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by Christopher Brookmyre
Abacus, August 2000
373 pages
6.99 GBP
ISBN: 0349112096

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

When the class of 1984, St Michael's Auchenlea Secondary School (just outside Glasgow), receive an invitation to a class reunion to celebrate having escaped school 15 years before, there are the usual qualms about meeting up with old loves, old friends and old enemies. Despite the fact that the reunion takes place on a disused oil rig which has been turned into a floating resort, the event starts off fairly normally. There's the usual gossip about who's in jail and, more worryingly, who's out, trying to impress old schoolmates with stories about your successes since they last saw you, and dancing to Kajagoogoo or doing the Hucklebuck. Unfortunately, it would appear that a group of rather scary men with more guns than sense have also found their way onto the guest list.

This is a really, really funny book. It's also quite violent and has a higher body count than Glasgow city centre on a Saturday night. There are as many one liners as there are stray bullets and the only times I wasn't sniggering were when I was laughing out loud. It's also a great story that just cracks along like a haggis on speed and has a cast of characters that you really get to know and like. The book focuses on a few of the class and you get a look at their lives since school, as well as how they cope with the carnage of what should be just a good night out, but turns into Lethal Weapon meets Braveheart. It's bizarre, hilarious, warm, outrageous, and bloody. It's also made me rethink going to my school's 25th year reunion unless I can get in some training in the use of a rocket launcher beforehand.

This is not the sort of book I would recommend to my mother - too much violence and too much swearing. It is, however, the type of book I thrust into the hands of friends and colleagues with particularly warped minds and say 'Here, I thought of you when reading this book.'

Editor's Note: There is no US edition of this book. Amazon will send you the UK edition for $35 so order directly from Crime in Store (crimebks@aol.com) or your favorite independent.

Reviewed by Donna Moore, July 2002

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)

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