22 of 22 people found the following review helpful
An Acerbic, Exhilarating Tour de Force,
This review is from: A Snowball In Hell (Paperback)
One of the three main characters in this book is a sleight of hand specialist. Zal Innez previously appeared in the excellent `The Sacred Art of Stealing' alongside Angelique De Xavia, the policewoman who hunted him down, then let him escape because she loved him. His stagecraft is a metaphor for this book insofar as NOTHING is as it seems and author Christopher Brookmyre stuns us regularly throughout with a whole series of brilliant set-pieces of misdirection.
Here, Angelique relocates and recruits Zal to help her capture arch-baddie Simon Darcourt (who previously appeared in `A Big Boy Did it and Ran Away, together with Angelique). Zal and Angelique put their unresolved love affair on hold as they pursue Darcourt, who is capturing celebrity after celebrity and killing them in his own bizarre version of a reality TV show. She also has a special vested interest in apprehending him that I won't give away.
Halfway through this book I actually thought Christopher was trowelling on the satire too heavily, taking pot shots at too many easy targets: crap racist 70s comedians, gold-digging WAGS, reality TV, manufactured teen bands, splenetic right wing newspaper columnists. And some of these had already been covered by Ben Elton in `Dead Famous' and `Chart Throb'. But I have to say I was then bowled over by an excellent bit of misdirection - pure Jeffrey Deaver in execution - and was later actually punching the air and grinning from ear to ear at the audacity of later examples of his legerdemain.
It goes without saying that there are several hilarious passages, and that Christopher is 1000% more caustic than Ben Elton, or the other writer he's often compared to, Florida's own moral guardian, the great Carl Hiaasen.
`A Snowball in Hell' is a high-octane mix of thriller, satire... and love story, the latter proving that CB has a heart beneath his curmudgeonly exterior. It is also quite superb and right up there with the very best of his books. And as I mentioned earlier, the plot twists are breath-takingly good.
Recommended highly to all lovers of crime thrillers, satire, humour, and indeed anyone in general who likes a good read. However, one word of warning: you don't necessarily have to have read either of the two CB titles I mentioned above, but I recommend you do otherwise you may find the first 20-30 pages, and a few later plot references, a touch difficult to follow.