Monday, August 18, 2014

Review of All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses an Eye by Christopher Brookmyre (Abacus, 2005)

Jane and Alexis both had events in their teenage years that irrevocably changed their lives.  Whilst enjoying being a punk in Glasgow, Jane became pregnant, married and settled down to a boring married life.  In Canada, Alexis hacked into a classified site and ended up on the run in the South of France working for a shadowy high-tech, private security contractor who does lethal work for hire.  Now forty six and a grandmother, Jane still dreams of being a secret agent, going on dangerous adventures and playing in the casinos of Monte Carlo.  Alexis wants to give up fighting and killing baddies and to go to College.  Both are trapped in their respective lives.  But then Jane’s son Ross, a specialist in non-lethal weapons, disappears.  Alexis’ firm is hired to locate him and they soon form a partnership with Jane, who’s steely determination to track him down means she soon living her James Bond dreams.

Brookmyre’s tales are always good fun, invariably a thriller tale wrapped up in dark humour and spun out as an edgy comic caper.  So it is with All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses an Eye, which has a very nice hook about a dour Scottish housewife making a transformation into Lara Croft as a secret agent.  The set-up is very nicely done, as is the unfolding of the plot and the denouement, with the action sequences particularly well conveyed.  As usual, Brookmyre develops a colourful cast of characters, placing them a number of them slightly or fully out of place, and riffing on their interplay.  The result is humour is ever present, though rarely spills over into belly laughs.  The only downside is there is far too much explication and back story, with rambling long passages that added little but padding.  Some judicious editing would have added a little pace and verve.  Overall, an entertaining, well conceived, tongue-in-cheek thriller.


3 comments:

Margot Kinberg said...

That title got my attention right away, Rob. I'm glad you enjoyed this; I think Brookmyre's work has a fun sense of humour in it.

pastoffences said...

One of my favourite Brookmyres! I thought the scene in the children's play area was excellent.

BVLawson said...

This book also won the seventh Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction in 2006, if I'm not mistaken. P.G. would be proud...