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ALL FUN AND GAMES UNTIL SOMEBODY LOSES AN EYE
by Christopher Brookmyre
Little, Brown, May 2005
416 pages
12.99GBP
ISBN: 0316726168


Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

A strange group of people assembles outside a mansion: Somboon (Thai) is a teenaged techno-geek, Alexis (Canadian) a young hacker and Armand (French) a mercenary explosives expert. Rebekah, an American and pilot extraordinaire, picks them all up in a helicopter and they fly to Aix where Bett, the leader, (nationality unknown) is picked up, and then on to their destination where Nuno, the Catalan who does everything else is waiting with a truck.

They all have their own stories. They are all more or less outcasts from their own countries. Lex, for example, an idealistic teenager after 9/11, shut down a power station in Jedda. Her reasoning: ". . . Afghanistan. That's where they were bombing. What the hell was there to bomb in Afghanistan? Wouldn't they have to send some army engineers over there to build some shit first, kinda to make the bombing runs worthwhile? Nineteen of the hijackers were Saudis. Bin Laden was a Saudi. The money was Saudi, the ideological pressure was Saudi. So let's bomb Afghanistan. Fuck that."

After having flown a helicopter through a snowstorm, to their destination, Rebekah tells the others that it was no great feat because: "It's all in the technology these days. There's a joke among the civil flyers that future crews will comprise a single pilot and a dog. The pilot's job will be to watch all the computers, and the dog's will be to bite the pilot if he attempts to touch anything."

They accomplish their mission but sometime later Ross Fleming, one of the scientists from the facility they have infiltrated, goes missing. Bett decides to bring in a specialist for this mission. Jane Bell had been a teenage rebel until she became pregnant and married the father of her child. But now a grandmother at 46 and a housewife, she is bored out of her mind. She is the specialist Bett chooses.

The prize for the longest, most bizarre titles must go to Christopher Brookmyre. If an early MacGyver gambit mated with a segment of a Monty Python's Flying Circus episode, it might have given birth to something completely different: ALL FUN AND GAMES UNTIL SOMEBODY LOSES AN EYE.

The book is violent and funny but a strong sense of morality and justice runs through it. This book differs from some of Brookmyre's other books in that there is no gratuitous mention of human waste found in inappropriate places. I think THE SACRED ART OF STEALING is my favorite Brookmyre, but this one runs it a very close second.

Reviewed by Barbara Franchi, April 2005

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Contact: Yvonne Klein (ymk@reviewingtheevidence.com)


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