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Attack Of The Unsinkable Rubber Ducks (Jack Parlabane #5)

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,627 ratings  ·  91 reviews
Do you believe in ghosts? Do we really live on in some conscious form after we die, capable of communicating with the world of the living?

Aye, right.

That was Jack Parlabane's stance on the matter, anyway. But this was before he found himself in the more compromising position of being not only dead himself, but dead with an exclusive still to file.

From his position on high,
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 10th 2007 by Little, Brown & Company
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Community Reviews

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Paul 'Pezski' Perry
A carefully spoiler-free review.

I'd been in the mood to read a fast, fun thriller for awhile, and as I had several unread Brookmyre novels on my shelf I was definitely gravitating in that direction. When I found the audiobook of Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks I was sold – even though it's the fifth of the Jack Parlabane adventures and I haven't read all the previous ones yet, I didn't expect it to be a big obstacle as they are, like most crime series', not direct follow ons in anything ot
If you write a ghost story which examines ideas of religion, spirituality and faith, and then dedicate it to Richard Dawkins and James Randi, then obviously you’re coming from a very particular place. And indeed there are long tracts of this novel which are a sceptic’s – or indeed, a cynic’s – wet dream. Some of the more outré beliefs of spiritualists, mediums and their ilk are taken out and given a right kicking, whilst religion itself – particularly Christianity – is treated to a Glasgow kiss. ...more
I was very annoyed to find out that this would be the last of the Parlabane books. That he would die and that he would be killed off by a psychic was just too much. I was going to register my protest by not reading the damn thing – I mean, who do these damn authors think they are? They create a character and then, just when you start to like them, you find out that the author has had a death wish for them all along. I blame AC Doyle – topping Holmes like that so early on in the piece was bound t ...more
Brilliant. Funny. Irreverant. Straight down the line hilarious.

Really enjoyed this book. The "hero" Jack Parlebayne is a classic, no nonsense, doesnt take crap for anyone sort of guy. This book is similar to most of Christopher Brookmyre's books - lots of back story, lots of "takin'the pish", lots of the reader thinking "WTF"....

The story always starts slowly, the author filling the pages flicking from one character, one sub-plot to another, giving you subtle glimpses of what is coming...and th
Tom Lloyd
Brookmyre on a subject that gets him angry - hard not to enjoy that really. The various first person accounts, while I see why he did it that way, didn't do a lot for me and ended up making the actual plot a little slim, but it's an entertaining story all the same from a consistently great writer.
Adrian Bowman
Surprisingly for Christopher Brookmyre, I had a little trouble starting this book. I think it might have been the subject matter of psychics. Anyway, I am so glad I persevered because Mr B you are a very bad man and I would hate to play poker against you!
Utterly enthralling and starring one of my favourite fictional characters in Jack Parlabane. I won't give anything away but if you believe in psychics or God then you might want to give this a miss or, at least, turn on your sense of humour abou

Die Journalistin Jilian Noble bringt ein Buch über ihre Erfahrungen mit dem Medium Gabriel Lafayette heraus. Bei einer zufälligen Beschwörung, bei der der Meister eher geschwächt ist und nicht mit einem Kontakt zu rechnen war, ist die Stimme der verstorbenen Frau des Millionärs Bryant Lemuel zu hören. Obwohl Jilian eigentlich nicht an diese Phänomene glaubt, bringen die Ereignisse in Glassfort Hall sie dazu ihren Glauben nochmal zu überdenken. Bryant Lemuel ist so dankbar, die Stim
This book was a bit hard to get into, the first half dragged on a bit. But the second half was a lot better and I liked the way Brookmyre demonstrated how people get lured in by psychics and religious movements.
First of all, I must admit I have never read any other books by this author and apparently this is #5 in a series. A good friend of mine left it at my house several years ago when visiting from the UK. I do believe she enjoyed it. Anyway, I finally got around to reading it...the first half was tedious, but I plodded on. It got slightly better; it was definitely funny at times. I am certain some of the humor was lost in social/pop culture references that were not familiar to me as an American. If ...more
Ian Mapp
A lot more toned down than recent efforts that strecth credulity with high body counts in siege scenarios with useless terrorists.

Parlabane is revealed as dead.... as he tells his story about the investigations into the afterlife and psychics. This is an unusual tactic.

Through a journalists serialisation we learn about the psychic layratette and his honcho Mather, as they bring a business men in touch with his dead wife in a realistic seance.

But all is not as it seems. Through the journalist, pa
Moray Barclay
This is another full frontal assult, in a good way. Where to begin? Not content with his mastery of shifting time using flashbacks and fast-forwards, in his latest novel Christopher Brookmyre tries out voice-shifting: in fact he has four characters speaking in the first person. Despite this, or maybe because of it, the plot rips along. The "Unsinkable Rubber Ducks" refers to the followers of spiritualists, an obvious target for Brookmyre's satirical style, but this plot also requires him to get ...more
I have to admit: if this hadn't been Brookmyre, I possibly wouldn't have stuck with it. It didn't hit its stride until about half way through then I soon started getting bored again, until with about 100 pages to go, I was desperate to start my next book. Not a good sign.

I brightened up considerably when I read:

"Luckily I knew a guy who owned a recording studio and who was something of an adept when it came to matters of electronic engineering. I say 'adept' where people generally tend to use th
Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks = ((woo-woo + science) x Parlabane) ^ scepticism.

I was dreading reading this book. Not because i didn't want to read it, but because once i had read it, there would be no more Parlabane to read!

I was advised not to read the back cover (quite the challenge for me; i'm also known to skip ahead and skim pages), but what the back cover spoilt was revealed very early on in the book. Apparently this really was the last Parlabane. I adamantly refused to believe it,
Ketan Shah
Christopher Brookmyre writes a ripping good mystery story based around the issue of paranormal investigation. Famed psychic,Gabriel Lafayette performs incredible feats of mind reading and clairvoyance while locked down in lab conditions.But are they real ? It's up to journalist,cynic and sometimes jerk,Jack Parlabane, to find out.From beyond the grave ....There's some great discussions here about the nature of faith and why people want so much to believe in the paranormal.There's also a lot of g ...more
Andrew Pearse
Sep 20, 2007 Andrew Pearse rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: everyone
Shelves: readthesemofos
I like the way you start with each character's perspective on more or less the same events with each chapter. It's a bit different from the way most authors write but it works well, particularly with this book's themes which are all about perception and how you interpret the information that you are given.

The pacing of the story sucked me in gradually, the beginning was intriguing but, as the story unfolded i progressively became more involved in the book and after about halfway through i really
A book to win a skeptic's heart. This is not the funniest of the Parlabane books, but it's an absorbing thriller. It begins slowly, and if you were unfamiliar with the author - or if you hadn't taken the hint from the book's dedication to Randi and Dawkins - then you might think the author was going to come down on the side of woo. Brookmyre allows the "ducks" to present the most cogent and insidious of the arguments in favor of "keeping an open mind" when it comes to paranormal research.

An "uns
A disappointing two stars for this one, although maybe 2.5 would be more appropriate. I normally love his books, but this one just didn't work for me.

I found the style irritating and slightly confusing. It's narrated by several different characters, and jumps about too much.

Brookmyre's usual humour is still shot throughout the book, but it's too sporadic and seems a little trite in places.

The subject matter is interesting, but I found it too tied up with jargon and scientific citations, and as
This was absolutely the best mystery novel, and one of the best stories, that I have read in ages. A complicated tale of psychics (who may or may not be scammers), skeptics, cynics, and science geeks told from a blend of 5 characters' POVs. The creativity of the narrative structure along is worth the price of admission, and the characters themselves were fantastically well drawn. The plotting was complex and full of blind alleys and double-bluffs, just like any good caper story should be.
Extra p
If you are Christopher Brookmyre you can surely risk losing your reader in the first few pages, and as someone who's first book of his definitely did not resonate, this might have lost me, because the tone of Jillian Noble's opening piece did not excite, and was not Parlabane.
However, once again I finished up believing that while there were writers as fiendishly clever at plotting around, I'm wasting my time trying, because this all finished up as neat and intricate as one could hope (but never
I've read a lot of Christopher Brookmyre, and enjoyed them all. The first couple of chapters of this book had me wondering if this was the one that was going to disappoint me. The tone was too conversational, the setting of the scene just seemed a bit weak. It picked up after that though, and it wasn't long before I was invested in the story and hooked.

I liked all the twists and turns in this book, I loved the mystery - mystery solved - new mystery cycles it went through, and was satisfied with
Jonathan Hutchins
Wonderful stuff yet again from Brookmyre. As with the theological speculations underpinning the adolescent shenanigans and zestful slaughter of 'Pandaemonium', there's serious intellectual and moral issues beneath this tale of murderous psychic fakery. Fake medium and a fake investigator join forces to con not only a university but potentially a country, leaving a trail of corpses in their wake, but not necessarily the corpses you'd expect from some of the first-person narratives. Oh and Jehovah ...more
Robert Bevan
I wanted to like this book. I like Christopher Brookmyre, and I'm part of the choir that he's preaching to, but that's one part of the problem I had with it. It felt preachy.

That wasn't all bad. The book shed some light on the methods that "psychics" use to scam people out of their money. So it was kind of educational I guess. But the whole book felt kind of like a platform for Brookmyre to rant about psychics and religion.

And then the ending... I won't spoil it, but I'll just say it absolutel

I've read Unsinkables once before, but am currently reading through all Brookmyre 's books in chronological order. All I would say is that having read it previously may take away some of the surprise element, but it certainly bears a second read. Knowing how the plot unfolds gave me a sense of how the character Moira may feel - being wise to 'how it was done' helped me to see how cleverly the author chooses his words throughout.

Most of Brookmyre's books leave me with a slight sense of running
Jay Tate
Luckily, I read this Parlabane mystery first. I just grabbed it off the shelf and loved every second of it.

Smart, sneaky, funny.

It helps to understand Scotland a bit. But even without that, you'll do fine.
Antonia Mochan
A bad Brookmyre is better than most other authors and after a bit of a dip in the early 2000s, this book saw a return to form. It deals with psychics and after-life phenomena with typical CB caustic wit.
When I first started this book, I thought Brookmyre was slipping. I was not enjoying it, and I was not happy about a certain direction in which he'd taken his main character. Turns out, that bastard was fooling me all the time like the "psychics" in the book and hiding a delicious novel inside what looked to be a completely different book. Basically, after reading the book, I feel like punching Brookmyre in the face, then kissing him.

That said, the character of Michael seemed inconsistent and Ma
Feb 17, 2015 Kenneth marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
I registered a book at!
This one was a complete surprise. We picked this up during one of our lets-pick-up-books-by-authors-we-haven't-read-yet trips to the book store. And it was very, very good.

Attack.. is about a man, Jack Parlabane, who doesn't believe in life after death. He encounters several instances where he is called to question this belief, but he remains a skeptic untill..

I thought that the book's narrative style was quite interesting and I don't want to delve deeper into it, because for me part of apprecia
OK, I cheated a little bit. We listened to this as an audiobook. But it was unabridged. This is Brookmyre's third book. I'm sorry I didn't get the second one read in between, because it makes several references to some things that happened in that one. This one is a bit different than the others I've read, in that it has less action, practically no gore and his sense of humor only shows sporadically. It is a very engaging psychological thriller. It will make you think a lot about your perception ...more
Gemma Williams
I loved this book! It was hilarious and had a very exciting and involving plot. I loved how angry Brookmyre is with these awful, hideous people who pretend to be psychics, and with the 'unsinkable rubber ducks' who keep on believing in them. A furious plea for intelligence and clarity of thought, funny, bold and gripping. Also very spot on in his parody of our old favourite, The Daily Hate and Fear ( aka Mail). I demand everybody read it. And if anyone got it for a christmas present they should ...more
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Christopher Brookmyre is a Scottish novelist whose novels mix politics, social comment and action with a strong narrative. He has been referred to as a Tartan Noir author. His debut novel was Quite Ugly One Morning, and subsequent works have included One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night, which he said "was just the sort of book he needed to write before he turned 30", and All Fun and Games unti ...more
More about Christopher Brookmyre...

Other Books in the Series

Jack Parlabane (6 books)
  • Quite Ugly One Morning (Jack Parlabane, #1)
  • Country Of The Blind (Jack Parlabane, #2)
  • Boiling a Frog
  • Be My Enemy, Or, Fuck This for a Game of Soldiers
  • Dead Girl Walking
Quite Ugly One Morning (Jack Parlabane, #1) A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night The Sacred Art of Stealing All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses an Eye

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