The Sacred Art Of Stealing Hardcover – 3 Oct 2002
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A thriller, love story, social satire and a warning against taking absurdism too seriously.. (TIME OUT)
Chris Brookmyre is a genius. (DAILY MIRROR)
Brookmyre has no equal. (MAXIM)
Exhilarating linguistic fluency and keenly subversive intelligence (SCOTLAND ON SUNDAY)
A robbery in Glasgow might not seem an unusual background for a crime novel - until it's put into the hands of Britain's leading satirist ...See all Product description
Top customer reviews
The first thing that should be noted is the liberal spread of strong language, however the use of Scots dialect has been dialled down which makes the prose easier to read than in some of his previous novels.
The plot is captivating and surprisingly believable, with the appealing angle that you end up rooting for someone who is ultimately a baddie. The scale of the plot is certainly on the level of films like 'The Thomas Crowne Affair' with an ingeniously complicated plan by the criminals that doesn't become completely clear until the very end.
There are a couple of chapters which have a strikingly different style, one the very first, which after reading I was a little concerned that I would not enjoy reading the book - fortunately I read on though and got to the good parts which make up by far the majority of the text.
The key to this book though is the relationships between the characters, which are developed exceptionally well and provide the impetus to turn what could have been a run of the mill cops and robbers story into a brilliant read.
This is the middle book of a 3-part series, so start with a Big Boy Did It and Ran Away. A few things in this book will make more sense if you do, but it isn't required for this book. However, the third book (Snowball in Hell) really requires that you've read the first two and this book has serious spoilers for the first one.
Some of them (Boiling A Frog, Not The End Of The World) are a bit of a struggle to get to the end but this is fantastic. To read it you really need to have read it's predecessor A Big Boy... as it introduces Angelique to you and there are references to events in the previous book. As a work on it's own merits it does stand out. In my opinion the closer Brookmyre sticks to home (Boiling A Frog being an exception) the more likely he is to hit the mark also the more elaborate the setting or plot the more easily distracted he becomes.
I won't spoil the plot but this is based upon a daring bank raid carried out by American crooks in Buchanan St in Glasgow and concerns a game of cat and mouse between the cop (Angelique) and the lead robber. There are Glasgow gangsters and American hardmen thrown in as well but the plot never gets too carried away. It really is riveting but does fall away a bit in the final third but the first half of the book more than makes up for that.
If you are to own some if not all Brookmyre books then this along with Quite Ugly One Morning, A Big Boy Did It And Ran Away and also One Fine Day... are the ones to have. The rest
though quite good in their own right never seem as good as this or One Fine Day.
A very Worthwhile Read.
The oddest bank robbery ever takes place in Buchanan St and de Xavia ends up as part of the show. Still not over the events in the previous book (a terrorist attack at a Scottish dam) she is feeling restless (it being her 30th birthday doesn't help). And her response to the robbers' leader clashes pretty seriously with her professional responsibilities.
The book has as much anger as you expect from Brookmyre, and while not as funny as "One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night" it can certainly cause you to embarrass yourself on crowded transport - several LOLs are a cert.
As usual there are the comparisons to Hiassen, but reading Brookmyre I get something I never get from Hiassen's books - I know where he is coming from. I recognise the backdrop and the politics, and it gives it so much more meaning. It was years before I knew about the provenance of some of Hiassen's characters (sugar - say no more) and it adds so much more. Brookmyre is a damn fine writer - but I can't help looking forward to each book even more because I recognise so much that is brilliantly transferred into print.
And the evil treatment of a right wing journalist should certainly warn anyone who intends to argue his politics of what the response may be!
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