Books: Hot Gods and Jumping Frogs; Religion, Politics, Sex and Scandal, There's Nothing Too Sacred to Be Handled in Brookmyre's Fifth Book

By Henry, Andrea | The Mirror (London, England), September 1, 2000 | Go to article overview

Books: Hot Gods and Jumping Frogs; Religion, Politics, Sex and Scandal, There's Nothing Too Sacred to Be Handled in Brookmyre's Fifth Book


Henry, Andrea, The Mirror (London, England)


BOILING A FROG by Christopher

Brookmyre (Little Brown,

pounds 16.99)

Politics and religion may be improper subjects for conversation in polite society, but there's nothing very polite about the murky world Christopher Brookmyre lays before his readers.

In his fifth novel, Boiling A Frog, the Scottish Catholic Church decides it needs help to regain the influence it once had. Enter PR guru Ian Beadie. But instead of sending people running back to the church, Beadie sends them running for cover. He makes use of the truth that in everyone's past there's a dark secret - and the knowledge that priests and politicians have more than their fair share of skeletons in the cupboard - to orchestrate the mother of all Back To Basics campaigns.

Enter our hero, investigative journalist Jack Parlabane, who finds himself embroiled in the greatest parliamentary scandal Scotland has ever seen.

Brookmyre has been compared to Elmore Leonard, Quentin Tarantino, Irvine Welsh, Carl Hiassen and Iain Banks, so I asked him what qualities he feels he shares with them.

CB: The oft-repeated Elmore Leonard comparison is my favourite, as I've only ever read one of his books. I'm familiar with the complete canons of the others - should that be hand-canons for Tarantino? and I'd say that we share an ability to find something humorous in situations that other writers might treat with the most po-faced gravity.

Boiling A Frog has its laughs, but it's a darker, more sinister novel than, say, One Fine Day In The Middle Of The Night or Not The End Of The World. Is that because of its subject matter?

CB: It's not really more sinister, in as much as it has the lowest body count of my work to date, but there's probably a harder edge because the issues I deal with are, literally, very close to home.

The advent of devolution in Scotland was an exciting time, politically, but also a very fragile time, and I wanted to bring some of the potential dangers into stark relief. …

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