Christopher Brookmyre (born September 6, 1968) is a Scottish novelist whose novels mix comedy, politics, social comment and action with a strong narrative. He has been referred to as a Tartan Noir author. His debut novel was Quite Ugly One Morning and subsequent works have included One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night, which he said "was just the sort of book he needed to write before he turned 30", and All Fun and Games until Somebody Loses an Eye (2005).
Brookmyre was raised and schooled in Barrhead, attending St. Mark's Primary School and St. Luke's High School, before attending the University of Glasgow. Brookmyre is married to an anaesthetist and supports St Mirren F.C., references to Scottish football ('fitba') frequently featuring in his books. Brookmyre is also a regular on BBC Scotland's Sportscene Results program during the football season.
Five of Brookmyre's novels (Quite Ugly One Morning, Country of the Blind, Boiling a Frog, Be My Enemy and Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks) centre on the investigative journalist Jack Parlabane. Parlabane's unorthodox, occasionally criminal methods usually see him catching all manner of "white collar" villains, from murderous NHS Trust managers (Quite Ugly One Morning) to rogue secret service chiefs (Country of the Blind, Be My Enemy). The character is very anti-authoritarian and frequently curses institutions such as the government, media and intelligence services.
Through Parlabane, Brookmyre articulates what might be argued as a radical viewpoint, with the "bad guys" invariably belonging to the Establishment. Most vitriolic is Boiling a Frog, in which Parlabane tracks down massive corruption and murder in the then newly fledged Scottish Government and the Catholic Church. This latter novel is also notable for countering readers' accusations that Parlabane had become too good at his work, as it opens with him in prison following a conviction for breaking and entering. It also reveals that the character's full name is John Lapsley Parlabane.
A Snowball In Hell was originally due to be titled The Great Grease-Tailed Shaven Pig Hunt. His most recently published novel is entitled Pandaemonium and was published in the United Kingdom on the 13th of August, 2009.
His next novel Where the Bodies are Buried is scheduled to be published in June 2011.
Brookmyre has said that the inspiration for Jack Parlabane was Ford Prefect from Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy series; he said "I always adored the idea of a character who cheerfully wanders into enormously dangerous situations and effortlessly makes them much worse." The name Parlabane is taken from the works of Robertson Davies as are the names of several other characters in Brookmyre's works, indicating another of the author's influences.
Art Alexakis, of the band Everclear has been thanked by Brookmyre inside the front cover of two of his books - Be My Enemy and Sacred Art Of Stealing. Brookmyre has said that Sacred Art was inspired by the Everclear song 'Unemployed Boyfriend' from the album Learning How to Smile. This is the song which the lead character, Zal Innez, discusses with Angelique De Xavia.
In 2003, Quite Ugly One Morning was dramatised in two parts by ITV, with the lead played by Irish actor James Nesbitt. None of Brookmyre's other novels have been adapted for television, but his short story Bampot Central was rewritten as a radio play by the author for BBC Radio.
In 2004, actor David Tennant narrated the audiobook of Quite Ugly One Morning.
In 2007, actor Billy Boyd narrated the audiobook of Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks.
Brookmyre's books are all set in the same "universe" and contain a number of recurring characters, especially the appearance or mention of major characters (such as Parlabane) in incidental roles in other stories. Some of the recurring characters are listed below:
Sarah Slaughter, anaesthetist and ex-wife of the murder victim in Quite Ugly One Morning. She and Jack are later married.
Angelique de Xavia, the diminutive but deadly police officer from A Big Boy Did it and Ran Away, The Sacred Art of Stealing and A Snowball In Hell.
Tim 'Death's Dark' Vale, the head of security on the Floating Island Paradise Resort in One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night, is revealed as an associate of Jack Parlabane in Country of the Blind when Sarah accuses Jack of having got his gun from Vale. They then join forces in Be My Enemy.
Simon Darcourt, the Black Spirit, is the "hero" of the short story Mellow Doubt, though, unless you have read A Big Boy Did it and Ran Away, you wouldn't get the reference. He also features in A Snowball In Hell (which also re-uses Mellow Doubt as part of the story).
Steff Kennedy, the hero of Not the End of the World, is mentioned as the photographer who took the picture of the Arguments for their single sleeve in A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away.
Larry Freeman, who has a cameo in Quite Ugly One Morning as a friend of Parlabane's, also features in Not the End of the World. In the short-story Bampot Central Jack Parlabane is attempting to post "Paranoid Tim" to Larry's young son as a birthday present when he becomes embroiled in an armed robbery, "Paranoid Tim" is himself referenced in Not the End of the World. He further has a brief cameo in "Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks" in a phone call with Parlabane.
Former police Inspector Hector McGregor, who investigated the murder of Dr Jeremy Ponsonby in Quite Ugly One Morning, returns to play a part in One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night.
Zal Innez was one of the main characters in The Sacred Art of Stealing and was brought back with a similarly central role in A Snowball In Hell.
Glasgow Gangster Bud Hannigan has a small role in A Big Boy Did it and Ran Away and is later one of the main villains in The Sacred Art of Stealing. He surfaces again in All Fun and Games, Until Someone Loses an Eye and is also referenced in A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil
Angelique de Xavia wonders in A Snowball in Hell whether a boat found adrift with all of its crew murdered was the work of Simon Darcourt. This event actually takes place in All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses an Eye.
Marius Roth, a shadowy figure with a near mythical reputation, is mentioned in All Fun and Games Until Someone Loses and Eye as the paymaster and A Snowball in Hell as a possible employer of the Black Spirit. It is implied, though never confirmed, that he is "Shub", who appears in A Big Boy Did it and Ran Away as the owner of "the good ship Black and Decker".
Raymond Ash, "Larry - the little drummer boy", a major character in A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away is referenced in both The Sacred Art of Stealing and A Snowball In Hell/Mellow Doubt.
Spammy, one of the suspects in Country of the Blind, reappears towards the end of Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks.