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Be My Enemy (Jack Parlabane #4)

4.1  ·  Rating Details ·  1,800 Ratings  ·  57 Reviews
F**k this for a game of soldiers…

For investigative journalist Jack Parlabane, these are worrying times: it’s been almost three years since anyone tried to kill him and he fears he’s losing his touch. But then comes an assignment in the Scottish countryside that will more than make up for lost time …

Ultimate Motivational Leisure offer the latest in corporate outwards bounds
Published January 27th 2005 by Abacus (Little,Brown) (first published February 5th 2004)
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Outlander by Diana GabaldonMacbeth by William ShakespeareDragonfly in Amber by Diana GabaldonThe Winter Sea by Susanna KearsleyThe Last Sunset by Bob Atkinson
Books Set in Scotland
170th out of 608 books — 464 voters
Outlander by Diana GabaldonThe Viking's Apprentice by Kevin McLeodMacbeth by William ShakespeareTrainspotting by Irvine WelshThe Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
Best Scottish Fiction
179th out of 277 books — 203 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Shihab Azhar
Oct 27, 2014 Shihab Azhar rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Having read 10 books by Brookmyre in a row (the first time I read as many books by a single author in an uninterrupted row), I'm a bit drained of emotions and words right now - not because they were a chore, but because of equal parts regret and sadness that this wonderful journey is now over - akin to returning to the dudgeon of routine and home after a wonderful vacation. So apologies, first of all, that this review isn't one of my best or most eloquent.


Second, this was my first reread of t
Sep 05, 2014 Wendle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour
Be My Enemy = ((Motivational weekend + bampot politics) ^ chaos) x (Parlabane x Vale)

This is a perfect Brookmyre set up. Take a group of 'random' people—some annoying as hell, some only slightly so—add Jack Parlabane and Tim Vale. Have Parlabane's derogatory and hilarious commentary for half the book. Then throw in some bad guys and violence, slap Parlabane in an impromptu fun, dangerous and disgusting situation. Hey presto.

This book is purely for entertainment, and entertain it did. Humour, sus
Mike O'Brien
Mar 01, 2009 Mike O'Brien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Brookmyre is brilliant at using the crime genre to explore major themes. Here he looks at the human propensity to define ourselves by our enemies. He brings out all the complexities of the subject with his usual wit and an approach that is both down to earth, over the top, and surprisingly subtle - and sometimes all at the same time!
Any book that includes: a. a baddie who decapitates himself, and b. this paragraph commenting on the event, gets four stars in my book.
“Well, are you not going to give the man a round of applause?" he asked. "I mean, that was fucking amazing, didn't you think? Honestly, if you'd asked me ten minutes ago, hypothetically, if it was possible to cut your own head off, I'd have said unequivocally no. You've really got to hand it to the bloke -- though it's fair to say luck was involved. I mean, there
Jamie Collins
3.5 stars. Brookmyre is a brilliant writer, and this is a bizarre and hilarious book. Not much happens in the first half, while the second half somewhat resembles a zombie attack survival scenario.

People are frequently trying to kill the thrill-seeking reporter Jack Parlabane, only this time he's puzzled as to why they're also trying to kill everyone else in a group of seemingly unconnected people participating in a motivational team-building weekend retreat in the Scottish Highlands.

While the i
I had to carefully consider whether or not this was worthy of three stars, (which in my eyes means 'an okay book but nothing spectacular') or whether it should be downgraded to 2 stars ('edging towards complete crap but with one or two redeeming features'). In the end I opted for the latter.

I expected great things from this book and it failed to deliver in every aspect. Firstly the quality of writing is poor, leading me to be frequently confused over who was speaking or performing an action and
Ian Mapp
Dec 19, 2012 Ian Mapp rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
There was a book of his, with a group of characters set on a oil rig/leisure complex, being picked off one by one - until the good guys won.

This is the same book - set in a stately home on an outward bounds course.

Parlabane resurfaces - minus a bit of intestine following a previous mishap and is invited to review the opening weekend on a new outward bound type course where management types get the chance to play paintball. This is obviously not his cup of tea, but he is invited to check his expe
Nick Davies
I was a little bit disappointed with this overall, which surprises me. It's not to say I didn't like it - the second half was particularly good - but it didn't feel as enjoyable as previous Brookmyre novels ('One Fine Day..' and 'Where The Bodies Are Buried') I have read.

The story revolves round a group of people - including recurring characters of the author's - meeting for a company 'away day' bonding weekend type thing in the Scottish countryside. Midway through the whole shebang, the narrati
Feb 27, 2012 eggophilia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
I feel bad about giving a Chris's book two stars so I guess I have to explain. (by the way, I'm not always consistent with my starring, it's more like a spur-of-the-moment thing)

It's a fun book to read, full of action or should I say gory action? But fun nonetheless. The thing is I was a little bit lost amidst the chaos, or I just rushed through it and missed some of the juiciest part. And albeit the characters talk a lot, the plot is a little bit thin.

On the subjective side, there are two thin
Mar 23, 2009 Rachel rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Well, after the previous Parlabane book was all talk, Brookmyre took this one back to the roots of the series as a continuous gross-out fest. I would have given it four stars, except there were spots where he added gross-out bits to the plot just for the sake of sticking them in, without even remotely trying to justify them in the story. Still, sadly enough, it was a fun book, and I liked it a lot.

Jack Parlabane is invited to try out the first session of a team-building weekend out in the boonie
Lilias Bennie
Mar 19, 2011 Lilias Bennie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I prefer his alternative title for this book .. F**k this for a game of soldiers! Kinda sums it up. Anyway, Jack is back and on good form. After a few books where CB indulges in some political rants, in this one he just concentrates on giving us a good story. Unbelievable but then it wouldn't be a Brookmyre would it? Set in the middle of nowhere somewhere in Scotland, Jack is despatched by his newspaper to go and trial out a new teambuilding weekend. So off he goes in his usual cynical way. Not ...more
Rachael Hewison
Mar 07, 2016 Rachael Hewison rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
As I read my way through Brookmyre's books it's brilliant to see how many characters overlap into his other books. It was great to see Vale again in this book and he's as great as in his other.

In this novel Brookmyre takes his normal epic climax and brings it forward about 100 pages. I was surprised to find the action kicking in just under half way through and yet he managed to keep you on the edge of your toes right the way through. I loved his descriptions of the gentle warm up team building e
Alison Evans
Mar 16, 2016 Alison Evans rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is another Jack Parlabane book, although they all stand alone pretty well, so you don't have to read them in the right order. This time Jack, a journalist, is invited on a corporate bonding jolly in the wilds of Scotland, the sort of thing his cynicism would normally ensure he would avoid like the plague. There are a collection of various others all invited for the same freebie, together with the laird and the staff. Things seem to be going quite well to start with, and all the participants ...more
Jul 14, 2009 Scotchneat rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery, humour
Jack Parlabane is a seasoned journo who's had a turn in jail and gets invited to a "team building" weekend where he gets to evaluate/slag the company putting it on. Location? A recently restored Scottish castle in the middle of nowhere.

There's an odd assortment of characters also invited to the weekend, and they may have something in common. Did I mention also the paramilitaries that seem hell-bent on killing all of them?

The usual humour and social satire (he gets off some good ones on Marketeer
Jan 30, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Irreverent, hilarious, dark, Christopher Brookmyre on finest form!

Jack the Journalist has been invited on a free team building weekend - while he knows they are only after good reviews and free press he drags himself (reluctantly) along to the Scottish highlands anyway.
Chaos ensues as it soon becomes clear that someone is out to get this group - being shot at during hikes, power cuts, mysterious tampering of the mobile phones and disappearing guests ramp up the fear factor along with the fact th
Nicola Hawkes
May 11, 2013 Nicola Hawkes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is a book that never fails to make me giggle with appreciation of its black (and yes sometimes sick) humour. Sure there are little in-jokes, for example if you've not seen the film Highlander from many moons ago you might not appreciate one throw-away line, but it made me laugh out loud. The snooker table scene is easy to imagine and the after comments by Jack hysterical.
Brookmyre is easy to read and not afraid to comment.

Why haven't more been made into TV/films? Surely this would be a winn
Jan 17, 2012 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Corporate-style team-building exercise in the isolated Scottish Highlands goes wrong when it is attacked by a crowd of sword-wielding maniacs. Like an Agatha Christie story, everyone involved has dark secrets that become important. Fairly crazy stuff, with a couple of very gross-out scenes, but also some dark (and not so dark) humour to lighten (sic) the mood. Rated R18 for frequent bloody violence, coarse language and adult themes. 4/5
If I weren't the kind to finish a book once I started it, I'd have totally missed the plot. Because nothing happens in this book until about halfway through. Then it gathers steam thru spurts of brilliance. Then it goes on rat-a-tat fast, and then... hmmmm. I dunno. Quite Ugly One Morning was a real treasure - this one, nahhh. Didn't quite live up to it.
Jan 04, 2010 Debbie rated it liked it
Another book full of twists, turns, surprises and belly laughs from Christopher Brookmyre. And decapitation. A lot of decapitation [g:].

A group of cynical bleeding heart misfits find themselves on the teambuilding weekend from hell. Lots of wry satirical observations of modern corporate life and politics all told in Brookmyre's sparse yet pithy manner.

I am enjoying this Scottish writer very much.
The Cats Mother
This was gruesome but very funny, especially if you get the Scottish humour.
It's about a group of seemingly random individuals, invited to take part in an Outward Bound adventure weekend in the Scottish highlands, who discover that it's not all make-believe...
It managed the mash-up of satire and thriller very well - I'll be on the lookout for more of his books.
Jul 29, 2011 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: keeper, second-hand
My first Brookmyre. My enjoyment was definitely enhanced by Ben Elton's flaccid 'Dead Famous' being such a recent memory. This is the book Elton desperately wanted his half-arsed attempt at satire to be. Crime fiction is not my genre at all but this guy is just so brilliant with words. And he name-checks System of a Down.
Aug 13, 2008 Purple rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: You!
Shelves: crime-fiction, 5-star
This, this is where it's at!

I just love this book, along with One Fine Day In The Middle Of The Night it is my favourite of Brookmyre's novels. He is never more comfortable than when he has people held in some ridiculously unlikely hostage situation.

In fact, instead of spending time writing a review, I'm just going to go and read the book again. Sorry, but it's that good!
Feb 09, 2016 Peter rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book reads as though it is a collaboration between David Baldacci and Tom Sharp. Fast moving action with outrageous characters and outrageous humour. Hilarious and a page tuner. Quite a combination
Stuart Lutzenhiser
Sep 24, 2015 Stuart Lutzenhiser rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Very funny. Easy read, a bit of graphic violence, a bit of graphic language, a set of Scottish cliché characters in a countryside inn for a weekend of group bonding exercises. However some "nutters" have other ideas. Many dead bodies latter it all gets sorted out.
Sep 05, 2010 David rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thriller
This was my first one his books. Not terrible...but a little on the predictable side...little heavy with the cliches....good writing, character development, and plotting though. However, I wasn't grabbed by the book.
Amy Rhodes
Aug 18, 2015 Amy Rhodes rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I continue to love Brookmyre's Parlabane series...dark, almost absurdist satires but this one has less Parlabane and an insane scene of bad guys vs good guys that takes it way over the top. Start the series with earlier books; this one is a little hard to defend.
Peter Swanson
Christopher Brookmyre is sometimes billed as the UK's answer to Carl Hiaasen - probably true. However, he has not descended into self-pastiche, as Hiaasen seems to have done in the last few novels I read. Good, solid, dark humour, occasionally just that little OTT - which makes it fun.
Serena.. Sery-ously?
I mean, you really knew who to hate in those days. Now it's too muddled, so I just hate everybody in case I miss anyone out

Sì Seri, magari la prossima volta iniziamo dal primo della serie, eh? Non lamentarti poi che non capisci niente!! :D
John O'Neill
May 01, 2015 John O'Neill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Again with humour and crime drama Christopher Brookmyre thrills us with this Jack Parlabane novel. It is a laugh a minute and an excellent crime/thriller novel which you must not miss.

when the attack started I could not breath i was laughing so much.
Jan 03, 2016 Sandra rated it really liked it
I could imagine Christopher Brookmyre smiling all the way through writing this brilliant romp. He handles a number of characters so deftly and the plotting is superb, as is the description of all the action in the final scenes.
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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 (8 books)
  • Quite Ugly One Morning (Jack Parlabane, #1)
  • Country Of The Blind
  • Boiling a Frog
  • Attack Of The Unsinkable Rubber Ducks
  • Dead Girl Walking
  • Black Widow (Jack Parlabane, #7)
  • Want You Gone (Jack Parlabane, #8)

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“Well, are you not going to give the man a round of applause?" he asked. "I mean, that was fucking amazing, didn't you think? Honestly, if you'd asked me ten minutes ago, hypothetically, if it was possible to cut your own head off, I'd have said unequivocally no. You've really got to hand it to the bloke -- though it's fair to say luck was involved. I mean, there's no way he could do it again.” 31 likes
“Just because you disagreed with the Poll Tax and detested Margaret Thatcher—"
"Detest is a little inappropriate," Parlabane said. "Maybe closer to say I spent the entire Eighties wishing I was pissing on her rotting corpse.”
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