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

4.02  ·  Rating details ·  2,191 Ratings  ·  117 Reviews
Crime novel.
Hardcover, 352 pages
Published February 10th 2007 by Little, Brown & Company
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Community Reviews

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Paul  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
May 03, 2008 rated it really liked it
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
May 25, 2011 rated it liked it
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
May 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels, humor
Psi und Co sind nur raffinierte Betrügereien, oder? Gabriel Lafayette scheint eine Ausnahme zu sein und erklärt sich schließlich sogar dazu bereit, seine Fähigkeiten unter wissenschaftlich kontrollierten Bedingungen unter Beweis zu stellen...
Fast das, gesamte Buch wird aus persönlichen Perspektiven verschiedener Akteure erzählt. Und das auf eine sehr unterhaltsame Art und Weise. Immer wider wird man als Leser aufs Glatteis geführt, und man bekommt abwechselnd Hinweise auf echte oder getürkte übe
Jan 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I bought this book years ago because of the title, without even properly registering the blurb. I figured any book with a title like this one must be hilarious. So when I finally started reading it, I was pleasantly surprised to find as good a mystery as any I've read before. It took a while for me to really get into it, mostly because I have never read a Parlabane novel before, but once I got in I thoroughly enjoyed myself. I'll try to get my hands on the earlier instalments in this series; I l ...more
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.
Chris Nicol
Feb 19, 2016 rated it liked it
Standard Brookymyre/Jack Parlabane fare. Hard to put down once you get involved.

Not at all interested by the paranormal so took a wee while to get into it also was a little disappointed at how obvious it unfolded until nearer the end. Still good stuff and enjoyable new characters.
Tom Lloyd
Feb 16, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
Nov 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4-and-5-stars
* The opening of this novel nearly got me off on the wrong foot as I did not pay enough attention to whose perspective the chapter was written from. Fortunately it was so different to what I expect from the Jack Parlabane novels that I have read previously that I stopped and checked, but then did have to persevere though what I realised was an intentionally tabloid-style approach to the story.
* As soon as the focus moved away from this perspective I was hooked and from then on really enjoyed the
Alex Breck
Dec 11, 2017 rated it liked it
If you've not read any Chris Brookmyre then this is probably not the best book to start off with. I love his books and have read most of them but I found this one hard to get into until about halfway when the story really starts to get going. If I hadn't been on holiday with plenty of time, I might not have made it to that point. However, by the end, I was raving as always about this great author.
Jan 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Good book and interesting stuff to follow up. There is a bbc storyville documentary about the guy who inspired this and is credited at the end. Exposed: Magicians, Psychics and Frauds - about james randi and can be found on iplayer
Laura Tassoni
May 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Possibly one of my favourite books ever! Combining action, scepticism, politics, social commentary - loved it!
Should be required reading for the credulous :)
Am now working my way through the others.
Neil Pittman
Jan 30, 2017 rated it liked it
So different from the other books in this series, comparing religion and psychics and then debunking psychics. It was a fun ride.
Aug 23, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is my favorite JP book that I've read. It was the kind of book that you can't put down, but then when you finish reading it you wish you'd have savored it a bit more.
Angela Lewis
May 08, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Very entertaining and funny, some memorable lines. It made me laugh out loud. A book not to be judged by its cover
Jürgen Zeller
Den Schriftsteller Christopher Brookmyre habe mit seinen zwei Krimis "Die hohe Kunst des Bankraubs" und "Wo die Leichen liegen" kennen und schätzen gelernt. Ich sehe in Brookmyre einen intelligenten Autoren der seinen Krimis gerne eine schräge Besonderheit verleiht. Entweder sind die Geschichten inhaltlich an und für sich eher seltsam und/oder die Protagonisten passen nicht recht zum Handlungsort. Jedenfalls setzt er mit seinem Spleen unbedingt etwas anders machen zu wollen einen zusätzlichen Re ...more
Feb 28, 2015 rated it liked it

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
Moray Barclay
Aug 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: humour
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,
Jamie Collins
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
Andrew Pearse
Sep 20, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
It is not as funny as the earlier books in the series, but it has its moments. The premise - a wealthy man with deeply held "woo" beliefs has decided to endow a chair of "Spiritual Science" at Kelvin University to subject paranormal phenomena to scientific validation and prove the skeptics wrong. An American medium (who modestly claims that these things just happen to him) and his scientist friend are to do the "academic" work.

As it happens, quite by accident, Jack Parlabane is the newly electe
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
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
Ian Mapp
Feb 06, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Riley Haas
Jan 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Oct 19, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, humour, 2009, occult
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
The Cats Mother
Jan 25, 2017 rated it really liked it
I really like this author, but found this one slow to get going, until Jack appears, then we get the usual sarky irreverent commentary, with a twist - he's dead!
This is the fifth in the Parlabane series, with him recently elected as rector of a Glasgow university. Discovering that they are considering adding a Chair of Spiritual Science to the faculty, based on the apparently miraculous psychic feats of a charismatic American, Jack steps in as a cynical witness, sure he can spot the tricks of a
Jul 18, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
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.
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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 (Jack Parlabane, #2)
  • Boiling a Frog (Jack Parlabane, #3)
  • Be My Enemy  (Jack Parlabane, #4)
  • Dead Girl Walking (Jack Parlabane, #6)
  • Black Widow (Jack Parlabane, #7)
  • Want You Gone (Jack Parlabane, #8)