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Country of the Blind

Christopher Brookmyre

Average Review Rating Average Rating 7/10 (1 Review)
Book Details

Publisher : Little, Brown and Company

Published : 1997

Copyright : Christopher Brookmyre 1997

ISBN-10 : HB 0-316-64027-1
ISBN-13 : HB 978-0-316-64027-5

Publisher's Write-Up

HANG THESE BASTARDS NOW! ran the headline of one now-ownerless Tory tabloid - a front page rabid even by its own ferocious standards - but then it wasn't every day its proprietor was found slaughtered, allegedly by the four burglars referred to in the headline. Along with his wife and two bodyguards, billionaire media mogul Roland Voss had had a country weekend in Perthshire cut short by a cut throat.

Like many outside Conservative Central Office, journalist Jack Parlabane wasn't exactly crying in his beer over this news - his only regret was that he'd never get to settle his own personal score with the ruthless and vicious tycoon. But as corpses start piling up around the fringes of the investigation, Parlabane begins to suspect Voss might have been taken out on purpose, rather than merely the victim of a robbery-gone-wrong. Besides, although the four accused had form, it was for screwing country mansions, not killing people, and since their leader Tam Mclnnes finished a long stretch several years back, he'd been clean.

Parlabane's not the only one who thinks the accused might be innocent. Nicole Carrow, a young lawyer with the firm representing Mclnnes, had a curious meeting with him a few days before Voss sprung a leak. She was given an envelope with instructions to open it unless Tam returned to retrieve it on the following Monday. When he didn't, Nicole opened not only the envelope, but a terrifying new world - a world of danger and deceit, of murder and betrayal, where defence is not a legal game but a fight for your life. A world that Jack Parlabane knows well.

The brilliant follow-up to 'Quite Ugly One Morning', Christopher Brookmyre's acclaimed and award-winning debut, 'Country of the Blind' confirms Brookmyre's status among the most exciting new writers of the Nineties. Intricately constructed, with dialogue as sharp as the plotting, it is a novel of high adventure that takes us to the dark heart of corrupted power.

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Reader Reviews

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Review by Chrissi (011001) Rating (7/10)

Review by Chrissi
Rating 7/10
This is the second of Mr Brookmyre's books that I have read and all that it has done is to convince me that he has a very low opinion of the powers that be. In this story, set once again in Scotland, a very powerful man is murdered, along with his wife and bodyguards. The men that have supposedly committed this dastardly crime are burglars caught on the premises. These four are charged with the murders and seem about to be locked up for the rest of their mortal lives when a young lady solicitor called Nicole pops up and says that she was given documents that indicate that the men were framed.

Jack Parlabane, pain in the arse reporter extraordinaire, becomes involved when he sees Nicole on the TV and realises that there is something that she is not saying, which is way more interesting than what is actually coming out of her mouth. He is dragged in yet further when an old acquaintance is found dead after eating cyanide - no one else is implicated and so it is deemed to be self-inflicted.

It is remarkably complicated, and takes about two thirds of the book to get properly going, but when it does, it all comes together really well. Initially it is quite disjointed, and you are not sure what relevance one set of events have to another, but then you just have to trust that it will make sense in the end, and sense it does make. Unfortunately, conspiracy type stories have only two main outcome combinations - the evil bodies are either the ones that you meet right at the beginning and you have to resist the urge to shout at the characters "he's behind you", or they are the ones where you do not meet the real baddy until the end, just as he is taking off his mask and growling about pesky kids.

Mr Brookmyre does write very well, I can almost tolerate the use of the Irvine Welsh type phonetic Scottish writing, as with a bit of concentration, it can be quite effective, once I have got my brain in gear. He uses more big words than many authors, which is nice, and makes you think about what he is saying. I love some of his characterisation; Spammy in this book is a case in point. Most people know someone like Spammy, living in their own world, perched on their own cloud of some kind of strange fragrant smoke, and impossible to have a conversation with for 95% of the time. Except that every so often, they come out with an absolute blinder, leaving you open mouthed with amazement.

The titles of CB's books intrigue me, and if I could ask him, I would like to know where they come from. I can appreciate Boiling a Frog, because he gives his reasons, but the Country of the Blind, other than a reference to "there's none so blind as them that will not see", I don't know why he chose it although perhaps it is a rant at those of who are politically apathetic.

And yes, I am looking forward to Quite Ugly One Morning - but at the moment the next of his that I have to read is One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night - perhaps he just likes nonsense rhymes...
Chrissi (1st October 2001)

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