Be My Enemy, by Christopher Brookmyre

Jack Parlabane, an investigative journalist, is invited to attend a team-building event at a remote Scottish country house, in the hope that he will raise the public profile of UML, the company running the event. He takes along a photographer who has some kind of previous existence involving the security forces. Rather against his will, Parlabane finds himself enjoying the activities and building relationships with the other participants. But then strange things start to happen, and although initially these are regarded as tricks being played by UML, it soon becomes clear that something more sinister is going on.

This was a book of two halves: the first section was much too long, and rather confusing, with the narrative switching from one involving a secret agent being sprung from prison, to Parlabane's invitation, to the staff at the Scottish mansion, and it wasn't clear which was the important storyline. Also, the writing style rather got on my nerves: he doesn't use one word when fifty will do. E.g. (I'm making this up, since the book's gone back now) rather than "he had a headache", you'll get something like "a certain amount of physical discomfiture was persistently making itself known in the area directly behind his temples" which may be occasionally amusing but pretty annoying when it's seems like every sentence.

But in the second half of the book, the story took off: you know who the goodies and baddies are, and it was really quite compelling to find out - well, not how it would turn out; that was pretty obvious, but how events would unfold. And ether the writing style also became less elliptical or I just was caught up in the story and didn't notice it, but it didn't seem to be an issue.

And so while I spent the first half of the book thinking "oh no, this goes on for 9 CDs", the second half wizzed by and left me wanting to read another one. Looking at my earlier review, the other book I've read by Brookmyre also seems like it would have benefited from some serious editing but it looks like he's quite popular so maybe he gets away without it. Or maybe some people like this style of writing. Actually, it reminds me quite a bit of Iain Banks, now I come to think of it (and I don't think that's because the reader of the audiobook was Scottish).

So I think I'll try another one.

Completed : 22-Aug-2008 (audiobook)

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