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Be My Enemy (Jack Parlabane #4)

4.1  ·  Rating details ·  1,969 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
It was a junket, a freebie, a team-building weekend in the Highlands for lawyers, advertising execs, businessmen, even the head of a charity. Oh, and a journalist, Jack Parlabane. Amidst the flying paintballs and flowing Shiraz even the most cynical admit the organizers have pulled some surprises.
Hardcover, 390 pages
Published February 5th 2004 by Little, Brown & Company
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(showing 1-30)
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Shihab Azhar
Jun 23, 2007 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
Apr 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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 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
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
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
Nicola Hawkes
May 11, 2013 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
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.
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is how I see the Jack Parlabane books – “I see you on the shelf. I can’t touch you right now. I have to work. I have to spend time with some ladies. If I touch you, I will lose my job and the lovely ladies to hang out with. Because you will suck me in, and you will suck me in enough to forget that everything else is shelved.” Thus, I make sure that I read ONLY ONE Jack Parlabane novel a year when it is safe to head into the abyss. God – What A Series! Also, the Jack Parlabane series has had ...more
May 10, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-and-5-stars
This was a good, but for me not great book from Christopher Brookmyre - this is really a compliment even though it may not come across as such - there are other books by CB that I have enjoyed more.

On the negative side, I found the book slow to get going and as I have sometimes found before, the political elements were a bit preachy for my liking. I also occasionally found it difficult to work out who was who, I think because of a combination of factors - the number of characters; the fact that
Russell Taylor
Jun 25, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
This was the first Jack Parlabane book I have read having been given a shot of this one from my brother. I shall definitely be re-visiting the series. I would have benefited from reading these in order as a lot of Jack's character is assumed to be known by the reader. This doesn't spoil the tale though.
The 'Why' question kept popping into my head as I read and read. The bad guys motivation taking an awful long time to come to the fore. In the end I just enjoyed the reading, as it was such good f
Joy Stephenson
This book is tediously long-winded in the first third (as an example a character's mobile vibrates at the top of page 95, then we get a long passage on the etiquette of using phones in public plus a detailed description of this particular mobile, and he finally answers it on page 98!) However the pace picks up and the plot has many twists and turns. There are still occasional places where it loses momentum, but the tension builds well in the second half.
Laura Tassoni
Completely bonkers, but good fun! Not as polemical as I've come to hope for from Brookmyre, but still some interesting points among the murder and mayhem.
Ian Mapp
Dec 19, 2012 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
Feb 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having found Nineteen Seventy Four totally gripping, I was keen to read the second in the Red Riding Quartet. Having finished it, I am somewhat at a loss of how to describe it. The second book, much like the first, is almost like a written nightmare - dark, shocking, savage, violent and vicious. The novel is narrated by two characters from the previous book - Sergeant Bob Fraser and veteran reporter Jack Whitehead.
Nick Davies
Jan 13, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2013
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
Oct 20, 2011 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 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
Feb 13, 2011 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 05, 2016 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 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 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
Oct 17, 2013 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
Jan 17, 2012 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
Jan 04, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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 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.
Oct 07, 2007 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 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
Aug 26, 2012 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.
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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)
  • 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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“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.” 35 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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