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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 16 February 2013
Though normally quite a fan of Chris's books I feel this was one of his worst. I'm very much in the atheist camp but did find Chris's harrangues against Religious Fundamentalism to become more and more tiresome and had to skip paragraphs that felt as if they'd escaped from a Richard Dawkins novel, just to make it through the story.

That said the story itself was good and was the only thing that kept me going when at times I wanted to just abandon the book.

Another minor issue was the books 1999 setting, pre-millennia angst seems such a long way off, dating the book quite severely
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on 16 July 2012
Having read most of Chris Brookmyre's work I am finding this book a change from his norm.. I had hoped for a light summer read to slip in my luggage but unfortunately quickly realised that I could not give it sufficent attention. I am saving this one to my Kindle and I will be reading it later in the year! It is certainly not in the normal vain for him and I am unclear in my own self at this point, having read only a short part of the book , as to whether or not I could provide a sufficiently complete review for his more complex work?
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on 15 June 2017
Excellent!
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It's very rarely a writer comes along who manages to do what Christopher Brookmyre has done. He's managed to invent a genre all of his own, which can only be called `Tartan Noir', and writes thrillers which are attention grabbing, inventive, funny and, er, thrilling.

There's a nice inventive set-up in this pacey thriller. There's a porn film convention in LA, and a set of archly conservative Christian evangelists holding their own convention across the road. In the middle is Larry Freeman, a police man trying to keep them from each other's throats whilst also trying to solve the mysterious disappearance of four marine scientists. The story also follows photographer Steff Kennedy, on assignment to photograph the film convention, who gets caught up in the religious plot to rid the world of filth. Or is there something more to it?

This is a great read. It has all the hallmarks of a Brookmyre novel, seemingly very disparate plot threads that seem completely unconnected at first, but then weave together in a great way that leaves you thinking `of course!' There are greatly drawn characters, the back story of each is well explained, and you never feel that they are two dimensional or clichés. You really feel an empathy for them. There is a slew of wonderfully inventive and grisly murders, a broad streak of very black humour and the usual stance against religious stupidity. Not for the faint hearted or closed minded!

A great thriller that will keep you gripped and laughing right to the end. A proper page turner, I can't recommend it enough.
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on 9 April 2006
"Not the end of the world" is my second dip into the writings of Christopher Brookmyre and once again I can happily report that I have been both delighted and well entertained by this peach of a book.
Steff Kennedy is the Scottish photographer who finds himself in Los Angeles reporting on the American Feature Film Market, a large exhibition where all the small B-Movie makers gather together to peddle their sometimes questionable wares. Just to complicate matters the evangelical American League of Decency led by the ex-Presidential candidate Luther St John has also decided to set up camp just across from the AFFM festival and stage their own gathering of religious led celebrations.
This headache is the problem of LAPD sergeant Larry Freeman who has the inevitable job of looking after security. When a mysterious ship is found just off the coast with all crew missing things look like they may not be destined to run all that smoothly. When the boat is then subsequently linked to Luther St John things look like they are definitely not going to be running smoothly.
Like the other book of Mr Brookmyre's I have read, "Country of the blind" he likes to take a subject and then take it to task in his own special way. Here the subject that gets the full treatment is religion and especially that of the American TV Evangelists. The caustic and unforgiving way he takes full advantage of the subject makes for a most entertaining and sometimes laugh out loud read.
The characters are also superbly crafted and the reader will soon feel an affiliation with the good guys and a deep dislike of the baddies. The rather clichéd relationship that develops between Steff and Maddy is pretty carbon copy but is none the less enjoyable for that and the reader is firmly rooting for them the whole book through. I found the background given to the characters fully worthwhile and thought this was a useful addition to rounding these characters off.
Christopher Brookmyre is an author who demands the reader's full attention when reading the book. You can't pick one of his books up and casually flick through a few hundred pages at a sitting. Still when the story is an engaging as this one that's no bad thing.
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on 30 April 2016
First Impression: Christopher Brookmyre is one of my top favourite authors so I am slightly biased on this book, but it is his first stand alone book that is not part of one of his very awesome series' and it stands out nicely. It is a bold effort full of big events that will have you tearing through it to uncover the truth.

Summary of the Story:

Off the coast of Los Angeles a boat is found, it looks lived in but the crew is missing as though they were swept away in the middle of whatever they were doing. LA cop Larry Freeman is looking into this modern day Mary Celeste and his investigations produce very little evidence of anything fishy...excuse the pun.

Santa Monica is a town split in half, there is the American film makers peddling their various movies on the masses and there is The Festival Of Light, a religious gathering of hardcore Christian's there to protest the sin filled content the AFFM is peddling. Along with the FOL there is the American legion of decency and their leader Reverend Luther St John who is predicting a tidal wave will be coming to wash away all the sinners that plague the town. As 1999 syndrome fills the air so close to the millennium people are primed for thinking the END IS NIGH.

With religious protest under way and Luther St John declaring that 'The Whore of Babylon' and all the other sinners will be taken in the flood, there is apocalypse in everyone's minds. Madeleine A.K.A 'The Whore of Babylon' is a hardcore adult film actress/senator's daughter, she ignores Luther's campaign against her as she is out of the business and laying low. But when an Anonymous person threatens to blow up a boat load of innocent people if she doesn't kill herself on national TV at dawn the next day, she has to make some tough decisions.

Steff Kennedy is just a photographer from the U.K, but can he help save the world and get the girl...?

My Review:

Christopher Brookmyre picked the perfect time and setting for this story, my favourite part of this book straight off the bat is that each character has his or her own properly fleshed out back story, identity and writing style. CB doesn't just write one way for every character, he uses culture, speech and ideals to fuel each person's battle in this high octane story.

I have a very high opinion of CB and his work, but that doesn't count for much here, this is only his third book and he is still finding his signature style. This means it does not read like a typical Brookmyre piece which I found was a nice treat. Much like Bedlam, it is out of his usual comfort zone. I thought the story was solid, the characters were well put together in the sense that I agree that the life they have lived would produce the very people that they are in this story.

Larry Freeman has popped up previously in CB's first book, and it is great to see him back and fleshed out. He is a fairly standard character, cop with a tragic past but there are still a few unique touches to him that stop the eye-rolling, for example he uses his tragedy for a positivity instead of letting it hold him back. Larry is the glue that holds this story together and he is a very enjoyable character.

Luther St John is the star character in this piece, his story is tragic, humiliating, inspiring (to a minor degree), religious and ultimately evil. You can't help but feel bad for St John and understand why he is as he is. He is a man who overcame trials to become the man we see in this story and CB documents his life fully and the writing builds a great character who takes the story to many different places.

The other characters in this book are great too, I really enjoyed the love story between Steff and Madeleine, it brought the narrative back to the present moment and provided a sometimes much needed distraction in the heavier parts of the plot. Steff is funny, tough and smart. Madeleine is beautiful, wounded and but still has a lot of fight in her. Madeleine's back story deals with some strong themes including self harm and childhood sexual abuse, but its not overwhelming (though it is unacceptably tragic).

The plot was not too unbelievable if you stretch your mind a little, but with the right people and the right means then it could happen. It includes A LOT of religion and quite a bit of oceanography terminology which can bog down the plot slightly but I never found myself wanting to skip parts because I couldn't put up with it. Luther's story brings the other strong themes, religion in it's more extreme boundaries, as well as dedication to the Lord's way.

My main criticism of the piece is that it is not a very smooth read, it can be choppy in places and it can be annoying to have to go back and re-read parts to get a better understanding, this is only in certain places but still. This is me personally though, you may find it a piece of cake and that I am just a bit slower than the norm...

Overall this book captures the era it was set in perfectly, the new millennium brought plenty of chaos to our civilisation and CB paints this picture nicely and cooks up a decent plot and a handful of great characters to really bring it to life again.

8/10

Check this out and many more reviews @ alwaystrustinbooks.blogspot.co.uk, or add us on Facebook, follow us on Twitter @AlwTrustInBooks. We are also on Goodreads and post on Amazon UK/US. Thanks for reading and feel free to leave me some feedback from this review.
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on 25 May 2010
This is quite a strange novel. Mostly in terms of it's structure. The story focuses on Luther St John, a Christian fundamentalist who predicts his god will send a destructive tidal wave to destroy LA. He then goes out of his way to ensure he's right. Meanwhile Scottish photographer Steff falls head over heels with the model he is shooting. It's an odd blend of comedy crime romance that succeeds in pulling off all three.

The structure is weird because about half of the narrative consists of flashbacks explaining the history of each character in turn. Annoyingly with the exception of Larry, the police sergeant, who hints at elements of history throughout but never goes into much detail, and Steff - together the two main characters. As a character building exercise it's very interesting, but it slows down the action and in some places (particularly St John's history) is too distracting from the main focus.

The plot is surprisingly believable, despite the extreme nature of the fundamentalists, and their background is fleshed out enough to give a satisfactory insight into how they got where they are. The story starts with quite a large number of disparate plots which tie together nicely by the end.

There are a few subtle hints that this is the same world as Brookmyre's previous novels, but done well enough that if you have not read them you won't spot them, unlike some books I have read which seem to plug earlier stories by the same author. Other than the fundamentalists being very annoying in places (but that's realism!) it's been a good read, despite some places having to force myself through to get back to the story.

The presentation was a little disappointing. The chapter headings in my copy match the previous (blue) cover, rather than the new (green) cover that my book has, and I felt the publisher could at least have tried for a consistent design.
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on 31 July 2006
'Not the End of the World' is set in 1999 and tackles some weighty issues such as religion, belief, the encroaching millennium and pornography! A militant Christian has taken it upon himself to hold a dubious film festival to random by placing a bomb on a boat. Meanwhile, a Scottish photographer has just fallen in love with an ex-porn star that in turn has just been told that she has to kill herself to save the lives of 88 other people. Can the police stop the madman before it gets too late and what about the three missing nuclear warheads?

Brookmyre has produced a complex and exciting novel that has at least 4 main characters each being involved in the story in a different way. He fleshes out these characters in an outstanding way giving what happens to them more weight than if we did not care about them.

With a central love story that I enjoyed and exciting set pieces, parts of this book are excellent. It is a very moral tale and discusses the fact that some people believe in religion so much that they are willing kill for its cause. The failings are few but a slow first third did not help and also the spectacular set pieces some times got confusing.

However, 'Not the End of the World' is one of Brookmyre's best books I have read and left me thinking.
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on 12 October 1999
Once again Brookmyre had me in knots, his plots are great, and as an ex-patriot Glaswegian, his use of the Glasgow patter must have kept my next door mates on the oil rig awake, and me in tears. Keep it up Chris, I love it.
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on 4 October 2007
I came to Christopher Brookmyre rather late in life (nine of his books already in paperback, and the tenth about to be published), but I have read all eleven in the past twelve months or so, and have found this to be one of his best. I have read his books in chronological order, so this was one of the first, and the first that wasn't about Jack Parlabane. Having recently finished his first two books, I started this with a little trepidation - it seemed odd to start off with that there was no sign of Parlabane (though he does get the briefest of mentions as being a good friend of lead character Steff Kennedy) - but I soon settled into things, and discovered that, actually, things were better without him.

There are times when the plot gets slightly TOO far-fetched (hey, it's a Brookmyre), but it still manages to stay just about this side of plausible, which certainly can not be said of one or two of his later offerings (I'm thinking All Fun & Games as a for instance). I have read comments about "Americans with a British accent" being a problem, but it certainly wasn't for me. Far harder, I think, for American authors to pen British characters.

As time has gone on, presumably Mr Brookmyre has found it harder and harder to come up with plausible plots (the latest Rubber Ducks episode being the lowest point yet), but then, we are talking fiction here, so does it really matter how implausible the plot is?
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