The Guardian (London) has called comic-thriller writer Christopher Brookmyre "the next star of the genre . . . who writes in] the sassy, nasty, fast style of the Americans Elmore Leonard and Carl Hiaasen." His American debut, Not the End of the World, is a fast and furious novel set in Los Angeles at the near side of the millennium, at a point when the world is about to spin out of control -- and maybe out of existence.When an oceanic research vessel is discovered with all of its crew vanished, it sets off a chain of events that pulls Lt. Larry Freeman of the LAPD out of the ho-hum assignment of overseeing the security for a B-movie film festival and headlong into a frenzied race to stop a terrorist plot. Along the way he must contend with aging porn stars, rabid evangelical Christians, a mysterious Glaswegian photographer, and an unknown agenda, all in a frenzied -- and ultimately hysterical -- race against time.
As an unrepentant, welded-on, dedicated Christopher Brookmyre fan I do have to ration these books a bit. So NOT THE END OF THE WORLD has been lurking here for quite a long time, although I was a little startled to learn it was originally published in 1998. Not because it's been lurking for that long but because the central themes, in particular rabid evangelical religious fanatics, intolerance, insistence, terrorism and short-sighted idiocy works just as well now as it did then. Actually make that less startled, more disgusted.
NOT THE END OF THE WORLD does take a little while to get started, which, (weak pun alert - I tried / can't resist) is not the end of the world. Because the guts of the book made me stop and think, and increasingly made me more and more disgusted with the way that the things haven't changed and the lunatics are still out there waving their intolerance in everyone else's faces and shoving their messages down everybody's throats. When I wasn't laughing at their portrayal, I was more than just a little bit annoyed with the sorts of things that Brookmyre was holding a magnifying glass on - right up close and very very pointedly as Brookmyre does best.
This was one of my particular choices for "please myself month". Worked perfectly.