Top positive review
Slow plot up until the end
on 14 September 2010
Brookmyre's fifth novel sees the return of investigative journalist Jack Parlebane, thrown in jail for breaking and entering. It retains the same Scots dialect, black comedy and gory scenes as the previous novels, but the plot does not come across so well.
Most of the book is told out of chronological order - the main narrative being with Jack in jail, but interspersed with chapters detailing how this came to be and introducing the other elements of the plot. About two-thirds of the way through the whole thing switches back to 'real time' and from there the story flows much better.
The ideas behind the plot are as ludicrously believable and gloriously violent as usual, and the characters who populate Brookmyre's Scotland are well presented and varied. There are reappearances of a number of characters from earlier novels, some expanded in interesting directions and others seemingly there only as deus ex machina.
Overall, I can't say it was up to the usual standard, though certainly things picked up towards the end. I wouldn't recommend it over the other four I've read.