Want You Gone BY CHRIS BROOKMYRE
BY CHRIS BROOKMYRE (LITTLE, BROWN) OUT 20 APRIL
“You’ll learn how to do some very illegal things as well as being entertained”
When Jack Parlabane began his mayhem-filled journalism career more than 20 years ago in Christopher Brookmyre’s debut novel Quite Ugly One Morning, he seemed to be made of Teflon, bounding cheerfully from one disaster to another with no emotional ill-effects.
But in the most recent novels, the character has gained more depth. Middle-aged and divorced, his disdain for the niceties of the law when in pursuit of a juicy story has made him persona non grata in the new world of journalism postLeveson. As Brookmyre puts it, in typically salty fashion, “Parlabane knows what it is to have everyone believe you’re the worst of the worst, a bottomfeeding sleazebag low enough to rim a rattlesnake.” And having tasted failure, Jack has become more reflective, less likely to charge blindly into trouble. Instead, trouble now has to come to him.
Dinosaur he may be but Jack’s talent for sniffing out scoops is still second to none, and Want You Gone, the eighth Parlabane novel in the series, begins with him lucking out for once when he’s headhunted by the crowdfunded sexy-but-serious news site Broadwave. He soon finds himself with a cushy new job and a comely young boss with a thing for older men.
Of course, fate is waiting round the corner with a sandbag and a nasty grin. Brookmyre fans will know that Jack has done some highly criminal things over the years in the pursuit of truth and justice with the help of a brilliant computer hacker known to him only as “Buzzkill.” Now Buzzkill is in need of protection from some dangerous enemies, and threatens to expose Jack’s back catalogue of dodgy activities unless he does exactly what he’s told — which involves putting his life and career on the line.
Brookmyre knows his way around hardware, whether it be weapons or computers, and his authoritative depiction of the technical intricacies of computer hacking is by turns fascinating and bewildering: this is a man who knows what he’s talking about even if his readers don’t. It is curiously comforting, however, to discover that successful hackers need to be masters of good oldfashioned one-on-one conartistry as well as technical know-how to succeed.
Readers will learn a lot about how to do some very illegal things from this novel, as well as being excited and entertained: Brookmyre is as good as he ever was at puncturing pomposity and hypocrisy. And behind the jokes and thrills, there are glimpses of real heart.