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4.6 out of 5 stars
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4.6 out of 5 stars
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on 5 December 2010
Brookmyre's seventh novel is a sequel to 'A Big Boy Did It And Ran Away', although the focus is now on police officer Angelique de Xavier, who was only the lead supporting character in the earlier novel. She's suffering with the consequences of her actions, but is still the person called in when an unusual bank robbery kicks off.

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.
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on 22 March 2017
One of my favourite authors, until he shortened his name and lost his sense of humour. My advice.....if it says Christopher on the cover, buy it. If it says Chris, burn it.
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on 12 July 2014
This is one of my favourite books ever. Don't be put off by the (slightly obscene) first chapter, which is from the POV of a minor character.

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.
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on 22 June 2017
A slow burner, then blam! Out of nowhere you're rushed off into an intensely thrilling game of cat and mouse with too u-turns and double buffs to keep you short of guessing the end game. Great stuff
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on 30 November 2014
As a great fan of Tom Sharpe in my teenage years, I think I've at last found an author to match that biting humour. A simple story of boy meet girl... Boy perpetrates dadaist bank siege and girl arrives hot-foot to save hostages (care of Glasgow Police). Sardonic, erudite and laugh out loud funny.
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I've got every Christopher Brookmyre book having been introduced to him by a friend who was a fan a good while ago. My first book i read was A Big Boy Did It, i then went back and purchased and read (in order of publication) The previous 5 books. I am now onto his 7th book (this one) and having met the man himself (he's from a town 2 miles from me) i can say that you really get a feel for what Brookmyre is about in this book. Although i haven't read his latest 3 novels(Be My Enemy, All Fun And Games, A Tale Etched In Blood) this in my opinion is his second best novel (his best is One Fine Day In The Middle Of The Night)

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.
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on 10 October 2002
Anqelique de Xavia (A Big Boy, etc.) returns in a book that shows a slight homage to Soderbergh's "Out of Touch" - only the film wasn't quite as funny and featured fewer invectives about Glaswegian Football fans.
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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on 29 December 2004
This is the first Brookmere novel I've read and I loved it.
The ingeneous plot is peppered with clever twists and turns. The characterisation and dialog is superb. The author has a way of creating and describing side-splittingly funny situations and several times I found myself in stitches laughing as events unfolded.
I obviously can't compare this novel to the author's other work but on the strength of this one (and the comments of other reviewers here) I will certainly be settling down to read some of the others.
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on 18 October 2002
Once again Christopher Brookmyre has excelled himself. The Sacred Art of Stealing is incredibly well-written - from the excellently observed characterisations, to the truly funny dialogue and a plot that twists and turns more times than a big bowl of spaghetti. It's just as tasty and satisfying too, while being much, much more witty and entertaining.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, and will probably read it again very soon, just to check out exactly how the plot was set and then unravelled so magnificently. If you're after a good read, and a few laughs along the way, this is your book.
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VINE VOICEon 29 July 2006
I was given this as a birthday present and it is my first encounter with Brookmyre and one I thoroughly enjoyed!

The tale is of a bizarre Glasgow bank robbery and the chase for the criminals involved.

The characters are fantastically developed, the story is very cleverly written with lots of twists. His humour is subtle but highly amusing. Hailing originally from Glasgow I enjoyed the fact it was set there.

It's a very cool book and I very much look forward now to tracking down others by him. 9/10.
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