With a few reviews now present, it's unlikely anyone will buy Bedlam expecting a novel in the style of the 'Jack Parlabane' series and similar for which the author is probably best known.
When he began a more traditional detective series (Where the Bodies are Buried
) it caused some consternation amongst a number of regular readers, and his most recent other book (Pandaemonium
) was also criticised for being different.
Well those who disliked those books for being different won't be happy here. This is a straight sci-fi novel, but with enough of the Brookmyre politics and wit present to be clearly identifiable. There are several of superb one-liners (not quoted here because of the naughty words) which would fit in any of the previous books, and a whole section devoted to criticising the Daily Mail, so it's on comfortable ground for those of us who've enjoyed all his previous books.
So, what we have here is a well executed, pretty much straight down the middle sci-fi novel. It's a clever premise, one explored in other books of recent times by other authors, but which comes with a clear knowledge of the computer games universe which the book inhabits. It's familiar reading for anyone who's played any of the leading games of the last 25-30 years.
Personally, I found it a little hard going at the start, but it was well worth sticking with. It does all make sense eventually, and I for one didn't see the eventual outcome at all.
Hats off to Christopher Brookmyre for tackling a new genre - for me it rates as a success attempt, and I'd be happy to read more.