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A Big Boy Did It And Ran Away [Paperback]

Christopher Brookmyre
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)

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Book Description

1 Aug 2002

Back when they were students, just like everybody else, Ray Ash and Simon Darcourt had dreams about what they'd do when they grew up. In both their cases, it was to be rock stars. Fifteen years later, their mid-thirties are bearing down fast, and just like everybody else, they're having to accept the less glamorous hands reality has dealt them. Nervous new father Ray takes refuge from his responsibilities by living a virtual existence in online games. People say he needs to grow up, but everybody has to find their own way of coping. For some it's affairs, for others it's the bottle, and for Simon it's serial murder, mass slaughter and professional assassination.

Visit the author's website on www.brookmyre.co.uk

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Product details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere; New edition edition (1 Aug 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751533254
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751533255
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 17.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,278,633 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

Amazon Review

His books are surrealistic, deeply irreverent and bitingly satirical. His characters may be larger than life, but are always rendered with total plausibility, however outrageous their actions. And the body count of his books is high--the world of Christopher Brookmyre's fiction is as dangerous as it is blackly comic. But is he a crime writer? A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away is another massive phantasmagoria, written with the author's customary caustic wit--and there's a character in it (a fast-living, highly successful assassin) who could have strayed in from a thriller. But such impressions never last for long--Brookmyre belongs to no genre, and this book is as uncategorisable as such previous epics as Boiling a Frog and the splendidly biting Quite Ugly One Morning.

In A Big Boy Did It... , his beleaguered hero Raymond Ash is struggling with the banal reality of his life as an English teacher and lamenting the evaporation of his student dreams. Responsibility isn't pleasant, Raymond has found. He takes refuge in a sad virtual existence, his online doodling substituting for real life. And then he encounters an old friend, whom he thought dead. Simon has achieved success in rock star-like terms: massive financial rewards, global travel, even notoriety. But his route has been that of the professional killer, and at that trade he's top of the tree. Raymond is seduced by the excitement of time spent with his old pal, even though he's reluctant to get involved with him again. But get involved he does, and soon every aspect of his life is under threat, with Ray yearning for the pretend violence of a computer game over the messy reality he's catapulted himself into.

Brookmyre sees terrorists and killers such as Simon as being self-deluded; whatever reasons they think they're performing their ruthless activities for (religion, a cause, money), they're really on a sad power trip, sublimating their craving for mass acclaim into violence. But he's never solemn--no diatribes here, unlike the organised religion he has so much distaste for. Brookmyre is adept at pulling the rug from beneath the reader's feet (Simon is attractive, until we get to know him better). The writing is always sharp, always funny, always innovative.--Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


A bit like a literary computer game, this novel has plenty of verve and dash, with Brookmyre more in your face than a smack from an outraged lover whose bottom you've pinched. (IRISH TIMES)

Brookmyre offers a brilliantly scathing portrayal of humanity... Sharply satirical and poignantly funny, this is a gripping and highly entertaining read. (TIME OUT)

Hilarous, exhilerating entertainment. (GLASGOW HERALD)

He really can write, with an exhilerating linguistic fluency and keenly subversive intelligence. (SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
I am a fan of Brookmyre's writing - he writes about subjects and settings which I can relate to more so than Carl Hiassen - but this one was a bit below par. The basic story was good and (unintentionally) topical, but there did seem to be some unneccssary padding. However, the part with the two boys from Ash's school in the truck was hilarious.
I'm still looking forward to the return of Parlabane, however.....
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars It verged on too much character development... 23 Aug 2002
By "dyls"
An excellent read - although it does almost have too much character development. The book takes many diversions from the main plot to go into the various character's backgrounds. Whilst it does give you a rich mental picture of who the main protagonists are, Brookmyre almost goes over the top with the detail.
Brookmyre has the rare skill of developing a character who you can respect and hate all at the same time: the introduction of Simon, and his cynical views of modern life are something many of us can agree with. But this character is quite evil - so you find yourself agreeing with some of what this utterly hateful character has to say. The other main character, Raymond Ash is an unlikely hero (who I can readily identify with, being a frequent Quake and UT player at LAN parties).
There's some superb plot twists in the story - some unexpected, and some you can see coming from a mile off, and Brookmyre leaves a hanging questionmark at the end of the book: maybe there's more to come?
Or maybe Simon will just end up facing some nice Black and Decker power-tools...
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not really a return to form 15 Nov 2001
By A Customer
I'm afraid I was disappointed with this book. I love his first two novels but have found all the subsequent ones somewhat lacking. It's hard to pinpoint why, but much of the problem stems from too much ranting and not enough plot or characterisation. This particularly applied to the first part of this book - I almost gave up at one point, it started to remind me of someone like Ben Elton trying to be cool... It did improve, but isn't a patch on some of his previous. A shame.
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16 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Genre-bender 26 Nov 2004
I read this book with no expectations or pre-conceptions at all, as I had never heard of the book or the author when I picked it up to read on a long train journey. Now I have read it I am not sure whether its a comedy book with lots of action or a thriller with lots of humour.
The book starts with a masterpiece of suburban angst-ridden satire about cars, lifestyles and modern life generally which proves to be a false start as the story jumps somewhere else completely. After a while the story settles down and plays out a bit like a Tarantino film with lots of jumps back in time to fill out several back stories. (I am being deliberately vague. I enjoyed the little surprises and twists and don't want to spoil them for anyone else.)
By the end of the book, all the flashbacks and false starts have been tied together and you realise what a fantastic jigsaw the plot is, but long before then you have stared turning the pages faster and faster to see what is going to happen next.
For people of a certain age (like mine) the frequent references to old shoot-em-up games like Duke Nukem, Doom and Quake and 70s and 80s rock music are just an added bonus to it all.
At different times this is a comedy, a vicious satire and a psychological thriller, but the different elements enhance each other instead of distract. I can see why the cover quote compares the author to Carl Hiaasen, who also manages to blend humour and thriller together with satire.
From my point of view, the best news is that this is not a new book, but is a few years old, and Mr Brookmyre wrote several previous books and has written several since, so I now have another half dozen or so books I can hunt down. For me its like discovering a new author, but not having to wait for him to write another book because I have a backlog to catch up on.
I would recommend this to just about anyone.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
Nappies, colic, high school kids, guns, bombs and the fabulous city of Aberdeen. A wonderful mix of scottish everyday life and internationally sponsored violence. A fine book, good plot, laugh out loud characters; tapers off gently at the end only to deliver one of the finest last lines ever written.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Lighter Side of Terror 29 Jan 2009
2001. Not a year to write a comedy book surrounding mass acts of terror, but a year that did see the release of Christopher Brookmyre's `A Big Boy Did it and Ran Away'. Obviously Brookmyre had no idea when writing this book the events that occurred in September of that year, but as a reader I could not help but feel it. This is ostensibly a very dark comedy novel that tries to explain away some of the mystery of terrorists - Brookmyre paints them as arrogant, self obsessives, undeserving of any level of intelligence that people may give them the benefit of doubt for. When he is tackling these issues the book is at its best. The opening sequence and final action set piece are fantastic.

One criticism is that Brookmyre likes to overindulge in character set up. In some books this leaves you a little bored. However, here Brookmyre has created a central threesome that you want to know more about and the 500 pages are just about justified. The one area that I did not like was the school children. I have never found Brookmyre's portrayal of teenagers authentic and that is the case here again. `Big Boy' manages to combine dark humour with some very poignant moments. Brookmyre is a class author and he is able to take you on some rather sinister rides. This is certainly one of his better books and worth a read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Very funny
Published 1 month ago by rosemary playfair
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
excellent as always
Published 2 months ago by M
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Brilliant as always
Published 3 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly original
A different approach to this type of novel.

Full of dark humour and some gritty action - and don't we all know a self-centred git like the villain? Read more
Published 9 months ago by Marc Wilson
3.0 out of 5 stars Fab
This is the second time i have read this once in hardback form and now on my kindle. Great story and the banter between the 2 boys is dead brillant
Published 15 months ago by L. Mone
4.0 out of 5 stars 007 meets Wilt
Following his school reunion in A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil, the author brings university buddies back together. Read more
Published 15 months ago by gerardpeter
5.0 out of 5 stars A book I enjoy reading again and again.
Perhaps my favourite book by Christopher Brookmyre and I'm definitely a fan.

A funny enjoyable book that also reminds me of some of my time growing up too. Read more
Published 19 months ago by JustGav
2.0 out of 5 stars Not Brookmyyre's page turning usual offfering
I found this a frustrating book. The idea was good and some of the characters were ok but there were too many diversions into what I thought were needless mini biographies of the... Read more
Published 22 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Tartan Noir!
I love Christopher Brookmyre's dark humour and daft stories - they seem oddly credible while you're immersed in them and brilliantly bizarre when you take a step back. Read more
Published 23 months ago by Maibeth
5.0 out of 5 stars Book Review
As usual Amazon deliver a fast and efficient download of another classic Christopher Brookmyre story, full of twists, turns and brilliant plotwork
Published on 17 Oct 2012 by jimbo
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