a pleasant surprise. Brookmyre's last novel was the first to really break the familiar though hugely enjoyable formula of all his other books - incompetent terrorists or wannabee gangsters getting into explosive siege situations with high bodycounts and an even higher expletive quotient. It was a formula however that was starting to get a bit stale, but with 'Blood and Hard Black Pencil' Brookmyre showed that he was capable of stretching his range a little bit. 'Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks' goes much further.

It might be slightly toned-down and lacking the usual barrage of one-liners, but Brookmyre's mordant sarcasm and bitter cynicism is still there, and there is no slacking in the writer's mischievous debunking of the establishment. If anything, his target in 'Rubber Ducks' is a rather more pertinent one than the usual government-led conspiracies, small-time ned gangsters and anonymous terrorist organisations. In his targeting of the fraudsters and tricksters who call themselves mediums, spiritualists and psychic entertainers, it's not too much of a stretch to see he is attacking the credulous public's growing tolerance and acceptance for the unscientific beliefs of Creationism and Intelligent Design and their encroachment into the nation's classrooms. (A few sideswipes at the Holyrood and the Daily Mail don't go amiss either).

Anyone looking for the familiar explosive Brookmyre pyrotechnics is going to be disappointed by this new book, but those who consider the author a talented writer will be delighted to see him develop his style and range and put all that bitter rage towards something more meaningful than the enjoyable but all-blurred-into-one homogeneity of his previous books. It's not perfect however.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Brookmyer yet 5 Jun 2011
This is Brookmyres best yet, a very well sequenced plot that skips a merry dance whilst debunking hokum and bunkum irrespective of whether it is PSI or Whooo as he calls it, or religion - Brookmyre leaves little doubt that to him both are equally ridiculous. Therefore some readers of a religious persuasion may not take to it but for those that do they are in for a treat. A cleverly twisting plot that re-introduces a favourite character - Jack Parlabane.
Brookmyre is at his sarcastic windmill tilting best with this book. Git it up yer - a stoater.

I cannot agree with those who scored this low, it cannot be for reasons of poor plot or development, but each to his own. Not suitable for Christians, Muslims, Spiritualists or other believers in the absurd etc etc you have been warned.

A very, very entertaining read.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars oot The Windae 30 Aug 2007
Was looking forward to this when I saw the title and that it was the return of Parlabane investigative journalist.

The book starts with jack telling us he's dead and it's due to his meeting TV psychic Gabriel Lafayette. The story is told by Parlapane and others in a past tense.As a confirmed cynic he's seen as the perfect candidate to take part in scientific experiemnts to prove or disprove as Jack would say all this pyschic nonsense.

It's only really the second half of the book where the tory gets going and I felt the twists for once were fairly easy to predict. The first half is very slow particularly if you already know the character. Maybe with the last two books not being about Jack, Brookmyre felt the need to reference his previous books more.

There's some genuine laugh out moments I particularly liked the character Spammy's explanation for giving up smoking canabis.

For those loyal Brookmyre readers this is ok not his best but still worth reading. For anyone who hasn't read his books before please don't start with this it won't give you a real feel for how good Brookmyre can be.

Jack Parlabane I thought was a great creation with his dry humour and "criminal" methods of investigating here he's led by others and comes across as stupid

To sum up if you love Brookmyre it's worth reading but if you wait for the paperback version you might be glad you waited and saved a few quid.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A quacking good read 28 Sep 2009
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
If you have never read Christopher brookmyre you do not know what you are missing.
I suggest you start with the first in the series and work towards this one as some characters are reoccurring (Although all the book are good stand-alone and some are not part of a series).
As always the author is a master of leading you down one path where you totally agree with everything that is being put forward then flip everything is turned on it's head. Genius
He is an absolute master of writing and has nowhere near the recognition he deserves.
Do yourself a favour and get yourself a Christopher brookmyre.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
It's unfortunate. A lot of the negative reviews on this book have a common thread; namely, that Jack Parlabane's character isn't in 'full throttle' here.

I'll concur with that, but does it really matter that much when the novel itself is so well-plotted?

I'm a relatively new fan of Brookmyre. I've read a few of his books (All fun & Games, Quite Ugly One morning, and A tale etched in Blood), and enjoyed them all, for very different reasons, and Unsinkable Rubber Ducks, like the other novels that I've read, was another superb bit of storytelling, with everything I've come to expect from the author; namely, a great plot, canny twists, likeable characters, and more than just one trick up the sleeve.

But most of all, the subject matter was a real selling point to me.

What I didn't like about the book was that it borrows (whether accident, intention, homage or coincidence) from an old Columbo movie "Columbo Goes to the Guillotine". - Without giving too much away, both tales involved a psychic under scientific scrutiny, and the main character collaborating with a young geeky kid to crack the case. Both even had similar ESP experiments.

However, Unsinkable Rubber Ducks also had Brookmyre's unabashed cheesecloth-grabbing, caustic, lucid, and very funny observations on the whole subject of spiritualism. Penn Jilette would be proud!

Add to that, a whole plethora of twists, deceptions, denouments, and a series of one-fingered salutes to the likes of Derek Acorah & Uri Geller, the only people who wouldn't like it are spiritualists afraid of having their bubbles burst, and anyone who is a little unhealthily obsessed by whether Parlabane is 'on form' or 'off colour' in each of Brookmyre's Parlabane books.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars No need the tangled web to weave when mugs are desperate to believe
Jack Parlabane is not my favourite CB character, but I got into this one quite well. The characters are well depicted and there is a satisfying mystery that Jack has to solve – if... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Eileen Shaw
5.0 out of 5 stars Great plot, lots of twists
I loved this! I started off by listening to this as an audio book, which was confusing as the narrative switches between characters, but reading it as a book is far better. Read more
Published 4 months ago by Debbie Baxter
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent
While admittedly already a huge fan of Christopher Brookmyre, this book was one of his best. Full of intrigue, suspense and the usual dry humour.
Published 5 months ago by Gill Edwards
5.0 out of 5 stars I have read it 3 times over the last 5 years
Brilliant, well-written, clever and original. The Scottish 'speak' is an added bonus.Hopefully, there will soon be another Christopher Brookmyre book featuring Jack Parlabane.
Published 9 months ago by Karl Bundy
4.0 out of 5 stars Floats the Boat
The URDs of the title are beliefs that people hold onto despite their continual refutation, for example faith-healing and the tarot. Gabriel Lafayette is an American conman. Read more
Published 12 months ago by gerardpeter
5.0 out of 5 stars Maybe his best yet?
Jack Parlabane is back. Sort of. You'll not get any spoilers from me, but I'll say that this is definitely one of Brookmyre's cleverest, and it would seem most carefully... Read more
Published 13 months ago by Darth Gixxer
5.0 out of 5 stars Rubber Ducks
I love these books - was glad I was introduce to them by a friend. Have now read all of Christopher's book and have the next on order. I love his humour! Read more
Published 16 months ago by Ann Farmer
1.0 out of 5 stars Too preachy by half and a sad loss of form.
I really like reading Christopher Brookmyre's work, but I was so disappointed with this effort. Here he sacrifices all the aspects of his work which make him such a good writer,... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Mark
5.0 out of 5 stars CB and Parlabane on top form
After being less than over enthusiastic about CB's All Fun & Games and A Tale Etched, it's great to able to report he's back. Read more
Published 18 months ago by Dillon the Villain
5.0 out of 5 stars Brookmyre is a master of unexpected drama
Another terrific yarn by Chris Brookmyre. I was told 2 years ago he was a good read, and since then I've read all of his novels but the latest one (kinda saving that so I've... Read more
Published 18 months ago by Phil
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