A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away
The first novel by Christopher Brookmyre to feature Fair Cop Angelique de Xavia as the heroine, it also suffered from 9/11-related bad timing for its original strapline "Terrorism is the new Rock'n'Roll". Moving on...
Raymond Ash is a 30-something former indie musician and game-store entrepreneur, now making a living as an English teacher, a task made no easier by his pupils or the colicky new baby that constantly gets between him, his partner, and sleep. And then one day he sees a face from the past that can't possibly be there. And then It Got Worse.
Angelique de Xavia is a short, short-tempered, ethnic minority Glaswegian policewoman who finds herself on the trail of a bigger target than she'd expected - and with about as much backing up and support as you'd expect under her circumstances.
And then it all comes together, and to a head.
- Break the Motivational Speaker: And how!
- Bratty Half-Pint: Pretty much all of Ray's students.
- Cassandra Truth: Ray.
- Chew Toy: Ray.
- Deadpan Snarker: Angelique and Div.
- Everyone Went to School Together: Sort of. College, anyway.
- Fair Cop: Angelique
- Faking the Dead
- Fire-Forged Friends: Ray and Angelique.
- Freudian Excuse
- I Just Want to Be Special: Several characters, with Angelique the main exception and Simon as Exhibit A.
- It Got Worse: For just about everyone, but especially the protagonists.
- It's All About Me: Simon Darcourt all the way. He always wants his own way and cannot bear it if he is not the center of attention at all times. One of his early targets found out the hard way that taking credit for his work is a very bad idea.
- Loser Gets the Girl
- Meaningful Name: Rank Bajin. Which is also punny.
- The Nicknamer: Simon, a malign version.
- Obfuscating Stupidity: Div.
- Old Shame: Someone went to a lot of trouble to hide his Queen records...
- Paedo Hunt
- Psycho for Hire: The Dark Spirit.
- Rival Turned Evil
- Sociopathic Hero: What "The Dark Spirit" thinks he is. Angelique has another theory: "He's a total wanker".
- Shout-Out: Simon Darcourt is named after a character in Canadian author Robertson Davies' Cornish trilogy - though he does not resemble him much. At all. In any way.
- International arms dealer Shaloub "On a sunny day like this, however, you can call me Shub" N'gurath is a Quake shout out--as well as The Cthulhu Mythos.
- Simon's assumed name for his assignment, Gordon Freeman, is a shout out to Half-Life, as is the name of the power station the climax takes place in, Dubh Ardrain, which is (roughly) the Scots Gaelic for Black Mesa.
- Also Half-Life, the SAS Captain is one Adrian Shepard.
- Too Soon: See above.
- In fairness, reviewers loved the book in its hardback edition, which was released comfortably pre-9/11. The author's website has a hilarious page of reviews from before and after.
- Unfazed Everyman: Ray.
- Villain Opening Scene: The first chapter is from Simon's POV.
- Violent Glaswegian: Angelique, though more in the literal sense than the trope sense.
- "This is police brutality, ya fuckin' black bitch." "No it's not. But you call me that again and I'll show you what is."