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4.2 out of 5 stars56
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 23 August 2002
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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on 15 November 2001
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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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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on 22 November 2001
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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on 6 November 2001
I too found Boiling a Frog a bit below par for Christopher Brookmyre, who has quickly established himself as one of my favourite authors. He does this genre with panache and wit and not too much violence. I didn't find this one as good as 'One fine day' for example, but was a pretty good read nonetheless. I had some problems at the end with visualisation of all the goings on, but that didn't really reduce my interest or enjoyment. A good book, and (surely coincidentally) very topical.
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on 19 October 2001
After being mildly disappointed with 'Boiling a Frog', I was slightly nervous about buying this - what if it was crap? Fortunately it's not. This is by no means Brookmyre's best, but it is good, and you should chuckle throughout. The characterisation is spot-on and it is obvious that Brookmyre knows what he's talking about re: gaming and the late eighties Glasgow scene *at least according to my boyfriend who was there. The bad guys aren't as funny as in 'One Fine Day', but the plot twists and turns and this more than makes up for it.
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on 10 December 2012
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 characters.
Just as I felt the plot was gaining pace and my interest would rise it would divert into one of these needless forrays which added little to the story.I found myself skipping sections to get back to the plot which is not a good sign.

Brookmyre's books are usually of a far higher quality than this.
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on 4 December 2001
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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on 24 October 2010
Brookmyre's sixth book tells the story of Ray Ash and Simon Darcourt, two former university friends who find themselves on either side of the law when Ash discovers that Darcourt is now the world's most wanted terrorist.

The first thing to notice is that Brookmyre's style involves a lot of use of the Scots dialect. This didn't pose much of a problem to me but to those less familiar with it may lead to some confusion. Ash is a gamer, and several of his sections of the narrative are presented in style and comparison to computer games like Quake, which is a nice touch.

The style continues that which I have noticed in Brookmyre's previous novels, of using the majority of the book to establish the characters by way of flashback. While the characters are interesting and there are key reveals from their past left until fairly late on, and in places does feel a little frustrating as the actual plot doesn't move forward very fast.

At almost five hundred pages though, this book is about a hundred pages too long. At that point my attention started to drift away from the plot, especially as the flashbacks continued. Otherwise it was a fairly entertaining read, although the violence somewhat overwhelms the comedy.
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on 11 October 2001
I've waited for months for this book so I am an unashamed fan of Christopher Brookmyre.
He did not disappoint, it is utterly brilliant from start to finish. It's very sharp and very, very funny. His observations on Aberdeen and its natives are first class, though I don't think the local tourist board will be showering him with any "good boy" gold stars.
The fast pace is kept up the entire length of the book. His take on terrorism and terrorists is interesting, especially given the events of September 11.
Do yourself a favour and buy this book.
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