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A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away (Angelique De Xavier #1)

4.01  ·  Rating Details ·  3,313 Ratings  ·  108 Reviews
Real Life blows. Just ask Raymond Ash. As a student, he and his friend Simon thought their futures would be paved with gold discs, gigs and groupies. Instead he’s found himself in his thirties, a nervous new father and an even more nervous new English teacher, facing the fact that responsibility has no escape key.

Small wonder that he takes refuge living a virtual existence
Paperback, 502 pages
Published 2003 by Abacus (first published 2001)
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Sep 11, 2013 Eric rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Any of you who may be considering reading a number of Brookmyre's books should appreciate knowing what order in which to read them, since characters recur and previous incidents often play a big part in what's currently going on. Let me save you some trouble. For the Angelique de Xavier series you need to read this one first, then "The Sacred Art of Stealing", then "A Snowball in Hell". This one not only sets up Angelique, but also gives all the background you need on arch-villain Simon Darcourt ...more
Nov 13, 2011 Richard rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Richard by: Trevor McCandless
Shelves: fiction
I love ILL. Never heard of it? It stands for "Inter-Library Loan", and it comes to the rescue when a library doesn't have a book, and seeks to borrow it from another library. Most library patrons don't even know such a program exists.

My local library is the big-city San Francisco Public Library, which does indeed have a few of Christopher Brookmyre's books, but not the Trevor McCandless-aprroved A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away . So I turned to ILL, and asked for the book anyway back on July 5th.
Shihab Azhar
Jun 08, 2012 Shihab Azhar rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

Although The Sacred Art of Stealing will always remain my favorite Brookmyre book, this book, as a prequel of sorts, is equally fantastic. Brookmyre knows how to write - he has a knack for the English language, akin to chewing up words and spitting them out, that few other authors have been able to master.
Feb 10, 2013 Gail rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
New to Brookmyre, this book was sent in the post by a friend. Uninspired by the cover (yes I do judge books by their covers - until I've read them) I didn't pick it up for quite a while. But when I did I couldn't put it down.

It is funny, well-observed and pertinent. Brookmyre has captured Real Life and exposed it. The language, which I think some reviewers regarded as some kind of shock factor, merely reflected the reality. And provided some rip-roaring laughs from this reader.

Lexy and Wee Mur
Stephen Wallace
Mar 30, 2009 Stephen Wallace rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book, like many of Brookmyre's novels, starts slowly as the plot and the characters are developed in depth. As you begin to wonder when the action is going to start, it suddenly kicks off and speeds at a million miles an hour towards the climax.

Brookmyre is an excellent author who is able to move between the present and past with ease, before expertly bringing the two periods together for a breathtaking and absurdly funny ending.

An excellent book for anyone who has a sense of humour and i
Jun 13, 2013 Deanne rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crimethriller
Fun fast-paced read, with a hero who's ordinary. Ray is a gamer who's had to grow up, he's the husband of Kate, father of a 3 month old and a newly qualified teacher.
He also used to live with Simon when they were students, a friendship which ended badly.
An international terrorist, a tough policewoman who's a bit on the tiny side and a very tired new dad, who's going to come out on top.
Just makes me wonder what my old flat mates are up to, most were nursing students and I don't remember doing any
Alison Kirby
Feb 21, 2013 Alison Kirby rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I loved this book, Christopher brookmyre is fast becoming one of my favourite authors.
He sets out the plot meticulously which can make for slow reading at the start but if you persevere it's like a roller coaster ride with you hanging on for dear life, squealing "wheeeeeee!"
Thomas Strömquist
Brookmyre never disappoints. Thriller with a fantastic (black) comedy twist. Think british Carl Hiaasen.
Sep 05, 2014 Wendle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humour
A Big Boy Did it and Ran Away = ((Egotist + Gamer) Friendship) x (Terrorism (Kids + Angel X))

Another awesome book from Brookmyre. Introducing the kick-arse Angel X, the living-in-a-computer-game Ray and the oh-how-i-love-to-hate-him Simon.

It's a perfect mix of action adventure, suspense, geekery, nostalgic friendship and mishaps. Oh, and humour. Can't forget the humour. (view spoiler)
Jamie Collins
Another good "tartan noir" read from Brookmyre. There’s quite a lot of unpleasant ranting in the beginning, but the character development and the action at the end make the book worth it.

These books aren’t mysteries. You’re presented with the bad guys and their plans (mostly) right up front, and the only thing the reader is left to figure out is how the good guys will catch up to them in time. They always do, after a long, violent, crude adventure, and the comeuppance is as satisfying as it is p
Rachael Hewison
Dec 20, 2015 Rachael Hewison rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
This is definitely one of Brookmyre's better books. The characters are great, this plot was far more engaging and interesting than some of his other books, and Brookmyre has a very dry and funny way of writing. I love some of his descriptions and he brings out hilarious phrases.

This story was brilliant to follow and I loved the good cop/bad guy/innocent normal guy combination, as well as the other funny secondary characters. However there were some parts of the books that I thought were a bit ra
Jan 21, 2015 Vicki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've had this book on my to-read list for a few years but never got round to actually reading it. As part of the reading challenge this year, I'm determined to clear some of the books that have been languishing at the bottom of the pile.

I nearly gave up early on into this book as it took ages to get going and for the threads to come together (hence 4 stars) but once they did, I'm glad I stuck with it. Definitely need to search out more by this author.
May 12, 2008 Godzilla rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, 2008
A quirky book. Full of slang and funny moments, yet I was left feeling slightly disappointed.

The characters seemed a little two dimensional and the action too far fetched, but it's readable in a throw away type way.
May 26, 2014 Donna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Do not be put off by the confusing intro. Stick with it! This novel is funny, thrilling, exciting and highly enjoyable. Love Brookmyre's writing style.
A likable regular guy hero along with the author's patented dark humor, violence, and improbable plotting made this far too long book set in Scotland and dealing with terrorism an entertaining read.
Jun 12, 2012 Sarah rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Funny, possibly the best sex 'scene' I have ever read!
David John
Dec 14, 2016 David John rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fiona Thornton

A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away by Christopher Brookmyre is the story of Simon Darcourt, a world-renowned, professional terrorist for hire, and Raymond Ash, your average computer-game obsessed parent/school teacher who gets dragged into helping foil the latest terrorist plot after he glimpses the supposedly dead Simon back in his home town and gets pulled into the fray.

I'm usually quite a high marker for books that I like and I really did like this book but it did have a few drawbacks that seemed
Oct 05, 2016 Sue rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary
Left me cold. Struggled with the overwhelming amount of cultural and social references that were outside my own experience. This doesn't always matter, but in this book it does - a lot- if the so-called satire is to make sense. In addition, I struggled with the sheer tedious size and wordiness of the book, which didn't connect with me enough to make me want to persevere.
I saw this author's stuff in bookshops in the UK - he was one of the top sellers there at the time, but little known in the USA. What I got turned out to be a good subway book, a page turner that is a little smarter and a lot funnier than most. All in all, an enjoyable if not very enlightening read, and my only complaint is that, at 500 pages, it took up more of my time than it deserved.

Brookmyre, like my friend Tim Cockey, works the border between humor and mystery. His stuff is not quite funny
Andy K
Jul 24, 2016 Andy K rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
2.5 Stars

I added this book to my TBR pile after stumbling onto the 3rd book, "A Snowball in Hell," in this series and wanting to start it from the beginning. After finishing the first one and having such lackluster feelings towards it, I've put this series on the back burner for the time being.

The story revolves around the ups and downs of the relationship between college besties Raymond Ash and Simon Darcourt, both reveling in their pasts as indie rock stars and the opposite directions each ha
David Proffitt
Jun 05, 2016 David Proffitt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whether you like his books or not (and why wouldn’t you?) you have to admit that Christopher Brookmyre certainly knows how to give a book a title!

And if you are one of those who don’t find the title amusing then probably won’t like the book either.

A Big Did It And Ran Away is a reference to that old childhood ploy of passing the blame onto someone else, and that is, in a way, what drives the plot of this book. Basically it is a thriller with a twist. Warned of a terrorist threat to the UK, the p
The Cats Mother
This is the first in the Angelique de Xavia series, but I had already read the 3rd, A Snowball in Hell, which I felt at the time I would've enjoyed more if I'd already read the previous books, and so will probably reread once I finish The Sacred Art of Stealing. Brookmyre is not for everyone, I think you have to have at least lived in Scotland (as I did for ten years) to follow a lot of the language and get many of the jokes. Not everyone likes satire either, and the humour here is very black, b ...more
Feb 25, 2011 Hobbes rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: montrouge
Très décevant : la quatrième de couverture annonce un roman d'espionnage noir et une analyse du terrorisme international, le premier chapitre est dans le ton et au final c'est un roman d'action moyen, avec mystère classique (où va-t-il frapper ?), grand méchant au passé qui est surtout présenté comme un gros blaireau égocentrique et gentils un peu mièvres. Le terorisme international est évacué en deux coups de cuiller à pot (en gros : le grand méchant est un spécialiste qui se vend au plus offra ...more
Steven Day
Tried this as I wanted to determine if there was anything decent written based in Glasgow, looking online seemed to recommend this.

Good points were some very funny parts and exchanges, could only have been written by someone who has spent a lot of time in Glasgow, pretty good plot and we can all easily recognise some of the characters from people we knew at school and in our late teens, if you grew up in Glasgow. The book really flew in the middle part.

The bad points were that he did go a bit OT
Jul 29, 2016 Simon rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Rubbish. For example:

“He was on the dual carriageway now, five minutes away from the airport at any other time of the week, but ten today, it being Monday morning.”

“He organised the first run for the preceding Tuesday, which he booked off work in lieu of a recent trip to Oslo that had eaten into a weekend.”

And just in case you need another reason for hating this book (you don't), there's a colour photo of the author just inside the front cover. Honestly, the vanity of these people. Who gives a
Jan 29, 2012 eggophilia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novel
I make a sort-of-list of my favorite Brookmyre's and this comes in top 5. The other 3 are A Tale Etched in Blood and Hard Black Pencil (definitely number 1), One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night and It's All Fun and Games Until Somebody Loses an Eye. Can't decide the fifth and if you notice I haven't put any Jack Parlabanes, yet.

Maybe this book brings out the bad pretentious douchebag-and-selfrighteousness in me in the form of Simon Darcourt. We are him sometimes, or we wish we were. But as a
Aug 23, 2014 Nathan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
There is a terrorist threat to Britain, and a computer-gaming teacher in Glasgow is attacked by men with silenced weapons. Coincidence?

The first 15 pages of this book is probably the best rant I've seen in written form. Pure, unadulterated venting, and a lovely microcosm of Brookmyre's style. Loved it.

The book then settles down somewhat, into Brookmyre's usual "bad guys have big plans that will have various spanners thrown in by random passers by and civilians" plotline, but all down with his st
Sep 09, 2013 Chris rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A few reviewers thought this book started slow. There is a lot of character development at the start of the book, but I don't mind. I think you want to love, or hate in Simon Darcourt's case, characters when you know a bit more about them. Once the groundwork is set, this book is very difficult to put down as the action draws you in. The book is full of wicked musical, character and societal assassinations and actual assassinations. If you're not Scottish you may have to look up some of the refe ...more
Aug 06, 2013 Ines rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I understand why so many people liked this book, but it takes forever to actually begin. Not to mention that said beginning is very confusing, jumping from place to place and introducing new characters that play no role in the story. If it weren't recommended by a very good friend, I would have given it up.

The story revolves around a famous terrorist known as the Black Spirit, an English teacher (and avid gamer) and a cop named Angelique de Xavier that wants to stop the group of terrorists befor
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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

Angelique De Xavier (3 books)
  • The Sacred Art of Stealing
  • A Snowball in Hell

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