A Big Boy Did it and Ran Away
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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) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
Im sure it says something very bad about my character that i enjoyed this book so much, truly, with events such as serial murder mass destruction and no remorse whatsoever it is worrying that i spent so much of this book in absolute hysterical laughter, Christopher Brookmyres deadpan factual dark humour was so wickedly perversely funny that once i started laughing i couldn't stop it was like taking that first footstep onto the slippery slope to hell and realising all is lost so no use fighting it any more just give in to the madness and go with it, The only drawback was it was read in one sitting and couldnt put it down till sometime shortly before dawn when i passed into peaceful slumber.
Nevertheless, I will doubtless continue to read CB books (in the hope of some improvement) and i am giving this one three stars for the occasional funny bits - Ash having sex with Kate for the first time, the passage about SSCs etc - but really, these books have gone downhill since BaF. Take a few years out, CB, and write a decent novel. Rushing off a new book just in time for Christmas is an insult to everyone, yourself included.
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...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Excellent mixture of fast moving adventure and humour, with a West of Scotland flavour.Published 14 days ago by Amazon Customer
Fst paced with interesting twists and Brookmyers injection of humour had me laughing out loud.Published 9 months ago by Diane Fulton
Always a worry when a much enjoyed author introduces a new main character but worry not friends of Jack Parlabane, Angelique is her own woman with plenty of character of her own.Published 14 months ago by Durazzo
I'm in the process of re-reading Brookmyre, after a bit of a break. This was the first one I ever read, so it was the one that got me hooked. Read morePublished 15 months ago by Whoever
Very enjoyable. Fans of the author will find more of the same type of humour. Another likeable character for tartan noir readersPublished 15 months ago by Charlie Beerfanny
This is still one of his best. Funny, clever, sharp and never one to shy away from making a political point or two and of course let's not forget the music, violence and football. Read morePublished 16 months ago by keen reader
A three star review might be a bit harsh for a book I generally enjoyed. My initial excitement over the release of a new Christopher brookmyre novel has waned over the years. Read morePublished 17 months ago by irmt