Read Attack Of The Unsinkable Rubber Ducks by Christopher Brookmyre Online


Do you believe in ghosts? Do we really live on in some conscious form after we die, and is that form capable of communicating with the world of the living?...Aye, right. That was Jack Parlabane's stance on the matter, anyway. But this was before he found himself in the more compromising position of being not only dead himself, but worse: dead with an exclusive still to filDo you believe in ghosts? Do we really live on in some conscious form after we die, and is that form capable of communicating with the world of the living?...Aye, right. That was Jack Parlabane's stance on the matter, anyway. But this was before he found himself in the more compromising position of being not only dead himself, but worse: dead with an exclusive still to file. From his position on high, Parlabane relates the events leading up to his demise, largely concerning the efforts of charismatic psychic Gabriel Lafayette to reconcile the scientific with the spiritual by submitting to controlled laboratory tests. Parlabane is brought in as an observer, due to his capacities as both a sceptic and an expert on deception, but he soon finds his certainties crumbling and his assumptions turned upside down as he encounters phenomena for which he can deduce no rational explanation. Perhaps, in a world in which he can find himself elected rector of an esteemed Scottish university, anything truly is possible. One thing he knows for certain, however: Death is not the end - it's the ultimate undercover assignment....

Title : Attack Of The Unsinkable Rubber Ducks
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780316730129
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 352 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Attack Of The Unsinkable Rubber Ducks Reviews

  • PaulPerry
    2019-02-06 03:07

    A carefully spoiler-free review.I'd been in the mood to read a fast, fun thriller for awhile, and as I had several unread Brookmyre novels on my shelf I was definitely gravitating in that direction. When I found the audiobook of Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks I was sold – even though it's the fifth of the Jack Parlabane adventures and I haven't read all the previous ones yet, I didn't expect it to be a big obstacle as they are, like most crime series', not direct follow ons in anything other than events in the main characters' lives.I must confess that as the story opened I felt slightly disappointed. The extract from a book by fictional Mail journalist Jillian Noble about an encounter with the supernatural seemed to be somewhat heavy-handed in signposting the direction the novel might take. Noble is smug, snotty, overly credulous and sneeringly dismissive of sceptical rationalism – so strongly antithetical to both Brookmyre and Parlabane that the set up for a fall seemed sadly obvious. Ironically, I should have had more faith in the author, because while it is indeed a set up, it is the reader who is being set up for a sudden, unexpected curve ball coming out of left field that whips any assumptions out from under you like a deftly pulled tablecloth. This is a trick Brookmyre pulls again and again throughout this superbly constructed, extremely well written book. He leads your expectations from one point of view before bringing in another angle to make you realise that you are balancing precariously on a crumbling ledge of unfounded assumption rather than the firm, flat bedrock of facts. There are also dawning moments of realisation that made me laugh out loud, to add to the many trademark chuckles you'd expect from a writer who has been called 'the Scottish Carl Hiaasen'. The twists and changes of perspective kept me guessing right up to the joyous payoff (although I had worked out a couple of the facts I wasn't certain of them, and doubt it was my own Holmsian deductive abilities that allowed me to work them out so much as cunning winks from the author to make me feel better about being duped!)I realise I've said nothing about the plot – deliberately, as this would be an easy book to give spoilers on. Suffice to say it is a book about belief, deception and assumptions. If you like your thrillers clever, thoughtful and laugh-out-loud funny (not to mention quite sweary and not infrequently violent, although in this case less violent than usual), I highly recommend you acquaint yourself with Christopher Brookmyre

  • Trevor
    2019-02-19 00:21

    I was very annoyed to find out that this would be the last of the Parlabane books. That he would die and that he would be killed off by a psychic was just too much. I was going to register my protest by not reading the damn thing – I mean, who do these damn authors think they are? They create a character and then, just when you start to like them, you find out that the author has had a death wish for them all along. I blame AC Doyle – topping Holmes like that so early on in the piece was bound to give other writers ideas.This ought to be one of my favourite Brookmyre’s. It has a serious go at the spoon bending fraternity and even gives a backhand slap to the creationists – and if anyone needs a serious slapping, it is these two groups of nongs. But there is something about overtly ideological fiction that doesn’t quite cut it. It is something that Woolf talks about in A Room of One’s Own - that fiction needs to be fiction and based on a certain logic one might call ‘fictional logic’ – and the other sort of logic, the sort that is behind Brookmyre’s writing of this book or his other Not the End of the World isn’t quite what is meant by this fictional logic.I find all this very hard to say, because ideologically I’m completely, totally and utterly on Brookmyre’s side. In fact, I think the man is a bloody genius and at times one of the funniest men alive – so that makes saying this isn’t him at his best stick in my throat. It is also not the funniest of his books - some of which are very, very funny. All the same, I still think this is a book well worth reading. There comes a point, about half way through, where I think it would be very hard to put this book down. There are also some very clever bits to the story. I don’t want to say too much as I don’t want to spoil it, but this really is a clever idea – even if I’m not sure it is handled as well as I would have expected from Brookmyre, who is a consummate master and someone who normally crafts his stories in ways I could never fault.I like how he brings back characters from other books and I’m really glad that Spammy gets another run. The plot is based around those bastards who prey on the emotions of those who have lost someone. The bastards who do ‘cold readings’ designed to open wounds in the emotional flesh of these who have lost someone close to them. And as Brookmyre does at the end of his book I will do much the same here. James ‘The Amazing’ Randi is a truly great man and this book is dedicated to him. If you are in any doubt about how truly great this man is then all I can say is: you Randi – the world is a better place because of you.There are bits of this book that really do zip along – the message of this book is also very important – and I really did enjoy it – But I still believe either Country of the Blind or The Sacred Art of Stealing are his best works. All the same, this is a very good read.

  • F.R.
    2019-01-25 01:57

    If you write a ghost story which examines ideas of religion, spirituality and faith, and then dedicate it to Richard Dawkins and James Randi, then obviously you’re coming from a very particular place. And indeed there are long tracts of this novel which are a sceptic’s – or indeed, a cynic’s – wet dream. Some of the more outré beliefs of spiritualists, mediums and their ilk are taken out and given a right kicking, whilst religion itself – particularly Christianity – is treated to a Glasgow kiss. Now I speak as someone who is fairly sceptical and cynical (full disclosure: I was raised by fundamentalist atheists) and so I found a great deal of this book thoroughly enjoyable. But, I also did have a sense that I was trapped in a room watching a really clever undergraduate ride his hobbyhorse nearly to death. It’s all very clever, it knows which points to hammer home to really earn a cheer, but the whole is all a bit sound and fury. After all, Brookmyre must know he is preaching to the converted and that a book like this won’t change anybody’s mind.‘Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks’ – the title apparently comes from a phrase coined by James Randi to describe those people who will continue believing in the impossible no matter what evidence you show them – pitches sceptics and believers into a full-on war. A financially backed television spiritualist campaigns for, and eventually gets, a seat to investigate psychic phenomenon in the Science department of a Scottish University. As more and more – seemingly unimpeachable – evidence of his supernatural skills are recorded, it is up to an extremely hard bitten journalist and a geeky student to try and discover whether our current scientific understanding of the world is absolutely wrong and there is such a thing as the other side, or whether there is some magnificent long con being played out.Remember kids, if you ever find yourself investigating those who claim to have paranormal powers (and which of us doesn’t at one point or another?) then don’t take a scientist with you. Instead bring a magician.This is a fun, entertaining and well paced novel with a lot of clever misdirection – but there are also a number of big, glaring flaws. Amongst the Scots on display there are some fine characters, but Brookmyre really does struggle to capture the American – and particularly New Orleans – accent. And for a book with the word ‘Unsinkable’ in the title, the twists and turns of the rather convoluted plot do leave the story almost capsized by the end.Christopher Brookmyre is an author who didn’t flash across my radar until a recent visit to Edinburgh. Scottish bookstores like to put their own authors prominently on display. (I’m writing this review in Wales, and the same thing doesn’t hold true in this corner of the United Kingdom). From this initial taster, he seems to me a fun writer with a lot of interesting ideas whose oeuvre it would be worthwhile exploring. Undeniably this is a flawed book, but it is a rollickingly good ride which manages to hit a lot of really good points in a truly amusing way.

  • Dokusha
    2019-02-10 00:17

    Psi und Co sind nur raffinierte Betrügereien, oder? Gabriel Lafayette scheint eine Ausnahme zu sein und erklärt sich schließlich sogar dazu bereit, seine Fähigkeiten unter wissenschaftlich kontrollierten Bedingungen unter Beweis zu stellen...Fast das, gesamte Buch wird aus persönlichen Perspektiven verschiedener Akteure erzählt. Und das auf eine sehr unterhaltsame Art und Weise. Immer wider wird man als Leser aufs Glatteis geführt, und man bekommt abwechselnd Hinweise auf echte oder getürkte übersinnliche Fähigkeiten. Ein sehr schön geschriebenes Buch, das die Problematik der psychischen Fähigkeiten auf eine witzige und eindrucksvolle Weise darstellt. Ein echtes Schmankerl.

  • Melinda
    2019-01-24 07:05

    Brilliant. Funny. Irreverant. Straight down the line hilarious. Really enjoyed this book. The "hero" Jack Parlebayne is a classic, no nonsense, doesnt take crap for anyone sort of guy. This book is similar to most of Christopher Brookmyre's books - lots of back story, lots of "takin'the pish", lots of the reader thinking "WTF"....The story always starts slowly, the author filling the pages flicking from one character, one sub-plot to another, giving you subtle glimpses of what is coming...and then about half way through the book you are sent helter skelter on towards the finish line...and left at the end thinking "wow- how did he get me here?"PS: I listened to this as an audiobook (hearing the voices in the right accents just make it better (I think anyway)...Full points for Mr Brookmyre - another classic.

  • Erika
    2019-01-27 01:21

    I bought this book years ago because of the title, without even properly registering the blurb. I figured any book with a title like this one must be hilarious. So when I finally started reading it, I was pleasantly surprised to find as good a mystery as any I've read before. It took a while for me to really get into it, mostly because I have never read a Parlabane novel before, but once I got in I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I'll try to get my hands on the earlier instalments in this series; I like the character for a protagonist very much indeed.

  • Louise
    2019-02-09 07:14

    This book was a bit hard to get into, the first half dragged on a bit. But the second half was a lot better and I liked the way Brookmyre demonstrated how people get lured in by psychics and religious movements.

  • Chris Nicol
    2019-02-19 01:14

    Standard Brookymyre/Jack Parlabane fare. Hard to put down once you get involved.Not at all interested by the paranormal so took a wee while to get into it also was a little disappointed at how obvious it unfolded until nearer the end. Still good stuff and enjoyable new characters.

  • Tom Lloyd
    2019-02-11 00:21

    Brookmyre on a subject that gets him angry - hard not to enjoy that really. The various first person accounts, while I see why he did it that way, didn't do a lot for me and ended up making the actual plot a little slim, but it's an entertaining story all the same from a consistently great writer.

  • Alison
    2019-02-11 05:19

    * The opening of this novel nearly got me off on the wrong foot as I did not pay enough attention to whose perspective the chapter was written from. Fortunately it was so different to what I expect from the Jack Parlabane novels that I have read previously that I stopped and checked, but then did have to persevere though what I realised was an intentionally tabloid-style approach to the story.* As soon as the focus moved away from this perspective I was hooked and from then on really enjoyed the novel.* The humour and characterisation are both as great as ever - a couple of examples that tickled me were: * “Grant, as he always did in such expansive company, had patiently listened to everyone’s order, then gone up and ordered them each a pint of heavy.”and * “‘Are you married?’ * ‘Yes.’ * ‘Hmm. I just hope your wife’s not the jealous sort.’ * ‘Why?’ I asked, wondering where this could possibly be leading. * ‘Because you’re about to feel a bigger tit than you ever have in your life.’”* There were only couple of niggles that I had. One was where there were bits of the deception that I guessed - these were major and it seemed a bit of a stretch to think that both Jack and Michael would have missed them but there were plenty of other things that I missed which allowed me to get over my discomfort.* The other niggle was no criticism of the book as I suspect that the print book is absolutely fine, but there were problems with formatting of the ebook in the last couple of chapters which meant that I had no formatting assistance with when the perspective was switching between characters ... every time it switched I therefore got caught out and had to go back a sentence or two each time to work out when I had missed the switch.* I really enjoyed this book and would only be cautious in recommending the book if I was unsure if the humour and language were going to be to the taste of the reader, but for me they are spot on and I would like to keep reading more by Christopher Brookmyre.

  • Alex Breck
    2019-01-24 00:58

    If you've not read any Chris Brookmyre then this is probably not the best book to start off with. I love his books and have read most of them but I found this one hard to get into until about halfway when the story really starts to get going. If I hadn't been on holiday with plenty of time, I might not have made it to that point. However, by the end, I was raving as always about this great author.

  • David
    2019-01-21 06:16

    Good book and interesting stuff to follow up. There is a bbc storyville documentary about the guy who inspired this and is credited at the end. Exposed: Magicians, Psychics and Frauds - about james randi and can be found on iplayer

  • Laura Tassoni
    2019-01-26 05:19

    Possibly one of my favourite books ever! Combining action, scepticism, politics, social commentary - loved it! Should be required reading for the credulous :)Am now working my way through the others.

  • Deirdre
    2019-02-17 07:54

    Held up fairly ok. Some dated references but I still got them.

  • Neil Pittman
    2019-02-03 07:13

    So different from the other books in this series, comparing religion and psychics and then debunking psychics. It was a fun ride.

  • Alicia
    2019-02-08 07:21

    This is my favorite JP book that I've read. It was the kind of book that you can't put down, but then when you finish reading it you wish you'd have savored it a bit more.

  • Angela Lewis
    2019-02-19 01:15

    Very entertaining and funny, some memorable lines. It made me laugh out loud. A book not to be judged by its cover

  • Jürgen Zeller
    2019-02-06 03:05

    Den Schriftsteller Christopher Brookmyre habe mit seinen zwei Krimis "Die hohe Kunst des Bankraubs" und "Wo die Leichen liegen" kennen und schätzen gelernt. Ich sehe in Brookmyre einen intelligenten Autoren der seinen Krimis gerne eine schräge Besonderheit verleiht. Entweder sind die Geschichten inhaltlich an und für sich eher seltsam und/oder die Protagonisten passen nicht recht zum Handlungsort. Jedenfalls setzt er mit seinem Spleen unbedingt etwas anders machen zu wollen einen zusätzlichen Reizpunkt den besonders Vielleser schätzen werden. Dies ist bei diesem Buch nicht anders. Es beginnt bereits beim eigenwilligen Titel und setzt sich dann inhaltlich fort. Ich bin mir nicht mal sicher, ob man dieses Buch überhaupt ins Regal der Kriminalromane einsortieren kann. Aber welches Genre würde dann passen? Ich weiss es nicht ...Wie die Kurzbeschreibung verrät, geht es in diesem Buch um das Psi-Phänomen. Gemeint sind paranormale Fähigkeiten die umgangssprachlich als Hellsichtigkeit, Wahrsagerei oder Telekinese bekannt sind. Der Journalist Jack Parlabane ist bei einem wissenschaftlichen Team dabei das die übersinnlichen Begabungen des bekannten Gabriel Lafayette untersucht und je nach Erkenntnissen beweisen oder widerlegen soll. Rund um dieses Thema knüpft der Autor ein weitschweifiges Netz aus Begründungen und Gegenargumenten. Und er erzählt, und fabuliert und schwadroniert um dieses Thema bis ich mich irgendwo zwischen Seite 250 und 300 gefragt habe: Was soll das? Warum zum Kuckuck so ausführlich und wohin soll das alles auf den letzten 100 Seiten führen? Wann kommt er endlich auf den Punkt und gibt der Geschichte eine Wendung hin zum Krimiteil der Geschichte?Das Buch beginnt richtig gut und zieht mich in seinen Bann aber irgendwann gibt es Abnützungserscheinungen und ich hatte genug über das Für und Wider dieses esoterischen Krimskrams gelesen. Der Autor schreibt gut und es liest sich flüssig weg aber er walzt das Thema zu breit aus. Ein ständiges Hin und Her zwischen Skeptikern und Anhängern der spirituellen Geisterbeschwörung und eine Gratwanderung zwischen irdischem Leben und dem Jenseits. Der Schluss ist dann in typischer Brookmyre Manier gehalten. Sonderbar aber Okay.Die beiden eingangs erwähnten Bücher des schottischen Schriftstellers sind lesenswert aber mit diesem (Kriminal-) Roman hat er mich leider nicht überzeugt. Ich werde die Wertung von 3 1/2 Sternen abrunden und hoffe, dass noch weitere Bücher von ihm auf Deutsch übersetzt werden. Seine Romane sind für mich eine willkommene Abwechslung im Einheitsbrei der Krimis.

    2019-02-13 03:13

    GeistgeflüsterDie Journalistin Jilian Noble bringt ein Buch über ihre Erfahrungen mit dem Medium Gabriel Lafayette heraus. Bei einer zufälligen Beschwörung, bei der der Meister eher geschwächt ist und nicht mit einem Kontakt zu rechnen war, ist die Stimme der verstorbenen Frau des Millionärs Bryant Lemuel zu hören. Obwohl Jilian eigentlich nicht an diese Phänomene glaubt, bringen die Ereignisse in Glassfort Hall sie dazu ihren Glauben nochmal zu überdenken. Bryant Lemuel ist so dankbar, die Stimme seiner geliebten Hilda ein letztes Mal gehört zu haben, dass er erwägt einen Lehrstuhl für Übersinnliches an einer Universität in Schottland zu stiften.Schön schräg erscheint die Idee, diverse Lebende und Tote von ihren Erlebnissen berichten zu lassen, die schließlich zu einen überraschenden Finale führen. Gerade der eben erst zum Uni-Rektor gewählte Jack Parlabane, der in seinem Leben schon einiges erlebt hat und der eigentlich nur ein Zählkandidat war, mit seinem schottischen Akzent, bringt viel Leben in die Handlung. Dagegen sind die Berichte der weiteren handelnden Personen manchmal etwas trocken. Möglicherweise ein Ausdruck des schottisch geprägten satirischen Humor des Autors, der für einen Nichtmuttersprachler nicht leicht zu deuten ist. Zwar zeigt Christopher Brookmyre seine Meinung über ein angebliches Medium recht deutlich und schafft es gleichzeitig mittels sehr geschickter Schachzüge, den Leser lange im Unklaren zu lassen, ob der Kontakt nicht doch echt sein könnte, aber gerade zu Beginn überzeugt die Handlung nicht. Erst nach und nach baut sich Spannung auf, die das anfangs etwas rätselhafte Buch zu einem sehr spannenden Thriller werden lässt.Ein Roman, in dem ein sehr spezieller Humor beschrieben wird, dennoch ein Autor, den man sich vielleicht merken sollte.3,5 Sterne

  • Moray Barclay
    2019-02-08 07:55

    This is another full frontal assult, in a good way. Where to begin? Not content with his mastery of shifting time using flashbacks and fast-forwards, in his latest novel Christopher Brookmyre tries out voice-shifting: in fact he has four characters speaking in the first person. Despite this, or maybe because of it, the plot rips along. The "Unsinkable Rubber Ducks" refers to the followers of spiritualists, an obvious target for Brookmyre's satirical style, but this plot also requires him to get into the heads of both scientists and geeks, which he does with equal brilliance. His apparently diversionary, rambling descriptive style is now an art-form: when one of the characters escapes death because he didn't return to his carbon-monoxide filled flat but stayed at his new girlfriend's instead, he has survivor's guilt. Or, in the more colourful words of the hero, Jack Parlabane: "..the broad brush-strokes were clear. He'd been with her that night and some poor bastard had crashed at his place. What a torrid shit-storm of guilt and confusion that had to be. It was easy to imagine the mangled wreckage of a confluence like that driving both parties apart. Yet in their case it looked like it had fused them together. Some prurient but nonethless sensitive part of me hoped the fuck they hadn't lost their cherries that night. Imagine carrying that round in the same pouch as your libido for the rest of your days." Like all great satire, this novel, dedicated in part to Richard Dawkins, addresses a big issue: the fragility of the place of science in our society. I am sure Brookmyre sees this as his contribution to the cause of science - and it would be great if it was read by at least some Unsinkable Rubber Ducks.

  • Wendle
    2019-02-10 00:19

    Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks = ((woo-woo + science) x Parlabane) ^ scepticism.I was dreading reading this book. Not because i didn't want to read it, but because once i had read it, there would be no more Parlabane to read!I was advised not to read the back cover (quite the challenge for me; i'm also known to skip ahead and skim pages), but what the back cover spoilt was revealed very early on in the book. Apparently this really was the last Parlabane. I adamantly refused to believe it, and stuck to the first plausible theory i came up with. (view spoiler)[(I was smug.) (hide spoiler)]Like his previous book, Brookmyre alters his narrative style by writing from a first person point of view, and it really helps with this particular story. (And i really enjoyed getting inside Parlabane's head.)Surprisingly for a Brookmyre book, there was no proper-evil bad guy who i wanted to punch. Instead there were evil bad guys who did a good job of acting rather reasonable and making me not want to punch them. I also managed to accidentally make assumptions about one guy being a bad guy, not realising that was supposed to be a big shock when it was revealed later. I mean, who else could it have been!?But irregardless of the fact that i guessed most of the twists (or didn't even realise there was supposed to be one), this book was fab. Which, being the eleventh Brookmyre book i've read, was not at all surprising.I miss Parlabane.

  • Jamie Collins
    2019-01-24 07:12

    A book to win a skeptic's heart. This is not the funniest of the Parlabane books, but it's an absorbing thriller. It begins slowly, and if you were unfamiliar with the author - or if you hadn't taken the hint from the book's dedication to Randi and Dawkins - then you might think the author was going to come down on the side of woo. Brookmyre allows the "ducks" to present the most cogent and insidious of the arguments in favor of "keeping an open mind" when it comes to paranormal research.An "unsinkable rubber duck" is James Randi's phrase to describe those who are determined to believe in woo no matter how much evidence to the contrary they are presented with. The book is suspenseful, full of devious twists and turns, and the villains are as evil a bunch as Brookmyre has ever invented. The plot does have a big flaw, but it's a minor spoiler to even discuss it: (view spoiler)[The scientists are testing the psychic under what they're pleased to call strictly controlled laboratory conditions, but it was obvious to me how the guy was cheating. The key to troubleshooting is to methodically eliminate variables, and Parlabane and the scientists were right to be embarrassed over the flaws they missed. (hide spoiler)]

  • Andrew Pearse
    2019-01-19 23:55

    I like the way you start with each character's perspective on more or less the same events with each chapter. It's a bit different from the way most authors write but it works well, particularly with this book's themes which are all about perception and how you interpret the information that you are given.The pacing of the story sucked me in gradually, the beginning was intriguing but, as the story unfolded i progressively became more involved in the book and after about halfway through i really couldn't put it down.There are some really really funny moments in this book, one in particular stands out - it's near the end, i think a lot of people would share the same sentiment. It's a creative use for a particular swear word.. and you will have to read it to find out.There is a bit of religion, philosophy and the like touched upon, theres also a healthy amount of swearing but all make the story and are necessary.I have decided this is one of my favourite books as not only is it a great read, but it makes me laugh and touches on a lot of things that i am interested in and seems to share my point of view on a lot of things.Highly recommended and i think i will happily read it again sometime soon!

  • Monica
    2019-02-20 04:52

    It is not as funny as the earlier books in the series, but it has its moments. The premise - a wealthy man with deeply held "woo" beliefs has decided to endow a chair of "Spiritual Science" at Kelvin University to subject paranormal phenomena to scientific validation and prove the skeptics wrong. An American medium (who modestly claims that these things just happen to him) and his scientist friend are to do the "academic" work. As it happens, quite by accident, Jack Parlabane is the newly elected rector of the university - a role which has no power, but some prestige, and he is determined to uncover what he is sure is a rigged game. The plot, appropriately, bends back on itself over and over, rife with distractions and misdirections. It is very cleverly done. The characters are a mix of smug believers in a variety of unprovable forces, the cynical, the hugely gullible, the corrupt and the downright evil. Spammy has a cameo role, and that is a good thing. The polemics wear a little thin. I support all of Brookmyre's points about the paranormal and organized religions, but he did go on and on in a way that overwhelmed the plot at times. The descriptions of the "psychic" trickery were pretty fascinating.

  • Karen
    2019-01-25 04:52

    I have to admit: if this hadn't been Brookmyre, I possibly wouldn't have stuck with it. It didn't hit its stride until about half way through then I soon started getting bored again, until with about 100 pages to go, I was desperate to start my next book. Not a good sign.I brightened up considerably when I read:"Luckily I knew a guy who owned a recording studio and who was something of an adept when it came to matters of electronic engineering. I say 'adept' where people generally tend to use the word 'whizz' because this was not an individual to whom the word 'whizz' was ever likely to be realistically applied".It could only be one person - Cameron "Spammy" Scott - and his return heralded an anarchic crescendo which carried me through to the end of the story with, largely, positive feelings about the whole.I would love to recommend this book to all the people I have heard wittering on about their, or their friend's weird experiences with mediums, etc. And, yes, I am aware of the double standards of my blinkered scepticism: the book is equally scathing of religious belief and, as a Christian, I am probably regarded as much of an unsinkable rubber duck as those believers in "woo". Hey ho.

  • Ketan Shah
    2019-02-01 06:52

    Christopher Brookmyre writes a ripping good mystery story based around the issue of paranormal investigation. Famed psychic,Gabriel Lafayette performs incredible feats of mind reading and clairvoyance while locked down in lab conditions.But are they real ? It's up to journalist,cynic and sometimes jerk,Jack Parlabane, to find out.From beyond the grave ....There's some great discussions here about the nature of faith and why people want so much to believe in the paranormal.There's also a lot of great anecdotes about how fraudulent psychics fool their audiences. The story is told through several viewpoints ,which keeps the pace snappy,and the book seems much shorter than it's 400 pages.This is the first of Brrokmyre's novels that I've read,and I'll definitely seek out the others.Highly recommended. If you enjoyed this,you'd enjoy Ben Elton's work,especially Dead Famous,which has the same combination of humour and mystery.You'd also probably enjoy John Constantine's caustic humour ,as protagonist in the Hellblazer comics. Also Warren Ellis's Transmetropolitan,who's gonzo journalist of the future, Spider Jerusalem share's Jack Parlabane's cynical humour and disdain for authority.

  • Ian Mapp
    2019-01-23 01:21

    A lot more toned down than recent efforts that strecth credulity with high body counts in siege scenarios with useless terrorists.Parlabane is revealed as dead.... as he tells his story about the investigations into the afterlife and psychics. This is an unusual tactic.Through a journalists serialisation we learn about the psychic layratette and his honcho Mather, as they bring a business men in touch with his dead wife in a realistic seance.But all is not as it seems. Through the journalist, parlabane and a student we learn that Layrafette is a fraud, trying to bring christian teachings into schools... through a rather convuluted scenario.The main reason for reading brookmyre is the political rants, and there is a great one at the start of the book about the NHS, religion and bigotted people. The other reason is the unique scottish humour - again in evidence.Although the changing of the characters gave confusion, the restraint was a welcome return and a good book. An improvement on recent ones.

  • Riley Haas
    2019-02-11 02:15

    This is not only a well-done mystery but it is also a fine indictment of a certain kind of chicanery, one that drives me particularly crazy.SPOILERSI didn't warm to this at first because Brookmyre does an excellent job of suggesting that the reader is going to learn how real psych phenomena truly is. In the first chapters, I was actually getting frustrated, which just goes to show you the excellent job he does.But the result is a damning indictment of psychics and mediums which is both engaging and funny. It's full of well-executed plot twists and only one or two groaning moments (including an absolutely terrible line in the last chapter).And, in addition to this, Brookmyre ties his subject in with an attack on Neo-Conservatism, a fascinating link which I had not perceived myself, but one which I want to investigate further - the same credulity that allows for mystics allows for Neo-Conservative and other nonsense ideologies.Anyway, just great stuff.

  • Godzilla
    2019-02-04 06:14

    A disappointing two stars for this one, although maybe 2.5 would be more appropriate. I normally love his books, but this one just didn't work for me.I found the style irritating and slightly confusing. It's narrated by several different characters, and jumps about too much.Brookmyre's usual humour is still shot throughout the book, but it's too sporadic and seems a little trite in places. The subject matter is interesting, but I found it too tied up with jargon and scientific citations, and as such I felt the message lost it's impact slightly.Apart from Parlabane, I found the characters unsympathetic and a little two dimensional. Some plot elements were held back in a suspenseful way, but upon their revelation they weren't really that startling.I'd guessed the outcome way before the end of the book, and that certainly diminished my enjoyment.He's a good writer, but don't start with this as your introduction to him!

  • The Cats Mother
    2019-02-08 06:59

    I really like this author, but found this one slow to get going, until Jack appears, then we get the usual sarky irreverent commentary, with a twist - he's dead!This is the fifth in the Parlabane series, with him recently elected as rector of a Glasgow university. Discovering that they are considering adding a Chair of Spiritual Science to the faculty, based on the apparently miraculous psychic feats of a charismatic American, Jack steps in as a cynical witness, sure he can spot the tricks of a con-man. With the help of an equally cynical geeky student, he uncovers yet another murderous conspiracy.This book mainly has a go at religion and the psychic industry, and while not as funny or gory as the previous books, still has the clever plot twists and interesting characters I've come to expect.