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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.
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on 22 September 2017
You think the bigger would have learned by now but, hey it makes for entertaining reading. Not my favourite of the series, but still a good read.
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on 5 September 2017
A good read and and galloping conclusion but you need to be prepared to put in the legwork to get there.
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on 19 July 2017
superb! thoroughly recommended!
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on 22 July 2017
Parlabane continues to be a great page turner, especially for those with a Scottish connection, and with political and moral questions to ponder too.
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on 7 September 2017
Too much diatribe not enough story. Skimmed a lot of the first half of the book. The earlier books were better.
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on 4 May 2004
This was my first Brookmyre read, and I was astounded by the hours of enjoyment that I received from this novel; alas, they were simply over far too quickly.
Although, as I believe has been noted by others, a quite unbelievable plot, Brookmyre offers an original and witty take on the perilous nature of politics, religion, New Scotland and the nature of society in this dark and brooding tale.
A story that will keep you on the edge of your seat, and at times feeling rather queasy, (hacking people's heads off with saws, sharpened steel rulers through parts of the body, that sort of thing) I raced through the pages to find out how the truly addictive plot and characters could possibly sort out the mess they had got themselves into.
With a quite obviously marvellous talent for encompassing the reader into the deceitful world of the plot, I will certainly be looking to submerge myself into Brookmyre's world again sometime soon.
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on 23 July 2003
I found this the most compelling of Brookmyre's books. The dialogue was sharp, humourous and realistic. Furthermore, the character development was superb as his is trademark. And, above all, it was very very funny.
Granted, the plot was unrealistic. But, on the other hand, this is, like his others, a satirical novel so this is not completely surprising. And in any case, the fast-moving and engaging writing style more than compensated for this.
Overall, a hugely enjoyable read.
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on 6 November 2000
I started with 'Quite ugly...' because Prachett recommended it as a good reading in an interview. A few weeks later I was through all his published works and eagerly waiting for the 'Boiling...' to arrive.
As a not-native speaker of English languague it was quite a chore reading his slang-filled books, but it was worth it, oh yes, by far! Reading one of Brookmyres books I have encountered three feelings - laughter that makes passers-by turn their heads and tsk-tsk disapprovingly; recognition ('Wow, he writes about how the things really are!') and panic ('God, what if the things really are the way he describes them?')
'Boiling a Frog' is not the best first book of Brookmyre to read, but it's an eagerly awaited sequel for those who have enjoyed Parlabane's past 'adventuers'. My favourite is still 'Not the end of the world', though.
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on 13 February 2001
A big Brookmyre fan, I was first in line for a copy of Boiling a Frog. Great disappointment! He's too good a writer to write a positively bad book, but this one is nowhere near up to his previous stuff. The story sounds good in synopsis, but takes ages to get going and lacks the usual eclectic and convincing mix of characters. Prison scenes dull, political intrigue duller. Most of the characters are unconvincingly monotone. Less funny, less exciting, just generally less.
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