Christopher Brookmyre - One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night (1999)
100 Best Scottish Books of all Time
Not just another news-hound turned novelist, Christopher Brookmyre, like the very best who have made the shift from fact to fiction, draws on what's best in journalism: pace, pitch and pressure. His descriptions are concise and his dialogue snappy as he paints a vivid picture of Scotland through a cynical viewing of football, politics and religion; the three at times fermented into a heady home brew. His narratives are directed at an audience unrestricted by regional dialect, even while some characters speak in the broadest of Scots. Brookmyre is an entertainer. And he knows the smack of sensationalism, which he serves in a fleshy narrative with a healthy serving of absurd, obscene and over-the-top violence.
In One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night, Brookmyre takes another stab at crime fiction. Like the other novels in his collection he's never short of humour or the divinely bizarre. It is the crackling comedy, as black as an eye that's just said hi to a knuckle, that keeps the pages turning. When Hector McGregor, a soon-to-retire police inspector, is knocked out by the fist of a severed arm we feel the punch and are set deeply under the control of Brookmyre's farcical thriller.
The cast of characters includes Matt Black, a successful yet highly cynical stand-up. He's travelling to his high school reunion, set to take place on a converted oil rig, hosted by Gavin Hutchison, former student peer and multi-millionaire entrepreneur. But the plan of showing off his floating tourist attraction to old chums may not go as smoothly as planned. Not only does no-one remember him, but his wife has an announcement to make. And a group of mercenaries have plans of their own.
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