A Big Boy Did It and Ran Away

ISBN: 0349116849
ISBN 13: 9780349116846
By: Christopher Brookmyre

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Comedy Crime Currently Reading Default Fiction Humour Mystery Scottish Thriller To Read

About this book

Back when they were students, just like everybody else, Ray Ash and Simon Darcourt had dreams about what they'd do when they grew up. In both their cases, it was to be rock stars. Fifteen years later, their mid-thirties are bearing down fast, and just like everybody else, they're having to accept the less glamorous hands reality has dealt them. Nervous new father Ray takes refuge from his responsibilities by living a virtual existence in online games. People say he needs to grow up, but everybody has to find their own way of coping. For some it's affairs, for others it's the bottle, and for Simon it's serial murder, mass slaughter and professional assassination.

Reader's Thoughts

Mary Flynn

This is a thriller but with loads of laugh-out-loud moments. Absolutely loved it and would highly recommend, but if you aren't Scottish you might need some of the language translated!

Kirsty Fraser

Intricately put together, although i found the book a bit tiresome at times. No doubt christopher brookmyre is a man who has studied his subject very well before delving into writing.The characters are on the most part well thought out, and extremely complex. An added bonus to me was that some of the scenes take place in the area i live in. Great book to read if you're very interested in what terrorism has done to modern society and the people who are tangled up it it, either by choice or by force.


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 offrant, aucun détail ou presque sur ses commanditaires ou leurs motivations), la "petite bombe noire" du titre... ben elle est petite, elle n'a pas eu une enfance facile et elle fait du kung fu, et le gentil s'en sort en se rappelant ses longues soirées de Doom et autres Quake. Et puis cette manie des flash-backs qui cassent systématiquement l'action ! C'est hyper-pénible. Sinon, idée amusante, le grand méchant renomme ses acolytes d'après les membres de groupes anglais, ici Queen et les Pistols par exemple. Et ça balance sur les Smiths et Everything But The Girl. Amusant sur la description du milieu étudiant écossais des années 80 et les débuts d'un prof d'anglais dans la banlieue de Glasgow, mais plutôt râté pour le côté polar.

Stephen Wallace

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 is no way easily offended.


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)[A classroom full of foul-mouth brats + a teacher at the end of his tether + A Midsummer Night's Dream + chalkboard cock = BEST CHAPTER EVER. (hide spoiler)]This is also the longest Brookmyre book, or at least the longest yet, but it went by in a breeze. The alternating between time, places and characters helps the story move swiftly, without losing interest and never making it drag. It is, once again, some damn fine writing.["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>["br"]>


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 before another attack takes place. I understand that the author wanted to give us a good background of the characters, but most of it was irrelevant and made me lose track of the "present". I could see myself rolling my eyes every time the action went back to the past. If you can get past the middle, it's a very enjoyable book and it will also make you giggle with a handful of witty remarks.


Classic Brookmyre. Beautifully observed characters, from justifiably feisty Angel X to sociopathic Simon to new Dad Raymond. Brookmyre captures the nostalgia with which we view our teenage and university years perfectly. The story rattles along wonderfully and there are wonderful examples of the trademark Brookmyre black humour and acerbic observations liberally sprinkled throughout. A great read.


This was the book that made me a fan. It was sitting on the shelf in the hospital I was working in, and started reading it on a night shift.Very enjoyable plot. Funny as feck (but that depends on who YOU are now really doesn't it?) and I love reading the accent he puts in there.I'm hard pressed trying to discern which book I prefer, but either this one or One Fine Day in the Middle of the Night are my favourites.Don't go into reading these books looking for 'great' literature, or eschewing it pros and cons to everyone, because, ultimately, these are personal opinions.And mine is that I can assure you of a good laugh whilst you read this book.

Chris Nicol

The start to this Brookmyre book (which has only one fleeting reference to a previous character) is rather shocking as characters you expect to last the course are quickly dispensed with...or are they?After a bit of a prologue the characters of Raymond Ash & Angel X are introduced along with the new big-time baddie. The author takes no time at all turning the book into a 100mph thrill fest that I devoured in only a few sittings.I was trying to think of reasons not to give it 5 stars and all I could think of was snobbery. This would be my favourite CB book despite not having the wonderful Jack Parlabane but having read that Angel X is a recurring character I can look forward to her next book.It's funny, it's exciting and it's packed with music/games/Scottish references that made me feel all warm and nostalgic within.Good job Sir!

Robert Hudder

Another Brookmyre from the to be read pile. Getting through it slowly. At least he is funny and it makes its bearable. Some of the books are more suspenseful than others. This one was on the other side of it. Too much Deus ex machina.

Warren Olson

I really love Brookmyres villans, or particularly the ingenious schemes and methods they use ; In this book, the villans method of faking his own death was very clever, as were some of his early murders. However I found the finale a bit of a let down. The master crim undone by a couple of school kids who prefferred to wag than go to school - it just became a little over-the-top, and perhaps not quite as good an ending as I had expected allowing for the build up.

Alison Kirby

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!"Awesome.

Brian Boyle

My first Brookmyre novel, and I enjoyed it a fair bit. The characters are largely stereotypes and the plot is mostly incredible, but there is no denying it is well written and an enjoyable read in the main. Nothing terribly deep here - despite the authors somewhat self-satisfied and smug ranting prose style.


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 references and colloquialisms, but it's worth the effort, many of them are hysterical.You've got a disaffected rock and roller turned terrorist, a new father and English teacher trying to figure out what's happening and the debut of truly kick butt female detective, Angelique De Xavier. There's a lot to like in this book.


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 standard flair and panache. The back stories fo the characters are filled out more than normal, but once you've read it all you'll understand why. The finale may stretch the imagination a bit, but only somewhat, given what has gone before, and of course there is scope for a sequel (as indeed eventuated).Overall, a very enjoyable romp.Rated R18 for frequent strong violence, strong coarse language, a sex scene and Aberdeen. 4/5

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