by Christopher Brookmyre.
My brother recomended I read this author. At first I wasn't convinced it was such a good idea but, by the end, I was more than glad I did.
Ray Ash has recently begun his career as a teacher of English in a Glasgow school, where the kids give him the runaround well and truly. He prefers to play computer games and also had a brief career playing drums in an indie pop band - one hit wonders.
He has a wife and new baby and is wondering where his life has gone. He likes to go to the airport and dream. While there he sees Simon Darcourt, a major figure from his university/musician past. The only problem with this is that Darcourt has been dead for three years, killed in a plane crash. His body was never found though.
It turns out that Darcourt is the Black Spirit, a major terrorist. He has no cause, no beliefs. He just carries out terrorist activities for others, whoever pays. He is the most wanted man everywhere, except that nobody knows who he is.
Darcourt has Ash kidnapped (after a failed attempt to kill him) because he doesn't want Ash blabbing that he's seen him. Ash, of course, has blabbed to the police, but they don't believe him at first. While the kidnap is taking place a couple of smart-alec truants from Ash's class sneak into the baddies' truck and are also, inadvertantly, kidnapped.
What follows is a very entertaining action thriller. Darcourt is trying to blow up a major hydro-electric plant in Scotland. Ash and the detective who finally believes him are trying to stop him. The two kids also do their bit, mainly just by being naughty kids. They are hilarious.
There are lots of flashbacks throughout the book as Ash and Darcourt's back story is fleshed out. This back story is necessary to explain the motivations behind Darcourt's chosen career as a terrorist - ego has a lot to do with it. It also helps explain why Ash acts as he does.
Language warning - the f and c words are used regularly and most dialogue is in Glaswegian Scottish (a weird and very colourful language all of its own!).
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