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Quite Ugly One Morning

(Jack Parlabane #1)

3.91  ·  Rating details ·  8,211 ratings  ·  468 reviews
Quite Ugly One Morning is the book that made Christopher Brookmyre a star in his native Britain, establishing his distinctive, scabrously humorous style and breakneck, hell-for-leather narrative pacing. The novel that won the inaugural First Blood Award for the best debut crime novel in the United Kingdom is now available in America for the first time, and comic crime writ ...more
Paperback, 312 pages
Published July 3rd 1997 by Abacus (first published 1996)
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Average rating 3.91  · 
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 ·  8,211 ratings  ·  468 reviews

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Dec 28, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: scotland, 2016
Didnt know this was set in Scotland when I picked it up.
Really enjoyed this wee story. Easy to get through.
Andrew Smith
Aug 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
If I had to describe my staple reading diet it would be contemporary American fiction, particularly American crime fiction. I don't often read British authors, though I have made some exceptions; I read to escape not to be reminded of the daily grind. There are two Scottish writers I do really like though (Ian Rankin and Iain Banks) and for some while friends have been nagging me to give Brookmyre a go. I finally succumbed.

I knew this would be funny and clever - it's both - and I guessed it wou
Jan 16, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was an interesting take on the murder of a doctor. Jack Parlabane is a journalist who uses his cat-burglar talents to investigate crimes. The long-suffering police are involved, but they are not the focus of the book. The author has a sense of humor and a snarky attitude that shines through a plethora of bodily fluids. There are many references to people and things that I didn’t always understand, but I did enjoy the book. Will continue with this series at some point to see if the author ma ...more
Jan 07, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: crime-fiction
Warning. This review might offend easily offended people.

This is the book where Brookmyre has a graphic description of a turd early on, which I thought was rather unnecessary, but what would I know? More people read his books than my reviews. For now, anyway.

So, last night while partaking of tea at the Windsor, suddenly at 10pm my brother Bernard calls home. ‘Has she done it yet?’ They’ve just had a kitten, you see, called Socks and they are waiting for her to do her first poo. Not so much her f
May 18, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: thriller
Jack Parlabane is an investigative reporter, who is a master cat burglar but only steals what he needs for his stories. When a famous doctor is viciously murdered in Edinburgh, he can't stay uninvolved. Turns out that the doctor has a gambling problem, but that doesn't seem to be the motive for the crime. In fact, the motive itself was well-cloaked. Funny at times, and with some reasonable insight into the horrors of doctors becoming certified, the book was not that great. I don't think I've eve ...more
Aug 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: facebook-reviews
Quite Ugly One Morning is definitely Quite Fantastic An Experience. What a book! After I read this book, I was left completely stranded and was not able to choose which book to pick up next for a whole 8 hours and I am still struggling. It’s just like the lingering after taste of a rich and heavy wine.

Where do I start? If I have to talk about the plot, I can write volumes. If I have to talk about the treatment, it will be never ending and if I have to talk about the protagonist, I may not ever
Thomas Stroemquist
Jul 22, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: in-collection
A great debut and it actually have loads of Brookmyre’s trademarks fully formed; gory and absurd situations, heaps of dark humour and really good characters. The short book had a surprisingly slow moving part at around 3/4 or so, but I didn’t mind so much, the writing is good.

The first time we meet Jack Parlabane, he’s just returned to his native Glasgow from California where his investigative journalism has dug him in a bit far. Hung over, confused and in his Jockeys, he literally stumbles upo
Two-thirds of the way through the first chapter of QUOM, the detectives at the newly discovered, extremely messy crime scene, discover that not only has the murderer been as brutal and sadistic as he appears to have possibly been able to manage, but he has also done a sizable shit on the mantelpiece. And lo, the tone is set. A very few chapters later, Christopher Brookmyre tells you whodunnit, and the rest of the book involves a lot of charging about while the good guys explain to each other how ...more
Laura Belgrave
Jun 16, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Well, hell. Who'd think you might find a hardboiled mystery set in Scotland? I mean, I visited Scotland once, long ago, and it struck me as quite a sleepy place where nothing much could happen beyond sheep blocking a roadway. That's not the Scotland of Christopher Brookmyre's most excellent "Quite Ugly One Morning."

Now then, don't read any further if you aren't a fan of novels with explicit language and, well . . . let's just say "vivid" scenes. Of course, given the heavy Scottish tone, you migh
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
Enter Jack Parlabane: Investigative journalist from Glasgow, who went to L.A for a job, and came home running after someone put a hit on him.

Enter the assassin who killed a Dr in an interesting fashion...

Enter Dr Sarah Slaughter; the ex-wife of the victim

Enter Dr. Stephen Lime; the victim's boss.

An easy ready and sort of easy to deduct the killer, as Christopher Brookmyre doesn't worry about the whodunit part, as the why the crime took place and he tries to build a background of the character
Dec 08, 2007 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, humour
This is the first of the Jack Parlabane novels - a short journalist with a habit for getting himself seriously into trouble often involving him carrying on like a burglar.

This was made into a television show a couple of years ago and they really made a mess of it. Hard to imagine, as his stuff really is crying out to be made into films.

Parlabane has returned suddenly to Scotland only to wake the next morning to the smell of various human wastes in his flat. Going off to investigate the smell, wh
Mar 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crimethriller
Fun, manic crime novel set in Edinburgh, which starts with a bang and never lets up. Also made me laugh that the NHS trust manager is portrayed in the way he is, as is the corporate structure of the NHS.
Eve Kay
Feb 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: suspense, favorites
An excellent story that shows us all the shite going on in the hospital business.
There's some crooked people, they're maybe a little stereotypical, but they're crooked enough for my liking. The good guys are good characters too, and the main character, Parlabane, is also a bad ass.
I liked the easy writing, the fast-paced story and the characters. So I wanna read more of this series.
Sure, there was probably a little too much of excrement and vomit and such for my liking, but I'm gonna let it sl
Lance Charnes
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
While our default view of British detective stories tends to focus south of the Tweed, it's well worth remembering that Scotland is (at least nominally) part of the United Kingdom and has its own share of sick puppies to track down. One of them writes berserk crime novels -- Tartan Noir in Braveheart mode -- and this book made Christopher Brookmyre's name in the U.K.

Jeremy Ponsonby, scion of a well-established Edinburgh medical family, is found in poor condition -- messily dead in a wrecked apar
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: humour, favourites
Quite Ugly One Morning = ((NHS + money-grabbing politician) x (Parlabane + romance)) ^ Graphic violence

For a long time previously my other half had been reading Brookmyre and loving them. Loving them so much that he would stay up late into the night reading them because he just had to finish. My reaction to this would be to moan; "Turn out the light, I want to go to sleep!"

After much cajoling, I finally agreed to read a Brookmyre book. Being the anal kind of person that I am, I insisted on start
Jamie Collins
I like the genre name "Tartan Noir", to which this book belongs. It's a mystery/crime novel set in Edinburgh in the 90's. The book is funny and I liked the writing, but the plot is nothing special: I'm bored with evil, moneygrubbing corporate executives. This is actually a rather odd mystery in that the villain's identity is revealed quite early on. It reminded me of a Coen brothers movie: the bad guys are horrific and yet hilariously incompetent, and you watch while the good guys track them dow ...more
Apr 02, 2015 rated it liked it
This book was quite a surprise to me - many books covers I recognise for various reasons and this as a quite distinctive cover, but it wasn't until a local book club suggested this as their next title did I decided to give it a go.
The book has a very black humour running through it with some very memorable set pieces which are a mixture of disgusting and very funny (I guess working with a number of scots I have experienced this sort of dialogue first hand!), but there is also an enthralling sto
Andy Weston
Jun 09, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: crime, scotland
This was my first Brookmyre, and whilst the plot is good, the characters well described, the balance of humour against the gore and unpleasant substances doesn't work for me.
Humour and dark crime are a blend to get right as Scotch whisky. My preference is on understated and subtle black humour, and I find so few authors can do this successfully. Brookmyre's brand of humour is more slapstick and the story veers towards farce frequently. That's fine of course for those who like it that way, but j
Sep 27, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
If Quentin Tarantino and Carl Hiassen had a love child, and he was Scottish, he might turn out to be something like Christopher Brookmyre - violent, profane and outrageously funny.

Jack Parlabane is an intrepid muckraking journalist who stumbles - quite literally - into a horrific murder scene. The doctor in the apartment below him has been killed. Parlabane determines to get to the bottom of it with the help of the doctor's ex-wife and DC Jenny Dalziel. They uncover massive financial chicanery a
Isaac Cooper
Aug 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
Okay, this is gonna be a short review. Christopher Brookmyre and I clearly do not share the same sense of humour, or the same concept of what ‘good writing’ is. Good writing doesn’t come across as immature, doesn’t try to be funny, doesn’t dwell on cheap, scatological humour, humour attempting to appeal to the broadest, dumbest demographic possible. Good writing is hard to describe, it’s almost like a rapist, grabbing you by the throat and forcing it’s emotions on you. Wow, what a metaphor… one ...more
Simon Fay
Jun 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction
There was one thing I liked about this book: The rancid detail of the crime scene and the violence that led to it. Not much else grabbed my attention though. The characters were colourful enough, but the only interesting ones were the villains. The writer kept telling me how cool the heroes were, but they were a bit too obvious for my taste.
Jul 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ebook
3.5* rounded up.

I enjoyed (most of) the humour in this book, but struggled with all the Scottish vocabulary/slang. The introduction perhaps set me up for noticing this, but it was a bit of an 'issue novel', with heavy-handed references to the tragic state of the NHS. Then the tone in other places was quite coarse, and the villains verging on the cartoonish. I liked Jack and Sarah and their police officer pal Jenny, but I think I'll wait before reading the next in the series.
Jeff Nathan
Apr 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Kind of a unique protagonist. Had a bit of trouble translating some of the Scottish slang and found Jack just a bit too macho and quick thinking but I have never read a more humorous murder scene than the first one in this book. Not a funny subject but I was laughing out loud at the clumsiness of the murderer.
For those of you who do read it, an excellent Scottish online translator is: http://www.scotranslate.com/#
Aug 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I really wasn't sure about this one. It was written in a way where you knew the cast and who did what. And you were waiting to see how it all connected and played out. Just loved it.

You had everything I like in a murder mystery. Victim, assassin, corporate twat, nosy journalist, tenured DI, macho DS and the love interesy. What more can you want, oh yeah its based in Edinburgh and ends in one character 'touching base' with someone else.

Hysterical Chris Brookmyre, you're on my book list now!
Nov 21, 2018 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, despite having been told about it ages ago and thinking it probably wasn't for me! I was completely and utterly wrong 😁

I laughed a lot, loved the vernacular and the familiarity of the location, and so yet again have to add another author to my ever extending list of "to reads".
Ann-Marie "Cookie M."
This book starts a series that I hope goes better as it goes along, because I already have the next two.
The first book hits the ground running with one dead body and just about every substance that can exit a human being, either from natural orifices or artificially induced holes.
Then the story bogs down and drags, for a long while, mixing white collar crime with hit men with cops with freelance (I think) reporters, with drug runners (maybe?). I don't know. I got bored and confused.
It picked
May 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Parlabane found the word ‘pro-active’ enormously useful, as it immediately exposed the speaker as an irredeemable arsehole, whatever previous impression might have been given. Every time he heard it he imagined George Orwell doing another 360 down below.

Even if this book had no other redeeming quality than this little gem—and it has plenty more to offer—it would be worth the price of admission, of whatever the literary equivalent of that is called.

Reading a few of the reviews of this book here
Sep 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I am seriously going to have to stop chatting to Graham Smith as he is costing me a fortune from all his author/book recommendations! Mr Smith suggested that I may find Chris Brookmyre‘s writing style and characters right up my street, and I hate to say it…he may not have been wrong!

Set in Edinburgh, this book is full of a dry, dark wit that you are either going to love (Me! Me! Me!) or completely dislike (Booooo!) – a marmite sort of book you could say! It oozes the grittiness of the gangland u
Mar 01, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 stars

After reading the 7th book in this series (Black Widow) and loving it, I decided to go back to the beginning. So this is the first Jack Parlabane book which was written in around 1995. Surprisingly I found it hardly dated at all. The reference to 'personals' (mobile phones or cells) was about the only dated aspect.

Jack Parlabane is an investigative reporter that loves the hard-hitting exposes. He has just returned from two years in LA from where he had to skedaddle after someone had tri
Rachael Hewison
Jan 27, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: crime
I seem to enjoy Brookmyre's books that are part of a series more rather than the stand alone ones. I'm not sure whether it's because we have more time to get attached to the characters, or whether they are just more interesting but I really enjoyed this book.

It's the first of Brookmyre's books that I found myself laughing out loud to. Parlabane was a brilliant protagonist and I loved how he bounced off the other characters, most particularly Sarah and Jenny and I liked his romance with Sarah as
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Book Club: Quite Ugly One Morning 1 11 Oct 16, 2016 09:43PM  

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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

Other books in the series

Jack Parlabane (9 books)
  • Bampot Central (Jack Parlabane #0)
  • Country Of The Blind (Jack Parlabane, #2)
  • Boiling a Frog (Jack Parlabane, #3)
  • Be My Enemy  (Jack Parlabane, #4)
  • Attack Of The Unsinkable Rubber Ducks (Jack Parlabane, #5)
  • Dead Girl Walking (Jack Parlabane, #6)
  • Black Widow (Jack Parlabane, #7)
  • Want You Gone (Jack Parlabane, #8)

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“Parlabane found the word 'pro-active' enormously useful, as it immediately exposed the speaker as an irredeemable arsehole, whatever previous impression might have been given. Once upon a time, he remembered, people and companies just did things. But that ceased to be impressive enough, and for a while they 'actively' did things. Now they 'pro-actively' did things, but it was still the same bloody things that they were doing when they just plain old did things. Meaningless wank-language.” 33 likes
“... when they hear hooves they look for zebras instead of horses” 2 likes
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