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Jack Parlabane #1

Quite Ugly One Morning

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Quite Ugly One Morning is the book that made Christopher Brookmyre a star in his native Britain, establishing his distinctive, scabrously humorous style and breakneck, hell-for-leather narrative pacing. The novel that won the inaugural First Blood Award for the best debut crime novel in the United Kingdom is now available in America for the first time, and comic crime writing on this side of the Atlantic may never be the same.

Quite Ugly One Morning introduces Brookmyre's signature protagonist, the hard-partying, wisecracking investigative journalist Jack Parlabane, who is not afraid to bend the laws of the land (or even the laws of gravity) to get to the truth. Parlabane is nursing a horrific hangover when he stumbles across the corpse of the scion of a wealthy Edinburgh medical family. Determined to get to the bottom of the murder himself, he quickly becomes enmeshed in a wild adventure that will take him through all the strata of Edinburgh society and into some dangerous (and hysterical) situations.

Laced with acerbic wit and crackling dialogue, Quite Ugly One Morning is a wickedly entertaining and vivacious thriller.

312 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 1996

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About the author

Christopher Brookmyre

40 books1,347 followers
Christopher Brookmyre is a Scottish novelist whose novels mix politics, social comment and action with a strong narrative. He has been referred to as a Tartan Noir author. His debut novel was Quite Ugly One Morning, and subsequent works have included One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night, which he said "was just the sort of book he needed to write before he turned 30", and All Fun and Games until Somebody Loses an Eye (2005).

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5 stars
2,378 (28%)
4 stars
3,525 (42%)
3 stars
1,829 (22%)
2 stars
432 (5%)
1 star
146 (1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 472 reviews
Profile Image for F.
294 reviews251 followers
August 6, 2017
Didnt know this was set in Scotland when I picked it up.
Really enjoyed this wee story. Easy to get through.
Profile Image for Andrew Smith.
1,035 reviews569 followers
October 20, 2015
If I had to describe my staple reading diet it would be contemporary American fiction, particularly American crime fiction. I don't often read British authors, though I have made some exceptions; I read to escape not to be reminded of the daily grind. There are two Scottish writers I do really like though (Ian Rankin and Iain Banks) and for some while friends have been nagging me to give Brookmyre a go. I finally succumbed.

I knew this would be funny and clever - it's both - and I guessed it would be somewhat political, which it also is. The story is wacky but not wildly so. The plot rocks along at a steady pace and I laughed quite a bit (particularly at the beginning and towards the end).

I found I'd devoured the whole thing in no time. It didn't make me want to rush out and grab the next one... not yet. But I will read another and will probably dip back into Brookmyre's work whenever I'm in the mood for some lighthearted fun.
Profile Image for Brenda.
725 reviews150 followers
January 17, 2019
This was an interesting take on the murder of a doctor. Jack Parlabane is a journalist who uses his cat-burglar talents to investigate crimes. The long-suffering police are involved, but they are not the focus of the book. The author has a sense of humor and a snarky attitude that shines through a plethora of bodily fluids. There are many references to people and things that I didn’t always understand, but I did enjoy the book. Will continue with this series at some point to see if the author matures.
Profile Image for notgettingenough .
1,017 reviews1,168 followers
January 10, 2010
Warning. This review might offend easily offended people.

This is the book where Brookmyre has a graphic description of a turd early on, which I thought was rather unnecessary, but what would I know? More people read his books than my reviews. For now, anyway.

So, last night while partaking of tea at the Windsor, suddenly at 10pm my brother Bernard calls home. ‘Has she done it yet?’ They’ve just had a kitten, you see, called Socks and they are waiting for her to do her first poo. Not so much her first poo, to be accurate. But her first poo in the kitty litter. So far she’s been pooing in places the humans would prefer to have to themselves. The bath, the sofa. Indeed, very much the sort of places Brookmyre might lay one.

In this particular book somebody manages to shit on top of the mantelpiece. Nice.

Well, if it works for Brookmyre, maybe something scatalogical might work for me. So, please, ladies and gentlemen, might I present for your edification, Socks’ very first kitty litter poo, produced early this morning and photographed by her proud parents, there to catch the moment.

Profile Image for Skip.
3,249 reviews393 followers
May 19, 2018
Jack Parlabane is an investigative reporter, who is a master cat burglar but only steals what he needs for his stories. When a famous doctor is viciously murdered in Edinburgh, he can't stay uninvolved. Turns out that the doctor has a gambling problem, but that doesn't seem to be the motive for the crime. In fact, the motive itself was well-cloaked. Funny at times, and with some reasonable insight into the horrors of doctors becoming certified, the book was not that great. I don't think I've ever read a book with more vomit either.
Profile Image for Dipanjan.
292 reviews11 followers
April 26, 2016
Quite Ugly One Morning is definitely Quite Fantastic An Experience. What a book! After I read this book, I was left completely stranded and was not able to choose which book to pick up next for a whole 8 hours and I am still struggling. It’s just like the lingering after taste of a rich and heavy wine.

Where do I start? If I have to talk about the plot, I can write volumes. If I have to talk about the treatment, it will be never ending and if I have to talk about the protagonist, I may not ever stop. Jack Parlabane, the hero of Quite Ugly One Morning is simply a clutter-breaking character. He is all brains, all snoop, all tracker of truth. If there is something to be uncovered, he WILL find it. Add to that a raunchy lip smacking attitude. There is something about Parlabane that throws all alarm bells screaming danger and YET one gets drawn towards him. He is what a journalist should be, Non-conformist and a true seeker of the truth. I was introduced to this book by a lady friend who generally eats men for breakfast and was told I am the second guy she really likes, with Jack Parlabane holding the No 1 spot. I couldn’t have agreed with her more after I finished the book. I don’t mind relinquishing the No 1 spot to Jack Parlabane.

For thriller lovers, this is an ABSOLUTE must. You simply cannot miss this one. It’s got a great plot, great narration, great pace and a great environment. But the entire thing is carried on the lithe shoulders of Jack Parlabane. Mr. Brookmyre deserves the award which he has clinched for this book, every bit of it.

If you haven’t read this book, stop whatever you are doing and go pick it up. And fasten your seat belts too, you will be experiencing turbulence. CAUTION - Try NOT TO FORGET that you have to go to work. This book is capable of getting you fired!!
Profile Image for Thomas Stroemquist.
1,467 reviews121 followers
July 22, 2019
A great debut and it actually have loads of Brookmyre’s trademarks fully formed; gory and absurd situations, heaps of dark humour and really good characters. The short book had a surprisingly slow moving part at around 3/4 or so, but I didn’t mind so much, the writing is good.

The first time we meet Jack Parlabane, he’s just returned to his native Glasgow from California where his investigative journalism has dug him in a bit far. Hung over, confused and in his Jockeys, he literally stumbles upon his neighbors mutilated corpse, oh and a number of police that already have started investigated what the poor sod may have done to deserve this. Parlabane thinks something is off and that it was really supposed to be a quiet affair.
Profile Image for Fiona.
319 reviews344 followers
June 23, 2014
Two-thirds of the way through the first chapter of QUOM, the detectives at the newly discovered, extremely messy crime scene, discover that not only has the murderer been as brutal and sadistic as he appears to have possibly been able to manage, but he has also done a sizable shit on the mantelpiece. And lo, the tone is set. A very few chapters later, Christopher Brookmyre tells you whodunnit, and the rest of the book involves a lot of charging about while the good guys explain to each other how their deducings are getting on, and the bad guys get increasingly worried about their progress.

I'm sure that would be a turn-off for a lot of readers, but I have an extremely lassez-faire attitude to spoilers. I like watching people work things out - I even quite like Info-Dump By Dialogue, okay? sue me - and I like a good detective story where I know the outcome already. It's fun watching other people get there. The style of story suited me very much.

Ornamental coprolite not so much. You win some, you lose some.

This book is not subtle. I've read other Brookmyre and having done so I can tell this is his first novel - he's gearing up. He gets better. But just because something isn't subtle doesn't mean it's not good, or clever. If I'm sporting a massive purple bruise above my eye, it's from being beaten about the skull with his political message - but that's okay, I had fun with it. I cheered half the cast; I booed the other half. I liked who I was meant to like and didn't like the ones I wasn't. QUOM is set in my city, too, and it was nice to rampage around a bit.

A bit more delicacy next time, Christopher, and a few more dimensions to your core team, and we might be talking about bumping up a star. Also you have to promise me to go around with the disinfectant before you invite me in.
Profile Image for Laura Belgrave.
Author 9 books32 followers
June 16, 2013
Well, hell. Who'd think you might find a hardboiled mystery set in Scotland? I mean, I visited Scotland once, long ago, and it struck me as quite a sleepy place where nothing much could happen beyond sheep blocking a roadway. That's not the Scotland of Christopher Brookmyre's most excellent "Quite Ugly One Morning."

Now then, don't read any further if you aren't a fan of novels with explicit language and, well . . . let's just say "vivid" scenes. Of course, given the heavy Scottish tone, you might not recognize a lot of the explicit language as anything potentially offensive. Then again, sure; you would. Context is everything, and this book has it all: bad guys who don't always look like bad guys (even if they seem like idiots); high stakes in the medical profession; a very unusual journalist whose main object is to sniff out stories that even the tabloids would love. Hey, this fella? This Jack Parlabane? He's gotta get by somehow, right? And he's very good at what he does. So are the women he unwittingly engages to help him here and there.

It's all so straightforward, and yet the novel raises the bar for the standard fare I've been accustomed to. And even if it does have, oh, the occasional dollop of violence, it's balanced quite nicely with some laugh-out-loud moments somehow connected to those scenes.

My, my. What a great find. What a wonderful, engaging read. Cozy readers? Don't bother. Mystery lovers? What are you waiting for? Pick it up now.
Profile Image for Ammar.
444 reviews217 followers
October 11, 2016
Enter Jack Parlabane: Investigative journalist from Glasgow, who went to L.A for a job, and came home running after someone put a hit on him.

Enter the assassin who killed a Dr in an interesting fashion...

Enter Dr Sarah Slaughter; the ex-wife of the victim

Enter Dr. Stephen Lime; the victim's boss.

An easy ready and sort of easy to deduct the killer, as Christopher Brookmyre doesn't worry about the whodunit part, as the why the crime took place and he tries to build a background of the characters.

The black humor in this book is so good, so on the point and if you read and giggle and perhaps laugh at some parts... it is very normal and i do encourage that.

Some people may find this book off putting for a first book in a series, as the author didn't create the best crime or suspects ever, but his writing style and satire balances it all for a solid 3.5 star and enough curiosity to read the second book in the series.
Profile Image for Trevor.
1,283 reviews21.5k followers
December 8, 2007
This is the first of the Jack Parlabane novels - a short journalist with a habit for getting himself seriously into trouble often involving him carrying on like a burglar.

This was made into a television show a couple of years ago and they really made a mess of it. Hard to imagine, as his stuff really is crying out to be made into films.

Parlabane has returned suddenly to Scotland only to wake the next morning to the smell of various human wastes in his flat. Going off to investigate the smell, which his is not totally sure if he was not responsible for, lands him in the middle of a murder scene in his underwear.

This is not the best of the Parlabane's, but you need to read this one first as much happens here that you need to know later. The next one, The Country of the Blind, is probably the best, but read this one first - it is no hardship.
Profile Image for Deanne.
1,775 reviews108 followers
April 17, 2013
Fun, manic crime novel set in Edinburgh, which starts with a bang and never lets up. Also made me laugh that the NHS trust manager is portrayed in the way he is, as is the corporate structure of the NHS.
Profile Image for Eve Kay.
862 reviews30 followers
February 4, 2018
An excellent story that shows us all the shite going on in the hospital business.
There's some crooked people, they're maybe a little stereotypical, but they're crooked enough for my liking. The good guys are good characters too, and the main character, Parlabane, is also a bad ass.
I liked the easy writing, the fast-paced story and the characters. So I wanna read more of this series.
Sure, there was probably a little too much of excrement and vomit and such for my liking, but I'm gonna let it slide. Pun intended.
Profile Image for Lance Charnes.
Author 7 books89 followers
December 2, 2017
While our default view of British detective stories tends to focus south of the Tweed, it's well worth remembering that Scotland is (at least nominally) part of the United Kingdom and has its own share of sick puppies to track down. One of them writes berserk crime novels -- Tartan Noir in Braveheart mode -- and this book made Christopher Brookmyre's name in the U.K.

Jeremy Ponsonby, scion of a well-established Edinburgh medical family, is found in poor condition -- messily dead in a wrecked apartment -- sparking off a shambolic police investigation. Ponsonby's upstairs neighbor, gonzo journalist and series lead Jack Parlabane, happens to wander into both the apartment (alcohol is involved) and the investigation. Naturally, he launches his own inquiry. The action and POV pinballs between Parlabane, the victim's ex-wife, two of the police, a Thatcherite swine, and a large and accident-prone thug as it uncovers bad behavior in all its forms and in all quarters.

Settings are sketched economically unless the author deliberately goes over the top for comic effect; the initial crime scene, for instance, layers the bad over the worse until it's both hilarious and cringe-inducing. The crime and all its sequelae start out suitably opaque and slowly come into focus as the police and Parlabane dig up or stumble over various leads. You'll get a general idea of who did what to whom early on, but the "why" takes a while and a few detours until all is revealed. But the plot isn't the real reason to read this or any of the author's other works; it's the dialog and attitude, all of which is spot on, raunchy, and sometimes laugh-out-loud funny in a really dark, twisted way.

It's likely no coincidence that Brookmyre was a member of the Fourth Estate before he began writing about the imaginary people in his wee haid. He's said that Parlabane is his "wish fulfillment" character. Jack lives hard and suffers from it; he's been chased out of both London and Los Angeles by threats to his continued existence. When he does manage to stay sober, he's observant, persistent, obstinate, limitlessly irreverent, and a sucker for stories that allow him to cut down the tall poppies.

This could get exhausting but for the author's other kink: his POV jumps between characters, and he nails their individual voices while he makes them into at least real-ish people. Unusually for a male author, the female characters read as lasses rather than blokes in bras. Even when the characters are lunatics or cretins, they're mostly not entirely cartoons.

As in the other Brookmyre novels I've read, the author has a larger grievance that the story exposes. Here it's the National Health Service, specifically the NHS Trusts (a Blairite wheeze to bring supposed private-industry efficiencies to the system) and the limitless opportunities for graft, corruption, self-dealing, corner-cutting and other abuses grand and petty that these Trusts enable. The many scenes in healthcare facilities have a feel of truth to them (the author's wife is an NHS doctor), as well as a level of cynicism and black humor that makes M.A.S.H. look like the Hallmark Channel.

What happened to the fifth star? (Actually, it's only half a star gone missing; Goodreads still doesn't give us that ability, more's the pity.) This is Brookmyre's first novel, and it has a couple problems that reveal it as such. You'll have figured out the final twist in the plot before Our Heroes do, and it seems to take them a while to catch up. Also, the chief baddie seems to go completely out-of-character to force a climax with physical threats to Our Heroes, which seems more of a narrative convenience than an necessity.

Quite Ugly One Morning is one helluva debut novel: an exercise in extreme attitude that will make you laugh at highly inappropriate things and root for truly cracked characters. It's not for the faint of heart or pure of soul. If this was a movie, it would be a Guy Ritchie movie in the vein of Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels or Snatch. Sound good to you? Get it now.
Profile Image for Wendle.
258 reviews30 followers
September 5, 2014
Quite Ugly One Morning = ((NHS + money-grabbing politician) x (Parlabane + romance)) ^ Graphic violence

For a long time previously my other half had been reading Brookmyre and loving them. Loving them so much that he would stay up late into the night reading them because he just had to finish. My reaction to this would be to moan; "Turn out the light, I want to go to sleep!"

After much cajoling, I finally agreed to read a Brookmyre book. Being the anal kind of person that I am, I insisted on starting at the beginning.

Before I'd even finished the book I was apologising to my other half for ever moaning or rolling my eyes when he couldn't put a Brookmyre book down, or insisted on reading snippets out to me.

I was hooked by page three. It is a fantastic opening chapter, and still my second favourite Brookmyre chapter ever. Graphic violence galore, but damn if he doesn't make it funny. If you don't laugh out loud during that first chapter, then I truly believe you have no sense on humour.

The rest of the book made me laugh, and cringe, and pull faces and go "eww", and smile and go "aww", and laugh again. And more.

I will admit, I didn't like Parlabane at first. But like the mould in the on-call showers, he grew on me. Brookmyres characters are, if looked at rationally, kind of over-the-top and unrealistically caricatural, but that doesn't stop them being brilliantly done, and, in more subtle ways, they do have a lot of depth. I really really hated the evil characters, I really really loved the good characters and I really really laughed at the comic relief characters (McGregor, Skinner, I'm looking at you).

Basically, I would recommend this book to everyone.
Profile Image for Jamie Collins.
1,421 reviews262 followers
November 10, 2014
I like the genre name "Tartan Noir", to which this book belongs. It's a mystery/crime novel set in Edinburgh in the 90's. The book is funny and I liked the writing, but the plot is nothing special: I'm bored with evil, moneygrubbing corporate executives. This is actually a rather odd mystery in that the villain's identity is revealed quite early on. It reminded me of a Coen brothers movie: the bad guys are horrific and yet hilariously incompetent, and you watch while the good guys track them down.

The first few chapters are gross (vivid descriptions of gore and bodily waste) but thankfully the book doesn't continue long in that vein. I liked the protagonist and while the characterizations were all a bit shallow, I enjoyed the supporting cast. I've already ordered the next couple of books featuring these characters.

I enjoyed the fact that Parlabane, who is inured to bloody crime scenes and fearless about breaking and entering, completely freaks out when he discovers that someone is trying to kill him. He doesn't go into tough-guy mode, he up and flees to another continent. It was a refreshingly normal reaction for a crime novel hero.
Profile Image for Andrew.
2,151 reviews
April 3, 2015
This book was quite a surprise to me - many books covers I recognise for various reasons and this as a quite distinctive cover, but it wasn't until a local book club suggested this as their next title did I decided to give it a go.
The book has a very black humour running through it with some very memorable set pieces which are a mixture of disgusting and very funny (I guess working with a number of scots I have experienced this sort of dialogue first hand!), but there is also an enthralling story running through it which at times can be lost a bit but always finds its way to shine through again.
The book is historically based, set in "post-thatcherite" Scotland. The events are fictitious but "climate" were real, this sets off the tone which comes across as angry and frustrated which is reflected in the storyline too. This may not be to everyones taste but for me having lived through that time and have experienced the colour and character of the Scottish this was a great book which has certainly encouraged me to read more the Parlabane books
Profile Image for Andy Weston.
2,386 reviews140 followers
June 9, 2020
This was my first Brookmyre, and whilst the plot is good, the characters well described, the balance of humour against the gore and unpleasant substances doesn't work for me.
Humour and dark crime are a blend to get right as Scotch whisky. My preference is on understated and subtle black humour, and I find so few authors can do this successfully. Brookmyre's brand of humour is more slapstick and the story veers towards farce frequently. That's fine of course for those who like it that way, but just not for me.
1,873 reviews
August 22, 2016
If Quentin Tarantino and Carl Hiassen had a love child, and he was Scottish, he might turn out to be something like Christopher Brookmyre - violent, profane and outrageously funny.

Jack Parlabane is an intrepid muckraking journalist who stumbles - quite literally - into a horrific murder scene. The doctor in the apartment below him has been killed. Parlabane determines to get to the bottom of it with the help of the doctor's ex-wife and DC Jenny Dalziel. They uncover massive financial chicanery and mass murder in the National Health System. It's savage social satire and laugh out loud funny in so many places I lost count.

About Parlabane, Brookmyre says:
"To fully acknowledge the extent of the debt I owe Douglas Adams - as a reader and a writer - would very possibly crash this server, so I will merely cite one significant example. I am frequently asked who was the inspiration for my investigative journalist Jack Parlabane; whether he has some real-life antecedent or represents some indulgent alter-ego of mine. The truth is that Parlabane was entirely inspired by Ford Prefect: I always adored the idea of a character who cheerfully wanders into enormously dangerous situations and effortlessly makes them much worse."

Profile Image for Isaac Cooper.
148 reviews12 followers
August 26, 2014
Okay, this is gonna be a short review. Christopher Brookmyre and I clearly do not share the same sense of humour, or the same concept of what ‘good writing’ is. Good writing doesn’t come across as immature, doesn’t try to be funny, doesn’t dwell on cheap, scatological humour, humour attempting to appeal to the broadest, dumbest demographic possible. Good writing is hard to describe, it’s almost like a rapist, grabbing you by the throat and forcing it’s emotions on you. Wow, what a metaphor… one that’d fit nicely in the turd that is Quite Ugly One Morning. Calling this book a turd is appropriate, because at one point Mr Brookmyre vividly describes in what I assume is meant to be a raunchy, transgressive passage, a big ol’ turd.

Honestly, this read like a dweeb fourteen-year-old wrote it. And not even a funny dweeb fourteen-year-old. I’m not the most highbrow reader out there, but this is just embarrassing. Even more so due to the fact this book somehow won a Booker award? I sure picked a great, totally objective career to get into.
Profile Image for Simon Fay.
Author 4 books154 followers
June 12, 2017
There was one thing I liked about this book: The rancid detail of the crime scene and the violence that led to it. Not much else grabbed my attention though. The characters were colourful enough, but the only interesting ones were the villains. The writer kept telling me how cool the heroes were, but they were a bit too obvious for my taste.
Profile Image for Pgchuis.
1,906 reviews17 followers
July 27, 2020
3.5* rounded up.

I enjoyed (most of) the humour in this book, but struggled with all the Scottish vocabulary/slang. The introduction perhaps set me up for noticing this, but it was a bit of an 'issue novel', with heavy-handed references to the tragic state of the NHS. Then the tone in other places was quite coarse, and the villains verging on the cartoonish. I liked Jack and Sarah and their police officer pal Jenny, but I think I'll wait before reading the next in the series.
Profile Image for Jeff Nathan.
64 reviews
April 10, 2018
Kind of a unique protagonist. Had a bit of trouble translating some of the Scottish slang and found Jack just a bit too macho and quick thinking but I have never read a more humorous murder scene than the first one in this book. Not a funny subject but I was laughing out loud at the clumsiness of the murderer.
For those of you who do read it, an excellent Scottish online translator is: http://www.scotranslate.com/#
Profile Image for Toni.
93 reviews
August 1, 2020
I really wasn't sure about this one. It was written in a way where you knew the cast and who did what. And you were waiting to see how it all connected and played out. Just loved it.

You had everything I like in a murder mystery. Victim, assassin, corporate twat, nosy journalist, tenured DI, macho DS and the love interesy. What more can you want, oh yeah its based in Edinburgh and ends in one character 'touching base' with someone else.

Hysterical Chris Brookmyre, you're on my book list now!
Profile Image for Alice.
394 reviews1 follower
November 21, 2018
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, despite having been told about it ages ago and thinking it probably wasn't for me! I was completely and utterly wrong 😁

I laughed a lot, loved the vernacular and the familiarity of the location, and so yet again have to add another author to my ever extending list of "to reads".
Profile Image for Ann-Marie "Cookie M.".
1,077 reviews120 followers
October 2, 2020
This book starts a series that I hope goes better as it goes along, because I already have the next two.
The first book hits the ground running with one dead body and just about every substance that can exit a human being, either from natural orifices or artificially induced holes.
Then the story bogs down and drags, for a long while, mixing white collar crime with hit men with cops with freelance (I think) reporters, with drug runners (maybe?). I don't know. I got bored and confused.
It picked up at the end, with everyone running around doing stuff, either trying to kill or trying to get away from a crazed killer.
You figure it out.
I gave it 3 stars because I finished it. I go, me.
Profile Image for Leftbanker.
783 reviews292 followers
May 10, 2019
Parlabane found the word ‘pro-active’ enormously useful, as it immediately exposed the speaker as an irredeemable arsehole, whatever previous impression might have been given. Every time he heard it he imagined George Orwell doing another 360 down below.

Even if this book had no other redeeming quality than this little gem—and it has plenty more to offer—it would be worth the price of admission, of whatever the literary equivalent of that is called.

Reading a few of the reviews of this book here, I was puzzled why so many people claimed to be offended by the author’s choice of including a human turd in the cast of characters yet didn’t bat an eye at the grotesque violence that literally surrounded the aforementioned pile of excrement. People get a good look at a turd every day but if we’re lucky, we’ll never see a tortured corpse. It’s like how people are offended by sex on TV, but literally tens of thousands of murders are OK for their children to witness before they turn 18. People are weird.

The book was quite fun and I especially enjoyed the Scottish vernacular as I was just coming off a book on the history of English. Now I hear a Scots accent in my head.
Profile Image for Noelle.
Author 6 books260 followers
September 30, 2016
I am seriously going to have to stop chatting to Graham Smith as he is costing me a fortune from all his author/book recommendations! Mr Smith suggested that I may find Chris Brookmyre‘s writing style and characters right up my street, and I hate to say it…he may not have been wrong!

Set in Edinburgh, this book is full of a dry, dark wit that you are either going to love (Me! Me! Me!) or completely dislike (Booooo!) – a marmite sort of book you could say! It oozes the grittiness of the gangland underworld, with deception, betrayal, murder most foul, revenge, gory violence and the search for justice seeping from the pages.

Although the synopsis is vague, it gives away enough to inform you what the storyline is and to be honest, I think reading the book is the best way to pick up the complexity, hilarity, dry wit and totally gripping context of what this book is about!

Now let’s talk characters! *rubs hands together excitedly* – For me, the characterisation is the best part of this book! The author revealed the character’s personalities through descriptions from other characters! I loved this. There are so many I can mention, each drawing me into the story for different reasons – but I will mention a few who really intrigued me, made me laugh or evoked another emotion as I turned the pages.

Jack Parlabane – bloody awesome! He is clever, tenacious, deconstructs and deduces people & situations, has great banter, uses unorthodox methods and his skills…..they are intense! Totally unrealistic but absolutely believable – I definitely want to know more about this guy.

OMFG Darren Mortlake!! WTAF?! This guy has got to be the most unfortunate guy there is out there! He is friggin hilarious through his misfortune! And his logic? OMFG! Is this guy for real? Laughed my arse off!

Stephen Lime – seriously messed up! Basically an arse and I grew to really despise him! ha ha! Jenny Dalziel– LOVED her. Her dry wit is fab! She has a nose for truth. She and Parlabane bounce off each other perfectly! Finally, Sarah – adore her! Confident, determined but not wanting to stand out particularly – she inadvertantly makes her mark.

I know this is a somewhat vague review, but I really cannot say more without spoiling the unique, funny and absolutely CRAZINESS that is Quite Ugly One Morning! Do I recommend you read this book? Ab-so-friggin-lutely! I am a huge fan of Mr Brookmyre now and have downloaded a few more of his books – I am only sorry it has taken me so long to discover his writing!

I suggest you head over to amazon and download this badboy! You will not regret it!
Profile Image for Pat.
2,310 reviews395 followers
March 2, 2017
3.5 stars

After reading the 7th book in this series (Black Widow) and loving it, I decided to go back to the beginning. So this is the first Jack Parlabane book which was written in around 1995. Surprisingly I found it hardly dated at all. The reference to 'personals' (mobile phones or cells) was about the only dated aspect.

Jack Parlabane is an investigative reporter that loves the hard-hitting exposes. He has just returned from two years in LA from where he had to skedaddle after someone had tried to kill him. He's hardly moved into his new digs when a doctor who lived on the floor below him was brutally murdered. His natural curiosity kicks in and voila, we have a case and a story.

This book is full of humorous dialogue and commentary. I love the Scottish vernacular and, at times, had to laugh out loud despite the serious subject matter. Jack is soon on the trail of massive corruption within one of the NHS Trusts. Things soon take a more dangerous twist for Jack and Sarah (the ex-wife of the murdered doctor) who has been helping him uncover this scam.

It was a very entertaining story, I really enjoyed it. And well done for a debut novel. On to number 2 in due course.
Profile Image for Rachael Hewison.
481 reviews35 followers
January 27, 2016
I seem to enjoy Brookmyre's books that are part of a series more rather than the stand alone ones. I'm not sure whether it's because we have more time to get attached to the characters, or whether they are just more interesting but I really enjoyed this book.

It's the first of Brookmyre's books that I found myself laughing out loud to. Parlabane was a brilliant protagonist and I loved how he bounced off the other characters, most particularly Sarah and Jenny and I liked his romance with Sarah as it was so subtle and sweet.

I got a bit lost and bored with the intricacies of the scandal behind the murder but it didn't dull my enjoyment of the story. It was set at a good pace and unlike Brookmyre's other books that seem to hurtle towards the climax, this took a more leisurely pace and I felt very satisfied by the end.

Darren also can't go unmentioned. I loved the scenes with him in.
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