A Snowball In Hell (Angelique De Xavier series Book 3)


We read this novel from behind the eyes of about three of the characters in turn. Best of all is that Brookmyre sets up a series of things that we know have to happen in this book. You know the sorts of things — boy must get girl, those needing to be rescued need to be rescued, good needs to prevail; all that sort of thing. But given we know all of these things must happen in no way makes the impossibility of any of them seeming to be able to happen ever at all less likely during the book. This guy knows how to plot a story. Fortunately, he is always in control. You should have your audience by the throat from as early as you can, page one if you can manage it.

Follow the first climax with another, involving someone completely different. Make incredibly nasty things happen to your nicest characters. Give them gaols and hopes and desires and then piss all over them. Make every single character count. Every thread needs to weave into the tapestry. If you create a question in the book, make sure of two things, the question is answered in a way that your reader would not be able to guess beforehand — the answer is better than the reader would have guessed before hand.

Only take your foot off the accelerator pedal to shift into a gear that allows you to add more speed. The thing is that I knew he was going to have me twisting and turning throughout this book, I even knew where this all had to end up — but even knowing both of these things I was still guessing the whole way through and never once did I feel cheated and never once did I know where he was going to twist me. This book is about punishing people that I normally would rejoice in seeing brought low, humiliated, and shown to be hypocrites. But Brookmyre even turns this into an interesting mirror.

And not one I particularly enjoyed seeing myself looking into. What can I say? I lived through it — which is more than can be said for many of the characters. This is not for the faint-hearted, nor for anyone offended by strong language or rather strong sexual content and violence. Normally, the sex and violence would be enough to put me off — but he handles this stuff so well and his plotting is so good Hitchcock in North By North-West good that I can forgive him anything and everything.

View all 5 comments. Crime novels hailing from the Northern Tier seem to take on the stereotypical national qualities of their places of origin. The Scandinoir a term I'm desperately trying to push into the mainstream I've read tends to feature grimly dysfunctional protagonists, tons of self-generated angst and lots of windswept gray seas -- just what you'd expect from the lands that brought us Strindberg and Ibsen.

Tartan Noir, on the other hand, seems to revel in its own bad behavior; protagonists and antagonist Crime novels hailing from the Northern Tier seem to take on the stereotypical national qualities of their places of origin. Tartan Noir, on the other hand, seems to revel in its own bad behavior; protagonists and antagonists alike have rougher edges, dirtier mouths, bigger chips on their shoulders, and more developed senses of humor though it's usually pretty dark , as befits a nation that's spent most of the past two millennia fighting against and usually losing to its southern neighbor.

Take A Snow Ball in Hell , for instance. Simon Darcourt -- a high-functioning psychopath recently made redundant from his job as freelance terrorist by the influx of so many other psychopaths willing to work for free -- has decided to better the state of British civilization by killing B-list "celebrities" in wholesale lots. He stages made-for-reality-snuff-TV extravaganzas around his exploits and dares the British public to look away, which, of course, it doesn't.

The confounded police bring in mixed-race, terrorist-hunting Glasgow cop Angelique de Xavia to try to track down Darcourt again. Yes, again; she's done it before in an operation that ended in Darcourt's supposed death. As it turns out, she's not the only one hunting Darcourt, nor is he the only one she's hunting, and the hunters are hunting the other hunters as much as they're trying to flush out Darcourt.

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An ardent supporter St Mirren FC in the Scottish league, Brookmyre is married to an anesthetist and has a son with her. A really brilliant ending. Smart, witty and ballsy, she is a really fascinating character, particularly once the wond A hugely thrilling climax to an epic trilogy. But given we know all of these things must happen in no way makes the impossibility of any of them seeming to be able to happen ever at all less likely during the book. The first follows the ludicrous, almost infantile but utterly hilarious, adventures of Jack Parlabane. Christopher Brookmyre is a Scottish novelist whose novels mix politics, social comment and action with a strong narrative. Hoping for a fresh start, an English family moves to the remote Shetland islands, eager to give their autistic son a better life.

Hilarity and lots of corpses ensue. As he did in Where the Bodies Are Buried , the author's able to present a credible and affecting inner life for his main female character, a "wee dark lassie" who's turned into a crack undercover investigator at the cost of her soul. Zal's a charismatic baddish boy who fell hard for Angelique during their last run-in and she for him and is tortured by his simultaneous needs to be with her and to stay away from her; he's a gifted magician who monetized his skills through performance-art robberies of large banks that were more crooked than the people robbing them.

But the author's affection is clearly for Darcourt, whose first-person rants are so insane they make perfect sense, and whose outrage at the squalid tabloid-fueled manufacturing of disposable celebrity is so heartfelt you'll find yourself wondering why he doesn't exist in the real world. His first-chapter self-introduction is a tour de force of attitude, characterization and bravado.

The plot looks like a ball of yarn after a pack of kittens has had its way with it, which is part of the fun. You know the author's taking you somewhere, though God knows where; the tangles and switchbacks and triple-crosses are entertaining as you run across them, even though you'll lose track of who's doing what to whom a few pages later. Darcourt's plots and setups are so elaborate -- scams covering up other scams, backup plans multiple layers deep -- they remind me more of Mission: Impossible than anything that would happen in the real world, and he's not the only one.

Everybody's playing three-dimensional chess in this one. This over-cleverness, paired with the over-tidiness of its ending, is one of the reasons I knocked off the better part of a star from my rating. The roller coaster's fun, but some way through I stopped believing any of it was real and just went along for the ride. As mentioned, Brookmyre is Scottish and so are his characters, and they speak that way. You won't need subtitles, though an occasional Google lookup might be in order.

A more important cultural issue one that helped knock off that fifth star: Characters name-drop relentlessly, assuming you know what they're talking about. I imagine that Darcourt's victims are tweaked versions of real D-listers that I'd totally recognize had only I been following the Daily Mail for the past decade. You say you open the Sun only for the Page 3 girl? Oh, dear; I'm afraid the jokes will fly right over your wee haid.

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This is book three of a trilogy, a fact the book doesn't trumpet. I just thought the characters had unusually detailed see: A Snow Ball in Hell is a fun, twisty, profane, hyper-attitudinal story that will keep you well-entertained while not hiding the fact that the author's messing with you throughout. If you've ever thrown things at your TV during X Factor , you'll love the premise.

Just put your disbelief in a locked closet while you're reading and revel in the knowledge that this novel could never be set in Oslo. May 18, Deanne rated it really liked it Shelves: Fast paced, sarcastic wit and a great heroine, a few twists and turns and the return of Zal.

Publication Order of Angelique De Xavier Books

Took my time reading it because I didn't want to devour it in one go and then sit starring at the bookcase. May 24, Rishi Prakash rated it it was amazing. This is a different kind of book in every which way- right from the language to the plot to the way of setting things up- which will slowly grow on you as the story progresses. I could not relate to it in the beginning and even thought if it was a wrong pick but all doubts disappeared after initial 50 odd pages!

The Scottish author is brilliant. You can't help but be struck by how intelligent his arguments, and compelling his justifications are as you get immersed in the story. Amazingly he is a This is a different kind of book in every which way- right from the language to the plot to the way of setting things up- which will slowly grow on you as the story progresses. Amazingly he is able to use this highly amoral character to brilliantly satirize our obsession with celebrity and fame which is the basic premise of the story.

This author needs to be read and talked for sure! Sep 11, Helen rated it it was amazing Shelves: Ladies and gentlemen, roll up! Are you sick of reality tv? Simon Darcourt is, and his response to it is certainly turning and in some cases, removing heads. Darcourt, aka the Black Spirit, is a hired assassin who has been keeping a low profile ever since the spectacular failure of his last job.

But now he's decided to come out of retirement, and with the help of the Internet, is creating quite a First line: But now he's decided to come out of retirement, and with the help of the Internet, is creating quite a stir with his very own reality show, one that his celebrity contestants are literally dying to be part of.

With the body count rising, the police call in Detective Angelique de Xavia, formerly a Glasgow police officer who is now working with an anti-terrorism task force based in Paris. Angelique has crossed paths with Darcourt before and knows how dangerous he is. She also knows that if she is going to stop him, she is going to need help — the special kind of help only her old lover Zal Innez, bank robber and magician, can provide. But first she has to find him, and then keep him from being arrested. Although it takes a while to set up all the characters and bring them together, the complex and pacy plot makes this darkly comic book a real page turner.

This is Brookmyre in full rant mode and his amusing diatribes on celebrity and media struck a chord with me. While reading this, I did start to wonder what sort of person Brookmyre had turned me into, as I at times found myself rather guiltily cheering on Darcourt and laughing at some very gruesome, albeit imaginative, murders! Apr 17, Rachel rated it it was amazing Shelves: And because they're great. So here's the disclaimer -- they all contain disturbing images and some extreme violence, so not for the faint of heart or stomach.

But they're all amazingly funny and sharp, and this one was really, um, wow. I think I'll go read it again now. Except that it's like a ma Wow. Except that it's like a magician's trick -- once you know how it's done, you can't look at the trick the same way again.

Oh, um, Simon Darcourt comes back from the "dead", crazier than ever, Angelique is tapped to stop him, and she gets in such an awful situation that she decides to track down Zal, who has demonstrated yet again the Sacred Art of Leaving, to help her find her way out. Did I say wow? I'll never look at pop celebrities the same way again. Sep 17, Jamie Collins rated it it was ok Shelves: Not one of my favorite Brookmyre novels.

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I dislike inflammatory political commentators, reality television and celebrity culture as much as the next person, and the elaborately vengeful scenarios depicted in the book might h Not one of my favorite Brookmyre novels. The fantasy goes too far for me to enjoy it. To counterbalance the nasty elements of the book, the author revives the love story between Angelique de Xavia and Zal Innez.

Brookmyre can do heartwarming pretty well, too. The action of the grand finale is twisty and exciting, as usual. Jun 12, Barbara rated it really liked it. Funny, as per usual. It's a brilliant book when you don't know what's going to happen.

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Probably won't include it in my next Brookmyre re-reading spree though, because with the deception gone and plot twist anticipated as I was reading it second time I found myself little tired of the ever-present ranting tone and seriously wished that someone shut Simon the hell up earlier I probably wished the same last time, just with the mystery awaiting I'd made through his chapters faster or so it'd seeme Funny, as per usual. Probably won't include it in my next Brookmyre re-reading spree though, because with the deception gone and plot twist anticipated as I was reading it second time I found myself little tired of the ever-present ranting tone and seriously wished that someone shut Simon the hell up earlier I probably wished the same last time, just with the mystery awaiting I'd made through his chapters faster or so it'd seemed.

Still had fun, though, Angelique is an awesome character for one thing, and I enjoyed her perspective immensely. It was great to see Zal again, too, and their storyline was nicely played. Also, it was quite enjoyable to all those moments when you could get cheated and to know how they'd play out.

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Oct 02, Shihab Azhar rated it it was amazing. Almost 10 years ago, a random jaunt through a bookstore allowed me to discover The Sacred Art of Stealing, a book I took great pleasure in, and allowed me to meet Zal Innez and Angelique de Xavia. I promptly fell in love with Christopher Brookmyre's fiction and writing which, if you have read any of my reviews of his books, you already know. So it is such a wonderful pleasure to revisit their world, find two of fiction's most likeable characters still adrift as they were at the beginning and e Almost 10 years ago, a random jaunt through a bookstore allowed me to discover The Sacred Art of Stealing, a book I took great pleasure in, and allowed me to meet Zal Innez and Angelique de Xavia.

So it is such a wonderful pleasure to revisit their world, find two of fiction's most likeable characters still adrift as they were at the beginning and end of Sacred Art of Stealing, and follow their tremulous journey through yet another wild ride. Really makes me wish I had my copy of Sacred Art of Stealing with me, so I could reread that wonderful treasure while I savor the glow from this one. A hugely thrilling climax to an epic trilogy. This book brings back all of the characters from the previous two books in one incredible climax.

Simon Darcourt is back with a vengeance and his schemes are even more twisted and elaborate than ever before. There were times where I had no idea how Brookmyre had even begun to imagine them. Angelique is brought in to stop Darcourt and she is as brilliant as ever. Smart, witty and ballsy, she is a really fascinating character, particularly once the wond A hugely thrilling climax to an epic trilogy. Smart, witty and ballsy, she is a really fascinating character, particularly once the wonderful and my favourite character Zal is brought back in. Brookmyre takes you on a huge ride with barely any time to catch your breath, and weaves the plot wonderfully between the main characters.

There are twists along that way that I did not see coming. A really brilliant ending. Sep 13, Lisa rated it really liked it. Christopher Brookmyre is a genius. I think society should be grateful that he decided to become an author rather than a criminal mastermind! I'm sure he could succeed as the later if he really wanted to. So much thought must go into ontemplating how to pull off the perfect crime s. In this novel which is a sequel to "A Big boy did it and ran away" and I think also "The sacred art of stealing" reality Tv stars and anyone else who offends the perps sense of taste are being kidnapped and killed Christopher Brookmyre is a genius.

In this novel which is a sequel to "A Big boy did it and ran away" and I think also "The sacred art of stealing" reality Tv stars and anyone else who offends the perps sense of taste are being kidnapped and killed live on TV by an evil mastermind. It is clever and funny with lots of twists and feints - all Brookmyre traits in my opinion. I really enjoyed it. View all 3 comments. Started off really, really strong but by page I lost interest. Maybe I'll go back to it at a later date. May 09, Bill McFadyen rated it really liked it. Take a touch of celebrity tv , magic , a pinch of violence and a mix of sadism blended with a drizzle of police officers and you have this read.

I enjoy Christopher Brookmyre novels - they are funny , rude and different - and I miss a high percentage of the jokes , the twists and the messages that his work contains.

A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away

A Snowball In Hell (Angelique De Xavier series Book 3) eBook: Christopher Brookmyre: domaine-solitude.com: Kindle Store. Editorial Reviews. Review. 'Dazzling comic skills' The Times 'Sharply satirical and poignantly Book 3 of 3 in Angelique De Xavier series (3 Book Series).

May 30, E. Lamprey rated it it was amazing. Loved it loved it loved it. Sharp and harsh and screamingly funny and horrendously violent, absolutely one of my favourites. I don't even like violent books! Brookmyre books are the exception. I've read it about 3 times, the last time about 6 months ago. I'll go for that one. May 27, Sharondblk rated it liked it Shelves: Not quite as packed with action as "A Big Boy Did It" or quite as clever as "The Sacred Art of Stealing", this is a fitting final book to the series, with a bit of suspense, a bit of fun and a bit of romance.

The ending was very neat - perhaps a bit too tidy. A fitting end to a fun series. Aug 28, Gill rated it really liked it. Brookmyre rips into the cult of celebrity whilst dragging us screaming down a corkscrew switchback ride of a plot. Highly enjoyable as the other two in the sequel.

  1. Hänschen klein: Thriller (German Edition).
  2. A Snowball in Hell;
  3. A Snowball in Hell!

Jun 18, C. Bella rated it it was amazing. This book is excellente and love this book. He stages made-for-reality-snuff-TV extravaganzas around his exploits and dares the British public to look away, which, of course, it doesn't. The confounded police bring in mixed-race, terrorist-hunting Glasgow cop Angelique de Xavia to try to track down Darcourt again. Yes, again; she's done it before in an operation that ended in Darcourt's supposed death.

As it turns out, she's not the only one hunting Darcourt, nor is he the only one she's hunting, and the hunters are hunting the other hunters as much as they're trying to flush out Darcourt. Hilarity and lots of corpses ensue. As he did in Where the Bodies Are Buried , the author's able to present a credible and affecting inner life for his main female character, a "wee dark lassie" who's turned into a crack undercover investigator at the cost of her soul.

Zal's a charismatic baddish boy who fell hard for Angelique during their last run-in and she for him and is tortured by his simultaneous needs to be with her and to stay away from her; he's a gifted magician who monetized his skills through performance-art robberies of large banks that were more crooked than the people robbing them. But the author's affection is clearly for Darcourt, whose first-person rants are so insane they make perfect sense, and whose outrage at the squalid tabloid-fueled manufacturing of disposable celebrity is so heartfelt you'll find yourself wondering why he doesn't exist in the real world.

His first-chapter self-introduction is a tour de force of attitude, characterization and bravado. The plot looks like a ball of yarn after a pack of kittens has had its way with it, which is part of the fun. You know the author's taking you somewhere, though God knows where; the tangles and switchbacks and triple-crosses are entertaining as you run across them, even though you'll lose track of who's doing what to whom a few pages later.

Darcourt's plots and setups are so elaborate -- scams covering up other scams, backup plans multiple layers deep -- they remind me more of Mission: Impossible than anything that would happen in the real world, and he's not the only one. Everybody's playing three-dimensional chess in this one. This over-cleverness, paired with the over-tidiness of its ending, is one of the reasons I knocked off the better part of a star from my rating. The roller coaster's fun, but some way through I stopped believing any of it was real and just went along for the ride.

As mentioned, Brookmyre is Scottish and so are his characters, and they speak that way. You won't need subtitles, though an occasional Google lookup might be in order. A more important cultural issue one that helped knock off that fifth star: Characters name-drop relentlessly, assuming you know what they're talking about. I imagine that Darcourt's victims are tweaked versions of real D-listers that I'd totally recognize had only I been following the Daily Mail for the past decade.

You say you open the Sun only for the Page 3 girl? Oh, dear; I'm afraid the jokes will fly right over your wee haid. This is book three of a trilogy, a fact the book doesn't trumpet. I just thought the characters had unusually detailed see: A Snow Ball in Hell is a fun, twisty, profane, hyper-attitudinal story that will keep you well-entertained while not hiding the fact that the author's messing with you throughout.

If you've ever thrown things at your TV during X Factor, you'll love the premise. Just put your disbelief in a locked closet while you're reading and revel in the knowledge that this novel could never be set in Oslo. Once upon a time, I was having a pint of IPA with a professor of law, who also happened to have served as a QC and a judge before he retired.

As both of us were avid fans of the crime fiction genre, I mentioned to him that I was beginning to run out of authors I really took to: He promptly suggested Christopher Brookmyre, but qualified this by saying that 'You might find his imagination a tad twisted, but after what I've had to listen to in my time, Brookmyre sounds disturbingly normal. Maybe it's something about having been a resident of Glasgow that sends the synapses sparking in all sorts of contorted and deranged directions, but, Brookmyre's imagery, ingenuity, insight and acuity are second to none.

Furthermore, you must pay attention to the detail. Basically, he has three threads to his works. The first follows the ludicrous, almost infantile but utterly hilarious, adventures of Jack Parlabane. Then, finally, the really serious stuff in his trilogy covering the accidental private investigator Jasmine Sharp in her random quest to find out where she came from, with a bit of assistance from a Fallen Angel.

Angelique De Xavier Series

Brookmyre is nothing short of brilliant, especially with his Jasmine Sharp trilogy which really ought to be read in sequence to get the full gist. When the Devil Drives', and, best of all, 3: He is also the kind of individual who wears his politics up, down and all around his sleeves. Miss him at your peril. This is the first Brookmyre book I've read, or to be precise, listened to as it was the audio version since we're on a 2-wk road trip. I may be a wee bit prejudiced in his favor as I'm married to a Glaswegian, enjoy writers like Carl Hiasson, Douglas Adams, Ian Banks, and Christopher Moore, none of whom Brookmyre is exactly like, and yet I thought of all of them as I listened.

Aside from being a well-told and fast-paced story, the characters were engaging, both the good and evil, the best part being that none were stereotypical prototypes but rather multi-faceted and believable. The good guys were rogues, the bad guys had the odd redeeming quality, and everyone, for the most part, was either intentionally or otherwise funny. In fact, the villian read: I've heard that some readers are offended by the quantity of profanity in his novels.

To that, I can only say, "Go spend a bit of time in Glasgow," where it's the few people who don't swear that sound odd. Had he even attempted to write this story without the prolific colorful language not really an option , it would have fallen entirely flat. See all 9 reviews. Most recent customer reviews. Published on April 29, Published on January 24, What's not to like?

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