Be My Enemy
3 journalers for this copy...
By now, readers know what to expect from the remarkable Mr Brookmyre, and Be My Enemy has all the hallmarks of his caustic wit. The protagonist of his earlier books, the wry Jack Parlabane, makes a welcome reappearance, faced with an intriguing professional problem: he is to take part in a weekend of "corporate teambuilding" in the comfortable surroundings of a secluded estate. But quite what sort of course is this? Jack's instincts as a no-holds-barred hack, skilled at uncovering unpalatable truths, warn him that something unusual is in the offing--but he's not quite prepared for the extremely dangerous sideshow that is to accompany the corporate makeovers.
This is wonderfully abrasive stuff, full of the scabrous insights that we read Brookmyre for, and it's good to see ideas shoehorned into the satirically biting prose; while never neglecting the crucial task of keeping us turning those pages, Brookmyre makes some sharp points here; one of them being that we all harbour certain fascist tendencies, stifling a desire to put paid to those who go against us. The Highland country house in Be My Enemy functions as a hot house in which certain ideas along these lines can be explored--and Brookmyre's conclusions are just as likely to upset politically correct leftwingers as they are to ruffle the feathers of staunch conservatives. But don't get the idea that this is any kind of a tract: Brookmyre is a man who knows that ideas in novels must always be at the service of the narrative and that's very much the case here. Jack Parlabane's one-liners are as spot-on as ever, and the juggling of violence and black humour is as precisely judged as we expect from this writer.
Not one of Brookmyre's best books but an enjoyable, easy read. I would prefer more of the black humour and less of the ranting though. I found it hard to remember who the different characters were ( NB two of the characters are named after tinned soups, nice little touch)and was very hazy about the lay out of the hotel and exactly what was going on with mattresses and tables etc... Some good one-liners helped make it worthwhile.
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