This book was a DNF (did not finish) for me, so it might seem odd that I'm recommending it. But you know what they say, one man's junk is another man's treasure. :) Several people whose opinions about books I respect recommended this book to me highly, so I was quite surprised when I didn't care for it. It's a British mystery with very dry British humor--which I normally enjoy--but I just couldn't get into the main character, Jack Parlabane, a journalist based in Edinburgh, Scotland. This book deals with corruption in the NHS (National Health System) and that also should have interested me since I'm a nurse. But it didn't. Still, I know a lot of people who love this series so you might be one of them. Give it a go! :)
Charlie Stross mentioned this one day, and I got curious. After all, I love something funny. Was it? Let's see...
The book opens with the police discovering a grizzly and bizarre murder in Edinburgh. Then, we meet Jack Parlabane. He lives up to the ad copy - a hard living investigative reporter. He's a unholy blend of Warren Ellis' Spider Jerusalem, an early Carl Hiaasen rogue and an Elmore Leonard char. Oddly enough, it works. Parlabane is no goody 2 shoes and takes pleasure in using his talents for breaking and entering for good. Well, at least tries to use 'em 4 good. A bit like a reporter from the pulps in many regards. And like those characters, he's made enemies, which is why he's back in Glasgow from LA in a big hurry.
Like Hiaasen and Dorsey, the mystery is pretty transparent and the motives obvious, but the pleasure for the reader is in meeting the characters. From the 'master mind,' to his thug, to the ex-wife of the murder victim and the lady running a boarding house, its interesting.
So, was it funny? Maybe. Its his first work and it shows. I do like it enough to lend it to my mother and want to read Country of the Blind.
Likes: Humor; Scottish dialect; Parlabane's frankness; Why Parlabane left LA; The bad guys are as incompetent as they are in real life.
Dislikes: No strong humor moments - plenty to smile about and chuckle a bit, but no laugh out loud moments.
Suggested for: Fans of Carl Hiaasen, Tim Dorsey and Elmore Leonard.