Tag Archives: Chris Brookmyre

Want You Gone by Chris Brookmyre

#BlogTour : I’m so excited to be reviewing this book on publication day and would like to thank Grace Vincent of Little, Brown UK for inviting me to take part in the blog tour.  It’s two firsts for me –  it’s the first time I’ve been part of a blog tour and I’m the first stop. 

#WantYouGone @cbrookmyre @LittleBrownUK

 

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What if all your secrets were put online? Sam Morpeth is growing up way too fast, left to fend for a younger sister with learning difficulties when their mother goes to prison and watching her dreams of university evaporate. But Sam learns what it is to be truly powerless when a stranger begins to blackmail her online, drawing her into a trap she may not escape alive. Who would you turn to? Meanwhile, reporter Jack Parlabane has finally got his career back on track, but his success has left him indebted to a volatile source on the wrong side of the law. Now that debt is being called in, and it could cost him everything. What would you be capable of? Thrown together by a common enemy, Sam and Jack are about to discover they have more in common than they realise – and might be each other’s only hope.

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Want You Gone is another wonderfully entertaining thriller from Chris Brookmyre, in the Jack Parlabane series.  Chris is a brilliant writer and this time we are led into the world of hackers, cyber crime, fraud and corporate espionage.

The book starts with what looks like two separate stories (or three if you count the cyber attack on the bank), one told by Sam Morpeth, a teenage girl who is becoming overwhelmed with the responsibility of looking after her younger sister with learning difficulties. Things get worse when she’s told she can’t claim benefits because she is in full time education. No one seems to be listening. In the evenings when her sister is asleep she spends her time in online chat rooms to escape her harsh reality.

In the ‘second’ story, investigative reporter Jack Parlabane is in London having been invited there for an interview with Broadwave, an online news site. Could this be an opportunity to get his career back on track? While he’s there, there is a major cyber attack on RSGN Bank. Parlabane recognises the trademark of a group of hackers called Uninvited and contacts a hacker who goes by the name Buzzkill with whom he has had dealings in the past, in the hope of getting some inside information on the hack for a story. Jack has no idea who Buzzkill is, he’s never discovered his real identity nor actually spoken to him and he doesn’t particularly want to owe him any favour but he gets some quotes and writes a piece for Broadwave.

Sam’s situation then suddenly deteriorates further when she is hacked by a blackmailer who seems to know everything about her and is threatening to reveal things from her past that could lead to her going to jail. The blackmailer is demanding that she steal a prototype device from company. Having read Jack Parlabane’s story about the attack on the Bank she attempts to contact him to seek his help.

The two soon find themselves involved in the dark world of cyber-crime: hacking, breaching security systems, corporate espionage, all the while trying to identify the blackmailer who calls himself Zodiac. They also find themselves having to ‘disappear’ after a body is found on premises where Jack had gained entry having previously hacked the software that controlled access.

Despite some of the things Sam has done, she comes across as a good character and I had a lot of sympathy for her. I also like Jack Parlabane despite his, at times, rather dubious past when his actions in pursuit of the truth of a story sometimes led to him stepping over the line. The two characters worked well together. I also got the feeling there was another connection between Jack and Sam waiting to be revealed.

The first part of the book moves along at steady pace but is never boring. It’s not long before the action really starts and then the pace really ramps up until the conclusion. Sam tells her story in first person voice. Jack’s story is narrated in the third person. The dialogue is good and there is an exciting immediacy. As I read I could see the story playing out in my head and I got very engrossed.  There are a few surprising twists. For me, it quickly became a real page turner.   Wonderful stuff!

Publication date:  20 April 2017

Author’s website:  www.brookmyre.co.uk

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[My thanks to NetGalley and Little Brown UK for an ARC and to Grace Vincent of Little Brown UK for inviting me to take part in the blog tour]

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Black Widow

Description:  There is no perfect marriage.  There is no perfect murder.  

From Scottish crime master Christopher Brookmyre, Black Widow tells the potent story of a woman who thought she was too late for love, the man who falls for her ambition, and the secret selves that are poised, at any moment, to end everything.

Diana Jager is clever, strong, and successful, a skilled surgeon and fierce campaigner via her blog about sexism in medicine. Yet it takes only hours for her life to crumble when her personal details are released on the internet as revenge for her writing. Then she meets Peter. He is kind, generous, and knows nothing about her past—the second chance she’s been waiting for. Within six months, they are married. Within six more, Peter is dead in a road accident, a nightmare end to their fairy-tale romance. But Peter’s sister Lucy doesn’t believe in fairy tales, and tasks rogue reporter Jack Parlabane with discovering the dark truth behind the woman the media is calling the Black Widow.

Still on the mend from his own relationship wounds after a turbulent divorce, Jack’s investigation into matters of the heart takes him to hidden places no one should ever have to go.

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I loved this one. Although it is #7 in the Jack Parlabane series it is the first one I have read – in fact it’s the first Chris Brookmyre book I have ever read, despite several people telling me his books are very, very good and I should read them. The story starts and ends in a court room. In between is a great plot, full of twists and turns, that keeps you gripped right to the end.

It starts with the court listening to a recording of a telephone call reporting a possible accident. “I think I’ve just seen an accident….” says a faceless voice.

Dr Diana Jager stands accused of her husband’s murder – her husband of only a few months. She is a brilliant, career driven, surgeon but apparently not a well liked person.

The story that unfolds is told in various voices: the accused herself, witnesses in the court room, two local police officers who had attended the scene of the road accident and Jack Parlabane, an out of favour investigative journalist, hired by the victim’s sister, all providing background to what happened prior to the case coming to Court.

Some time earlier Dr Jager had been the anonymous author of a blog on the subject of Sexism in Surgery which caused a fair amount of controversy and lively comment. However after writing about hospital IT techs in a very unflattering way, and getting on the wrong side of them, her real name and place of work was leaked and worse, from that, some of the colleagues she had been writing about were also identified and their lives picked apart online. She was forced to resign from a prestigious post and take up employment in a smaller hospital in Inverness.

With this background in mind, it was very surprising that she encountered Peter Elphinstone, an IT tech at work, found they had lots in common, immediately fell in love, and within a very short time the embittered and career driven surgeon was married.

It soon becomes apparent that the honeymoon period is at an end, or perhaps never even got started.

There is an accident, a car is found in the river and is identified as belonging to Peter Elphinstone the husband of Dr Diana Jager. There was no body in the car but there are signs that the driver managed to get out but presumably got caught up in the strong current.

Peter’s sister, Lucy, asks Jack Parlabane for help shortly after the car is found. She is distressed and is looking for closure. He is having his own problems but decides to investigate.

The author cleverly feeds us little bits of information throughout, creating doubt. Is Diana Jager a psychopath? Is Peter hiding something? Who is the real victim? The two police officers who attended the scene feel something isn’t quite right but can’t quite get their superiors to listen. Lucy, the sister, has doubts about her brother’s marriage and thought he was unhappy and in trouble. Parlabane is sufficiently interested to take on the investigation.

The twists and turns in the story lead to family secrets, lies, hidden pasts, shady dealings with gangsters, online services, etc

I was kept guessing right to the end and it was one of these books that keep you reading into the ‘wee small hours’.

Great characters and a complex but never confusing plot. I loved it.

[Thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for providing me with a digital copy of this book]

Black Widow is available now in the UK.

Authors website:  www.brookmyre.co.uk

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