Attack Of The Unsinkable Rubber Ducks (Jack Parlabane Book 5)

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There was a problem loading the comments at the moment. By Karl Bundy on 10 October Kindle Edition Verified Purchase. Brilliant, well-written, clever and original. The Scottish 'speak' is an added bonus. Hopefully, there will soon be another Christopher Brookmyre book featuring Jack Parlabane.


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By Gill Edwards on 16 January While admittedly already a huge fan of Christopher Brookmyre, this book was one of his best. Full of intrigue, suspense and the usual dry humour. By Sphex on 15 August Jack Parlabane has a problem with unsinkable rubber ducks, those "people who are determined to go on believing in woo, no matter how much evidence to the contrary you present them with". We've all met them, apparently rational adults, suckered into buying bottled water or alternative medicine.

A few pages in we discover Parlabane's specific beef is with the belief in ghosts: Being dead is bad enough, but the rubber ducks bouncing up and down quacking "I told you so" are infinitely worse. That single, pungent, pugnacious image - "the lavvy paper of reason" doing its best under trying circumstances - is pure Parlabane. It also points up one of the big themes - the struggle between faith and reason - that makes this novel punch above its crime genre weight.

We want to know the truth about the world, but how? Since ancient Greece, through the Enlightenment and the great scientific revolutions of Galileo and Newton and Einstein and Heisenberg, and continuing into the present day, the difficult path has always been to rely upon reason and evidence as the best route to knowledge. The easy option has always been faith - the "act of believing in things for no good reason". A clue to the author's ambition and inspiration is the book's dedication to James Randi and Richard Dawkins, both in the vanguard of the New Enlightenment.

Brookmyre shares their fascination with the psychology of willing self-deception: He also shares their determination to do something about it, to expose some of the ways in which such beliefs take hold, by showing us how his characters respond to the pressure to believe. There is the wealthy Bryant Lemuel, who is receiving messages from his dead wife and trying to establish a "Spiritual Science Chair" at Kelvin University.

Gabriel Lafayette takes the paranormal "from the end of the pier to the doors of the laboratory" but, according to Parlabane, has more in common with Linda Lovelace - both had "instigated unfeasible feats of swallowing". And why, according to these true believers, don't physicists ever "encounter any evidence of psychic forces"? Not because scientists are really unlucky - they don't see "because they don't believe.

When it comes to stories, I like being taken for a ride, I want to believe this is how things are, and I thoroughly enjoyed my first outing with Parlabane. I hadn't read much crime fiction since an adolescent phase collecting and sometimes reading second-hand Agatha Christies, and I didn't approach this as a puzzle to be solved just as well, since I'm pretty slow at that kind of thing. Some seasoned Brookmyre fans have been more measured in their praise: I defer to their judgement over where this ranks, but for me this was a brilliant introduction.

I can see how you can get a kick out of cracking the plot and predicting its twists, but there's more to this novel than finding out the astonishing fact that I'd never heard of Christopher Brookmyre until he was interviewed on the radio. I then read his "Dangerous nonsense" piece in the Guardian.

It's nearly always a mistake to identify the opinions of a character in fiction with those of the author, but, when it comes to the unsinkable rubber ducks, there's real overlap between Brookmyre and Parlabane, even down to certain phrases: This is an important reason why faith is still around - it's seen as a virtue and is revered rather than ridiculed, even by those who would rather stab their eyes with hot needles than sit through a sermon.

The serious point of both author and main character is that "people should be responsible enough to avail themselves of the facts and, where necessary, adjust their beliefs accordingly". It's hard work and can be messy in an unsexy way - sometimes the lavvy paper of reason tears and leaves you with sticky fingers - but it's the best advice to the detective in each of us, to anyone who wants to get at the truth.

Beer on 28 August A decent but slightly formulaic turn from Brookmyre, as Jack Parlabane returns to the pages. The premise - hokum spiritualists and other mystical con artists - is decent, but it almost feels at some points that the descriptions of "mysticism" are shoe-horned into the narrative. The cameo appearances of past Parlabane cohorts felt to me a bit jarring as well, and as if they were name-checking for the sake of it - going beyond Brookmyre's usual oblique references to characters past.

By the time Parlabane figures it out or, in fact, is told , I was bashing my forehead. Having said all this, the rest of the plotting and the humour are well up to standard, and the book is never less than entertaining. The background on mysticism is also fascinating despite its sometimes forced feeling. Christopher Brookmyre's latest novel is a return to satire on the idiocies of modern life; in this case the world of the spiritual and paranormal, the conmen who sell it and the numpties who still buy it Richard Dawkins would love this book.

It also sees the return of reporter and professional sceptic Jack Parlabane. As usual with Brookmyre it is satire topped off with comedy, sarcasm, cultural trivia the man knows his Firefly and the odd dollop of murder.

Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks (Jack Parlabane, book 5) by Chris Brookmyre

It is also ingeniously plotted, with multiple twists and numerous cases of misdirection, many of which will fool most readers. Although the choice to have multiple narrators does make it a little difficult to get into the book, and the plot makes it necessary for Parlabane to be less than his usually razor sharp self something I feel others have unfairly criticised it for nor is the comedy as pitch-black as Jack's last adventure in Be Mine Enemy. This is a far more accessible book than either that or Hard Black Pencil, dealing as it does with far more widely recognised issues or situations and with a gentler tone than some other Brookmyre works.

That's not to say that the author has gone soft. There is still a strong anti-establishment edge to his work politicians, the popular press and organised religion all get targeted along with the world of 'woo' as he calls it and a healthy amount of sarcasm. Overall its a clever, amusing and entertaining attempt to knock down one of the less appealing elements of modern society and to argue for rationality over superstition.

Whilst never reaching the heights of Brookmyre's best works it is still a very good book that will appeal to anyone of a rational disposition although not to those who believe in 'woo' or what the Daily Mail tells them.

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By Kay Griffin on 25 October Audio CD Verified Purchase. This is a great story and I have enjoyed listening to it watching it, it is read beautifully by Mr. Billy Boyd and I have listened to it over and over again. By david murray on 23 July Good sale and book in great condition. I love this book and the storyline but when i ordered this I had ordered the one in which Billy Boyd had read and didn't get it, so had to reorder it. Kindle Edition Verified Purchase.

Once upon a time, I was having a pint of IPA with a professor of law, who also happened to have served as a QC and a judge before he retired. As both of us were avid fans of the crime fiction genre, I mentioned to him that I was beginning to run out of authors I really took to: He promptly suggested Christopher Brookmyre, but qualified this by saying that 'You might find his imagination a tad twisted, but after what I've had to listen to in my time, Brookmyre sounds disturbingly normal. Maybe it's something about having been a resident of Glasgow that sends the synapses sparking in all sorts of contorted and deranged directions, but, Brookmyre's imagery, ingenuity, insight and acuity are second to none.

Furthermore, you must pay attention to the detail. Basically, he has three threads to his works.

Jack Parlabane Series

The first follows the ludicrous, almost infantile but utterly hilarious, adventures of Jack Parlabane. Then, finally, the really serious stuff in his trilogy covering the accidental private investigator Jasmine Sharp in her random quest to find out where she came from, with a bit of assistance from a Fallen Angel.

Brookmyre is nothing short of brilliant, especially with his Jasmine Sharp trilogy which really ought to be read in sequence to get the full gist.

Paperback Editions

When the Devil Drives', and, best of all, 3: He is also the kind of individual who wears his politics up, down and all around his sleeves. Miss him at your peril. Christopher Brookmyre is a wickedly funny author who knows how to get the reader involved in a story.

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After only five minutes of listening to the audio on this one, I was completely hooked. Brookmyre's main character, Jack Parlabane, is sarcastic, world-wise, and more than a bit left of the main stream when it comes to his opinions on important subjects such as religion and education.

This story focuses on the question of psychic powers and the afterlife and to say more would spoil a great plot. The audio is performed by Billy Boyd of "Lord of the Rings" fame. His performance enhances what is already a very good book. He helps to bring the characters to life by giving them individual voices and accents.

The author is from Scotland and so there might be a few expressions in the book with which some American readers would not be familiar but nothing that would keep the reader from enjoying the story. I enjoyed this one so much that I have since ordered another of Brookmyre's books. Great plot, interesting idea, and excellent audio. A very nice find all around. Simply one of the funniest books I've read on the subject of "woo".

I was already a fan of Brookmyre's he'd probably enjoy the fact that spell checker thought his name should be "broodmare" humour and intelligent writing and this book confirmed my prejudices. Be aware when reading that he enjoys misdirection as much as Derren Brown. You'll think you know something but find out later that you were completely fooled in a logically consistent manner. I've recommended this book to many others. One person found this helpful 2 people found this helpful. See all 7 reviews. Amazon Giveaway allows you to run promotional giveaways in order to create buzz, reward your audience, and attract new followers and customers.

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