Read A Snowball in Hell by Christopher Brookmyre Online

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If society has the B-list celebrities it deserves, it now has a killer to match. Except that Simon Darcourt is a great deal more successful than the average talent show contestant. He's bypassing the media completely and posting real-time coverage of his killings on the internet. He's got viewing figures to make TV executives gasp in envy, and he's pulling the voyeuristicIf society has the B-list celebrities it deserves, it now has a killer to match. Except that Simon Darcourt is a great deal more successful than the average talent show contestant. He's bypassing the media completely and posting real-time coverage of his killings on the internet. He's got viewing figures to make TV executives gasp in envy, and he's pulling the voyeuristic strings of every viewer. Angelique De Xavier, his previous nemesis, is drafted onto the police team trying to bring this one-man celebrity hate-fest to an end. But she can't do it alone, and meanwhile a whole load of celebs are, literally, dying to be famous....

Title : A Snowball in Hell
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781408700624
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 393 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Snowball in Hell Reviews

  • Trevor
    2019-05-08 02:09

    There is part of me that would like to savour a Brookmyre novel. You know, spend some time reading it and take in all of the clever bits of writing and just enjoy the twists and turns. The problem is the breathing thing – after about the fifth page I realise I haven’t been quite doing enough of that breathing thing that humans tend to need to do rather frequently. That means I end up needing to read his novels (at least with the very best of them – of which this is one) fast. I need to read them as if before having boiled the kettle, jingled the tea-bag, gotten myself comfortable to turn the first page I’ve snorted a nose full of coke. Not that I’ve actually ever used cocaine, but if what they tell me is true, I guess Brookmyre has much the same effect.NO SPOILERSThat’s the key to this review. If you want to find out about this book I suggest you read all three of the books that this one is the last bit of – the Angelique de Xavia trilogy (at least, so far). The other two being in order: A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away and The Sacred Art of Stealing. Part of me wishes I’d re-read the pair of them before starting this one – as there were references throughout that only just ever so dimly registered – but it was not totally necessary. Anyway, I’ve already told you about my Brookmyre problem, so delaying the pleasure of reading this one by re-reading the two previous books was never going to be an option.I love Angelique de Xavia. She appeals to the outcast in me. I think I like her more than Jack Parlabane and at least as much as that woman from All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses an Eye who must be due another book soon. And my favourite thing about her is reprised here – that she is a black Catholic Glasgow girl who is a Rangers supporter. (The enemy of my enemy is my friend, as they say)When I was in high school, I must have been about twelve, I had to write a book review on a book of my choice. My chosen book was Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Niggers, which is now called And Then There Were None and in the film the poem that is central to the story became Ten Little Indians – racism against Native Americans somehow seeming less obnoxious than racism against Black Americans.I wrote in my essay that the problem I had with Mystery Stories was that the author always keeps something back, the vital piece of information, and that is the bit of information that matters the most. My English teacher – smug bitch that she was – wrote something dismissive beside this comment, something to the effect that this, after all, is the point of a mystery story. Yes, yes, touché. But I intended something much more than my fumbling pen at the time achieved. That story was, if I can remember at all correctly (and I haven’t read it since I was twelve), written in omniscient narration. You know what I mean? The word ‘omniscient’ means ‘Knows everything’. Well, if the narrator knows everything, where is there room for any mystery? It is hard not to feel cheated by the little facts conveniently left unsaid.We read this novel from behind the eyes of about three of the characters in turn. The fact we don’t know what is going to happen next is either because the characters themselves don’t know or because they aren’t prepared to tell us, and they are more than happy to let us know that it is none of our business when they decide not to tell us.Best of all is that Brookmyre sets up a series of things that we know have to happen in this book. You know the sorts of things – boy must get girl, those needing to be rescued need to be rescued, good needs to prevail; all that sort of thing. But given we know all of these things must happen in no way makes the impossibility of any of them seeming to be able to happen ever at all less likely during the book. This guy knows how to plot a story. This guy grabs you by the sleeve and drags you to the end of the book and doesn’t care how many door-frames and interior walls you bounce off as he quickens his pace. It is a matter of keeping up or getting hurt – so you’d better keep up. Fortunately, he is always in control.If you ever want to write a book like this here are a few pointers I’ve picked up mostly from Mr Brookmyre. First, don’t build to a climax – splash in boots and all. You should have your audience by the throat from as early as you can, page one if you can manage it. If, in this book, you can stop reading after page 15 (I’m serious, I’ve just checked) then this book won’t appeal to you at all and you might as well stop reading. Follow the first climax with another, involving someone completely different. Make incredibly nasty things happen to your nicest characters. Give them gaols and hopes and desires and then piss all over them. Make every single character count. Every thread needs to weave into the tapestry. If you create a question in the book, make sure of two things, the question is answered in a way that your reader would not be able to guess beforehand – the answer is better than the reader would have guessed before hand. Only take your foot off the accelerator pedal to shift into a gear that allows you to add more speed. The thing is that I knew he was going to have me twisting and turning throughout this book, I even knew where this all had to end up – but even knowing both of these things I was still guessing the whole way through and never once did I feel cheated and never once did I know where he was going to twist me. This book is about punishing people that I normally would rejoice in seeing brought low, humiliated, and shown to be hypocrites. But Brookmyre even turns this into an interesting mirror. And not one I particularly enjoyed seeing myself looking into. Okay, okay, perhaps the slow and painful death of everyone in the Big Brother House isn’t quite the unequivocal good I had thought it might have been – and I must say that I’m more than a little annoyed at being disabused of that particular fantasy, Mr Brookmyre.These three novels would make brilliant films – particularly my favourite, The Sacred Art of Stealing - and I’ve no idea why so little of his stuff has appeared in film. The Brits did do a TV version of Quite Ugly One Morning and did so in a way that meant they couldn’t do any of the follow up books in the series, not least by getting Parlabane into a relationship with the lesbian policewoman, rather than the heterosexual nurse in that series of books, but hey, I'm not bitter.What can I say? I lived through it – which is more than can be said for many of the characters. This is not for the faint-hearted, nor for anyone offended by strong language or rather strong sexual content and violence. Normally, the sex and violence would be enough to put me off – but he handles this stuff so well and his plotting is so good (Hitchcock in North By North-West good) that I can forgive him anything and everything. Magic, or rather: alakazammy, stairheid rammy.

  • Lance Charnes
    2019-05-18 04:14

    Crime novels hailing from the Northern Tier seem to take on the stereotypical national qualities of their places of origin. The Scandinoir (a term I'm desperately trying to push into the mainstream) I've read tends to feature grimly dysfunctional protagonists, tons of self-generated angst and lots of windswept gray seas -- just what you'd expect from the lands that brought us Strindberg and Ibsen. Tartan Noir, on the other hand, seems to revel in its own bad behavior; protagonists and antagonists alike have rougher edges, dirtier mouths, bigger chips on their shoulders, and more developed senses of humor (though it's usually pretty dark), as befits a nation that's spent most of the past two millennia fighting against (and usually losing to) its southern neighbor.Take A Snow Ball in Hell, for instance.Simon Darcourt -- a high-functioning psychopath recently made redundant from his job as freelance terrorist by the influx of so many other psychopaths willing to work for free -- has decided to better the state of British civilization by killing B-list "celebrities" in wholesale lots. He stages made-for-reality-snuff-TV extravaganzas around his exploits and dares the British public to look away, which, of course, it doesn't. The confounded police bring in mixed-race, terrorist-hunting Glasgow cop Angelique de Xavia to try to track down Darcourt again. Yes, again; she's done it before in an operation that ended in Darcourt's supposed death. As it turns out, she's not the only one hunting Darcourt, nor is he the only one she's hunting, and the hunters are hunting the other hunters as much as they're trying to flush out Darcourt. Hilarity and lots of corpses ensue.Brookmyre, a Scot, gives the stage in turn to each of his principal characters and even a couple bit players, but his main mouthpieces are de Xavia, a bank robber/magician named Zal Innes, and of course Darcourt. As he did in Where the Bodies Are Buried, the author's able to present a credible and affecting inner life for his main female character, a "wee dark lassie" who's turned into a crack undercover investigator at the cost of her soul. Zal's a charismatic baddish boy who fell hard for Angelique during their last run-in (and she for him) and is tortured by his simultaneous needs to be with her and to stay away from her; he's a gifted magician who monetized his skills through performance-art robberies of large banks that were more crooked than the people robbing them. But the author's affection is clearly for Darcourt, whose first-person rants are so insane they make perfect sense, and whose outrage at the squalid tabloid-fueled manufacturing of disposable celebrity is so heartfelt you'll find yourself wondering why he doesn't exist in the real world. His first-chapter self-introduction is a tour de force of attitude, characterization and bravado.The plot looks like a ball of yarn after a pack of kittens has had its way with it, which is part of the fun. You know the author's taking you somewhere, though God knows where; the tangles and switchbacks and triple-crosses are entertaining as you run across them, even though you'll lose track of who's doing what to whom a few pages later. Darcourt's plots and setups are so elaborate -- scams covering up other scams, backup plans multiple layers deep -- they remind me more of Mission: Impossible than anything that would happen in the real world, and he's not the only one. Everybody's playing three-dimensional chess in this one. This over-cleverness, paired with the over-tidiness of its ending, is one of the reasons I knocked off the better part of a star from my rating. The roller coaster's fun, but some way through I stopped believing any of it was real and just went along for the ride.As mentioned, Brookmyre is Scottish and so are his characters, and they speak that way. You won't need subtitles, though an occasional Google lookup might be in order. A more important cultural issue (one that helped knock off that fifth star): how up-to-speed are you with 2008 British junk-celebrity lore? Characters name-drop relentlessly, assuming you know what they're talking about. I imagine that Darcourt's victims are tweaked versions of real D-listers that I'd totally recognize had only I been following the Daily Mail for the past decade. You say you open the Sun only for the Page 3 girl? Oh, dear; I'm afraid the jokes will fly right over your wee haid.This is book three of a trilogy, a fact the book doesn't trumpet. I just thought the characters had unusually detailed (see: convoluted) backstories. You've been warned.A Snow Ball in Hell is a fun, twisty, profane, hyper-attitudinal story that will keep you well-entertained while not hiding the fact that the author's messing with you throughout. If you've ever thrown things at your TV during X Factor, you'll love the premise. Just put your disbelief in a locked closet while you're reading and revel in the knowledge that this novel could never be set in Oslo.

  • Deanne
    2019-05-17 07:10

    Finally someone who understands how I feel about Big Brother, Pop idols, The X Factor and Britain has no talent. Several times I've told work colleagues I would only watch Big Brother if there was a tank of pirahnas/sharks or a serial killer involved.Fast paced, sarcastic wit and a great heroine, a few twists and turns and the return of Zal. Took my time reading it because I didn't want to devour it in one go and then sit starring at the bookcase.

  • Rishi Prakash
    2019-05-24 07:15

    This is a different kind of book in every which way- right from the language to the plot to the way of setting things up- which will slowly grow on you as the story progresses. I could not relate to it in the beginning and even thought if it was a wrong pick but all doubts disappeared after initial 50 odd pages! The Scottish author is brilliant. You can't help but be struck by how intelligent his arguments, and compelling his justifications are as you get immersed in the story. Amazingly he is able to use this highly amoral character to brilliantly satirize our obsession with celebrity and fame which is the basic premise of the story. This author needs to be read and talked for sure!

  • Helen
    2019-05-06 03:10

    First line: Ladies and gentlemen, roll up! Roll on up! Step inside!Are you sick of reality tv? Tired of the endless parade of vapid ‘celebrities’ it creates? Simon Darcourt is, and his response to it is certainly turning (and in some cases, removing) heads. Darcourt, aka the Black Spirit, is a hired assassin who has been keeping a low profile ever since the spectacular failure of his last job. But now he's decided to come out of retirement, and with the help of the Internet, is creating quite a stir with his very own reality show, one that his celebrity contestants are literally dying to be part of.With the body count rising, the police call in Detective Angelique de Xavia, formerly a Glasgow police officer who is now working with an anti-terrorism task force based in Paris. Angelique has crossed paths with Darcourt before and knows how dangerous he is. She also knows that if she is going to stop him, she is going to need help – the special kind of help only her old lover Zal Innez, bank robber and magician, can provide. But first she has to find him, and then keep him from being arrested.A SNOWBALL IN HELL brings together characters from two of Brookmyre’s previous books, A BIG BOY DID IT AND RAN AWAY and THE SACRED ART OF STEALING in a story that is a witty, sharp and sarcastic poke at the cult of celebrity. Nothing is as it seems in this book, and just when you think you’ve finally figured out what’s really going on, Brookmyre pulls off another twist. Although it takes a while to set up all the characters and bring them together, the complex and pacy plot makes this darkly comic book a real page turner.This is Brookmyre in full rant mode and his amusing diatribes on celebrity and media struck a chord with me. He seems to be one of those authors you either ‘get’ or you don’t, and if, like me, you are in the first category, then you’ll love this book. While reading this, I did start to wonder what sort of person Brookmyre had turned me into, as I at times found myself rather guiltily cheering on Darcourt and laughing at some very gruesome, albeit imaginative, murders!

  • Rachel
    2019-05-13 07:05

    Wow. Um, wow. That was awesome. I recommend reading the other two in the series first (A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away, and The Sacred Art of Stealing), just so you know the characters and situation. And because they're great. So here's the disclaimer -- they all contain disturbing images and some extreme violence, so not for the faint of heart (or stomach). But they're all amazingly funny and sharp, and this one was really, um, wow. :) I think I'll go read it again now. Except that it's like a magician's trick -- once you know how it's done, you can't look at the trick the same way again.Plot? Oh, um, Simon Darcourt comes back from the "dead", crazier than ever, Angelique is tapped to stop him, and she gets in such an awful situation that she decides to track down Zal, who has demonstrated yet again the Sacred Art of Leaving, to help her find her way out. Did I say wow? I'll never look at pop celebrities the same way again.

  • Jamie Collins
    2019-05-01 08:09

    Not one of my favorite Brookmyre novels. It’s well written, and I was glad to see the recurring characters, but it’s disturbingly cynical, and takes such sneering pleasure in its cynicism. Granted, it’s a villain who does all the bad things, and the book is meant to be a dark comedy, so perhaps I’m overly sensitive.I dislike inflammatory political commentators, reality television and celebrity culture as much as the next person, and the elaborately vengeful scenarios depicted in the book might have been darkly funny if they weren’t so extremely violent. The fantasy goes too far for me to enjoy it. To counterbalance the nasty elements of the book, the author revives the love story between Angelique de Xavia and Zal Innez. Zal’s trickery is a lot of fun, and it’s a great relief that he carries out his schemes without killing anybody. Brookmyre can do heartwarming pretty well, too.The action of the grand finale is twisty and exciting, as usual.

  • Shihab Azhar
    2019-05-20 00:19

    Almost 10 years ago, a random jaunt through a bookstore allowed me to discover The Sacred Art of Stealing, a book I took great pleasure in, and allowed me to meet Zal Innez and Angelique de Xavia. I promptly fell in love with Christopher Brookmyre's fiction and writing (which, if you have read any of my reviews of his books, you already know). So it is such a wonderful pleasure to revisit their world, find two of fiction's most likeable characters still adrift as they were at the beginning and end of Sacred Art of Stealing, and follow their tremulous journey through yet another wild ride.Really makes me wish I had my copy of Sacred Art of Stealing with me, so I could reread that wonderful treasure while I savor the glow from this one.

  • Rachael Hewison
    2019-05-13 00:04

    A hugely thrilling climax to an epic trilogy. This book brings back all of the characters from the previous two books in one incredible climax. Simon Darcourt is back with a vengeance and his schemes are even more twisted and elaborate than ever before. There were times where I had no idea how Brookmyre had even begun to imagine them.Angelique is brought in to stop Darcourt and she is as brilliant as ever. Smart, witty and ballsy, she is a really fascinating character, particularly once the wonderful (and my favourite character) Zal is brought back in.Brookmyre takes you on a huge ride with barely any time to catch your breath, and weaves the plot wonderfully between the main characters. There are twists along that way that I did not see coming.A really brilliant ending.

  • Lisa
    2019-05-05 07:27

    Christopher Brookmyre is a genius. I think society should be grateful that he decided to become an author rather than a criminal mastermind! I'm sure he could succeed as the later if he really wanted to. So much thought must go into ontemplating how to pull off the perfect crime(s).In this novel (which is a sequel to "A Big boy did it and ran away" and I think also "The sacred art of stealing") reality Tv stars (and anyone else who offends the perps sense of taste) are being kidnapped and killed live on TV by an evil mastermind. It is clever and funny with lots of twists and feints - all Brookmyre traits in my opinion. I really enjoyed it.

  • Joshua
    2019-05-02 03:29

    I think I may have liked this a bit more had I read the previous two books w/ these characters. I didn't realize it was the third w/ these people until I was over 2/3 into it! I was thinking that there was a lot of flimsy character back story or development early on and I guess that's because there's already a backstory to these people. Dang. I like my satire but some of this was knock you on the head kind of satire, I guess I prefer mine more subtle. I might have to check something else out by Brookmyre for a fair judgement.

  • Silvanna
    2019-04-24 04:23

    Started off really, really strong but by page 120 I lost interest. Maybe I'll go back to it at a later date.

  • E.J. Lamprey
    2019-05-07 06:29

    Loved it loved it loved it. Sharp and harsh and screamingly funny and horrendously violent, absolutely one of my favourites. I don't even like violent books! Brookmyre books are the exception. The good ship Black & Decker, OMG - no, shutting up. No spoilers. Loved it. A read date? I've read it about 3 times, the last time about 6 months ago. I'll go for that one.

  • Maria Gabriella
    2019-05-20 04:21

    Highly enjoyable as the other two in the sequel.

  • Monty
    2019-05-14 03:16

    Simon Darcourt is a redundant terrorist for hire, due to the thousands of individuals who are willing to perform the terror acts gratis, coupled with suicide. He changes his modus by continuing to use his skills of deception and lethality with chillingly brutal efficiency, whilst "serving society". Simon takes it upon himself to start killing off minor media celebrities whilst also broadcasting their fates on Youtube. His posts go viral and the amount of public interest and viewership are a mainstream broadcasters dream. Simon becomes a media sensation, and his kidnapping / killings are increasingly audacious and sensational.The authorities it seems are powerless to apprehend or cease the broadcastings of Simon Darcourt.A call is made to Angelique De Xavier, a burnt out anti-terrorist operative, who is the last (and only)person to have apprehended Darcourt many many years ago. Reluctant to be drawn into the hunt for Darcourt, she finds herself powerfully compelled to do so when her family are endangered. She needs help, and finds herself drawn to call upon a long lost lover, with a criminal background and a series of associated skills which will be pivotal in Angeliques hunt for Darcourt.Angelique has to balance her conflicts over her love for a criminal, her reticence about police/government authority, fear for the safety of her family and her overriding hatred for Simon Darcourt. A ruthless, brutal and seriously convoluted game of cat and mouse ensues in a manner which is both gripping and compelling.

  • Malcolm
    2019-05-13 05:10

    Brookmyre is amongst the finest of contemporary satirists (perhaps only Hiaasen gives him a run for his money). He is cheeky, he is smart, and much of his stuff is laugh-out-loud while stifling a did-he-really-just-write that. Here, he takes on the world of celebrity culture in such a way that it is hard to actually dislike the downright evil bad guy very publicly murdering vacuous 'celebrities' (the reprising Simon Darcourt) as he comes up against the excellent Inspector Angelique de Xavia ably assisted by her bank robbing, magician fulla – Zal Innez – once again. Yet, somehow it doesn't quite work as well as it should – which simply means that in a few places this drags a little – it could have been a bit crisper – which is a bit like saying Darwin could have been a bit more open minded! Brookmyre has that rare combination, a satirical writer, willing to do a police procedural, and still hang on to his lefty politics – comparatively disappointing as this is, I'm still hanging out for the next of his books to arrive in my local bookseller.

  • Wendle
    2019-05-15 00:19

    A Snowball in Hell = (Simon Darcourt + celebrities) x (Angel X + Zal Innez) ^ TwistsIt was great to see Zal back, i hadn't like the way things were left between him and Angelique. Though, to be honest, i didn't like the way things were left between them in this one, either.Simon, Simon, Simon. I simply loathed him in 'A Big Boy...', but the things he did [read: the people he murdered] in this one made me love him.I equal parts love and hate the way Brookmyre paces his books. It's a slow build up, with the characters and their plots not coming together until well into the book. And then once he's turned the tension up as much as it can go, all the major action spills out in the last 100 pages, relentless, non-stop. And in some ways, it feels so uneven. All that time and effort to blow his load so rapidly. But it works.There were twists upon twists in this book, too. I loved that. I thought i'd figured something out and it gets revealed, but then another twist makes it all moot. Never a dull moment.

  • Ian Mapp
    2019-05-06 03:09

    You have to admire anyone with talent that is prolific and brookmyre fits both these bills.You know exactly what to expect. This time he resurrects three former characters from A big boy and sacred art of stealing - Xavire, Innez and the arch villian darcourt.The butt of his anger is directed against celebrity culture.Darcourt is kidnapping celebrities and playing the public off about which ones live or die in a saw, celbrity get me out of hear style.This allows him to vent his fury at game shows, television, manufatcured pop bands, right wing newspaper editors and the celebrity culture.There is even a go at muslim fundamentalists at the start of the book, which makes you wonder whether he is after his own fatwa.All usual stuff, great plotting, suspense and a near impenetrable scottish dialect mean that there are few surprises and a degree of "we've seen all this before" to stop you truely loving it.

  • Gordon Wilson
    2019-05-01 08:13

    The return of Angelique de Xavia, Zal and the serial bampot Simon Darcourt. It's the return of the Black Spirit, and there's only one person the police can turn to for help. Angelique is brought back from her self imposed exile in France to help stop Darcourt before his darkly maniacle piece of social commentary can reach its next act. And in her time of greatest need, Angelique has only one person in the world she can turn to for the kind of help she needs, the escaped bank robber Zal.Brookmyre's darkest book yet, giving both barrels to the world of celebrity and reality television. It's a rip roaring ride told from multiple points of view, that races towards a slightly foreseeable conclusion. Still full of Brookmyre's trademark Glasgow black humour and an all-star cast of returning characters.

  • Barbara
    2019-04-29 02:02

    Funny, as per usual.It's a brilliant book when you don't know what's going to happen. Probably won't include it in my next Brookmyre re-reading spree though, because with the deception gone and plot twist anticipated (as I was reading it second time) I found myself little tired of the ever-present ranting tone and seriously wished that someone shut Simon the hell up earlier (I probably wished the same last time, just with the mystery awaiting I'd made through his chapters faster or so it'd seemed). Still had fun, though, Angelique is an awesome character for one thing, and I enjoyed her perspective immensely. It was great to see Zal again, too, and their storyline was nicely played. Also, it was quite enjoyable to all those moments when you could get cheated and to know how they'd play out.

  • Barbara
    2019-05-18 08:23

    This book is a sequel to A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away and The Sacred Art of Stealing, and you really have to have read both of those books to fully understand the ins and outs of the plot of this book. Even then, you may struggle at times - keeping a list of characters as they appear might help, as this book has a plot full of intricate twists and turns! The book is very exciting, but you have to keep your wits about you as you read, particularly when the narrator changes unexpectedly mid-chapter, which it does fairly frequently. It captures your interest, though - or at least it did mine - and is quite hard to put down, not least because it is frequently quite difficult to work out who the bad guys are. You never know what is going to happen next. With an unexpected ending, the way has been left open for further books, too.

  • Stuart Lutzenhiser
    2019-05-05 02:16

    If Carl Hiaasen was Scottish and wrote about social problems rather than environmental ones, then he would have written this book. Or maybe if Brookmyre was from Florida and wrote with an environmental twist, he'd be Hiaasen. They seem to be cut from a similar cloth.Really funny and outrageous. A terrorist turned serial killer and a bank robber turned magician are embroiled with a police-office responsible for arresting and then losing both of them. The serial killer begins taking an interest in members of the reality-tv media and other "celebrities" and must be brought to some form of justice. I laughed out loud and enjoyed every page - much the same as the first 5 or so Hiaasen books I read.I guess the best indication of whether or not I enjoyed it or recommend it is that as soon as I finished it, I bought another of his books. I guess that is the true measure.

  • Denise
    2019-05-15 08:25

    Another enjoyable romp from the master of tartan noir. Fast-paced with plenty of contemporary references, this book takes a huge swipe at reality TV, the culture of celebrity and our seemingly insatiable appetite for the whole shebang, and elevates it to a whole new level.It helps if you,ve read 'The Sacred Art of Stealing', as the main characters all appeared there first, but it would probably stand alone well enough.As ever, Brookmyre creates a convoluted plot which continually takes the narrative down unexpected roads - hardly surprising when one of the main protagonists is a crack magician specialising in misdirection.I would recommend this for anyone looking for a light, fast reading crime thriller with a healthy sprinkling of one-liners and sweary words in equal measure.

  • Godzilla
    2019-05-01 05:29

    This is a descendant of his earlier novels "A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away" and "The Sacred Art of Stealing", which I'm fortunate to have read in order.It's not essential to read them in order, but it fleshes out the characters much more.The book twists and turns constantly, never letting you rely on the words in front of you: there is always a surprise just round the corner.The art of misdirection is practiced by the characters and the author superbly.Brookmyre uses different narrators throughout a single chapter, leaving you uncertain at moemnts as to whose viewpoint you're getting.As usual the book is liberally shot through with dark, insightful humour. There are the usual modern targets in here, but Brookmyre does it with aplomb and style.

  • DC
    2019-05-22 02:13

    A Snowball in Hell brings back Simon Darcourt and his nemesis Angelique de Xavia, and Sal. It is as good as it sounds, with misdirection everywhere, to say nothing of some well-aimed bile at modern celebrity culture. Darcourt, of course, never stops at merely venting his spleen, and sets about a very public series of murders. Angel X is brought in to help catch him. Meanwhile, Sal is lying low... If you like Christopher Brookmyre you'll like this; if you haven't read him before, though, this isn't the one to start with.

  • Sammie
    2019-05-23 01:06

    A sadistic mass-murderer with a sense of humour, back from the dead. He sets about a plan that humiliates, tortures and then kills the reality TV stars he despises so much. Brookmyre never holds back on the detail of the ironic punishment Darcourt inflicts on his victims. I like the way it all comes together. His plots are generally clever, and this one didn't disappoint. There are two earlier books in this 'series', one of which I read many years ago and the other I haven't read at all, so there were a few references to the past which I didn't quite understand. I'd recommend reading these books in order to fully enjoy them.

  • Eric
    2019-05-06 03:02

    Full disclosure: audiobook. I think hearing this one read actually enhanced the experience. The reader did an extraordinary job of portraying all of the different nuances and dialects of each individual character. Since there are so many characters in this story, that had the added advantage of helping us to remember who was doing the speaking. Brookmyre has his usual quota of very imaginative ways of dispatching the unfortunates. OK, maybe a little more than his usual quota. The humor, the plot twists, the engaging characters are all there and add up to a wonderful romp through murder and mayhem.

  • Jordan McPeek
    2019-05-04 04:01

    Serial killer who realllly doesn't like celebrity culture, but loves attention in a big way. Magician thief and conflicted cop team up to catch him. Loved the magician storyline with the behind-the-scenes old school magic. The killer's set pieces were fantastic, so over the top. One way to see it is as one big elaborate con, lots of fun watching the gigantic plan unfold. Lots of biting satire on celebrity and media provides a little extra to chew on. Unfortunately, I didn't realize this book has a prequel or two until it was too late, so I felt I missed out on a fair bit of backstory.

  • Ruth
    2019-05-08 01:15

    This is a very fast moving adventure story about a serial killer who decides that those empty headed floozies who seek fame at any cost need to be taught a lesson. Many of the 'celebrities' he describes sound very familiar and the protaganist's highly cynical justification of his actions actually start to sound remarkably convincing. Despite the prolific use of profanity, it is intelligently written, the vocabulary used throughout is stimulating and the dark humour woven through the story makes some of the more shocking aspects palatable.

  • Jer
    2019-05-12 00:09

    Another brilliant slice of Tartan Noir from Brookmyre, this is the third in a loose trilogy that sees the return of the wonderfully twisted criminal genius Simon Darcourt. I've always preferred the Parlabane books, but this is by far the best Angelique de Xavia novel and was great fun from start to end. There's lots of twists and surprises, clever set-pieces, deceptions and misdirections - if you've not read a Brookemyre in a while, give this one a go!