Friday, August 06, 2010


Not only do I forget to blog - or even to think - during the holiday period; I also give myself permission to read "holiday books", whether I'm in a foreign place or snatching some sunlounger moments in the back garden. This, chums, is such a book - and boy, did I enjoy it. Christopher Brookmyre writes the kind of stuff that I used to suggest to non-reading chaps in S5, and the author apparently once chastised my no. 1 son for letting his mother read his first oeuvre. But I have to confess to the inner tomboy, the one that climbed trees and ran wild all summer, and she (the I.T.) loved Pandaemonium in the way I remember from my childhood: carrying the book around with me, reading it on the ferry and in the hairdresser's, putting it reluctantly aside at 1am in the knowledge that I was about to read myself out of any desire to sleep.

It's a crazy story, of course, with supernatural elements juxtaposed with the more usual Brookmyre fare of stroppy Glasgow kids and a challenging environment, in this case somewhere beyond Inveraray. There's a horrific incident involving a burning bus, a crash, and a deer on the roof - but that's just to introduce the various kids as they head for a weekend of bonding and debriefing after a fatal stabbing in their school. The real horror comes from a parallel tale of an underground facility and a top-secret military experiment, long since out of control - and in the same area as the base for the bonding weekend.

The language is foul, the descriptions gory, and the discussions among the staff about the nature of belief surprisingly serious and interesting. The tension builds beautifully - perhaps hideously might be a better word - and the climax is unexpected. I didn't expect it anyway. I just enjoyed it.

At this rate I'll never read a serious book again.

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