Friday, November 24, 2017

Chris Brookmyre

Chris Brookmyre is the author of twenty crime and science fiction novels, including Black Widow, winner of the 2016 McIlvanney Prize. His work has been adapted for television, radio, the stage and in the case of Bedlam, an FPS videogame.

His new novel is Places in the Darkness.

Recently I asked Brookmyre about what he was reading. His reply:
Denise Mina’s The Long Drop won the 2017 McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year, and deservedly so. Based on the true story of mass-murderer Peter Manuel, who killed whole families in their homes in 1950s Glasgow, this book is like reaching into a wound in the city’s soul. It is a speculative account of Manuel’s inexplicable drinking odyssey around Glasgow one night in the company of a man whose family he killed, and whose own innocence comes increasingly into question. This is a novel so visceral you can smell the cigarette smoke, an amazing snapshot of a toxic male culture and an unflinching portrait of a sociopath’s self-delusion.

Mark Billingham’s Love Like Blood allies the author’s gift for compelling narrative and complex investigative detail with a burning, passionate anger over his subject. Billingham’s recurring detective Tom Thorne investigates a series of honour killings, which are among the most under-reported crimes in the UK. The book delves deep into the cultural and religious motivations behind a particularly disgusting kind of murder, though its protagonist ultimately despairs of ever understanding why people would kill their own children merely to satisfy a sense of ideological propriety. It is a book that will leave you shaking with rage long after the thrill of the chase has faded.

Mick Herron’s Spook Street is the fourth in his superb Slough House series, about the place where British intelligence service wash-outs are sent in the hope that they will resign rather than be fired, and where they become the playthings of the magnificently monstrous Jackson Lamb. Spook Street is disturbingly prescient in dealing with a suicide bombing in London, and even more worrying in its depiction of the covert manoeuvrings and hidden agendas played out by the intelligence services before and after such an atrocity.

Having a teenage son and consequently being exposed to far more heavy metal than I ever envisaged, reading Andrew O’Neill’s A History of Heavy Metal has been strangely therapeutic. It is a relentlessly energetic and frequently hilarious account of the development of this maligned but indefatigably enduring music genre, one I admittedly  enjoy reading about far more than listening to.
Visit Chris Brookmyre's website.

--Marshal Zeringue