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Literature / Be My Enemy

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Novel by Scottish author Christopher Brookmyre.

Published in 2005, Be My Enemy is the fourth book featuring Brookmyre's recurring character journalist Jack Parlabane.

Parlabane gets an invitation to a fun-filled weekend at an old, remote Scottish castle turned hotel, where a newly formed event firm is launching its first-ever team-building programme. Dreading what kind of company he'll be in at such an event, Parlabane brings his old friend Tim Vale as his photographer, so that he will at least have one ally when the buzz words, the trust exercises and the general silliness commence.

The other guests turn out to be a mixed bunch, making for a rather unpleasant mood when the conversation turns to politics on the first evening, but other than that things go relatively well. Until they stop going well, that is. Shots are fired at the group during a field exercise. Phones and cars are tampered with, cutting off contact with civilization. People disappear. Headless corpses show up. And so do sword-wielding nutters. They're under siege, and they don't know why.


Neither do the short-staffed hotel's stressed-out employees or its increasingly desperate owner, who have all been struggling to keep things afloat with seeming ease. Pretenses are dropped and forces joined as physical, not financial, survival becomes the main objective of the weekend.

This novel provides examples of:

  • All Men Are Perverts: Rory's philosophy when directing TV commercials.
  • Aristocrats Are Evil: Subverted. Sir Lachlan possesses both kindness and integrity.
  • The Atoner: Toby. Rory Glenn too, except other than feeling bad he isn't doing much about it; not till the end of the story at least.
  • Beware the Nice Ones: Joanna. She's an overweight, easygoing computer nerd, but don't push her too far!
  • Broken Bridge: Naturally. The hotel is isolated in the wilderness and there's only one road; and when that bridge goes down...
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  • Cell Phones Are Useless: The stranded guests want to call 999... but someone's mysteriously stolen all their SIM cards! Except for several years, Mobile Phones have let you dial emergency numbers without a SIM card.
  • Chivalrous Pervert: Rory Glenn. He respects women, but can't help himself obsessing about what's under their clothes. To a somewhat pathological degree, not because All Men Are Perverts.
  • Embarrassing Tattoo: Peter Mathieson's tattoo is a permanent reminder of his failed career in the music industry.
  • I'm a Humanitarian: Unintentional. They thought they were eating ostrich.
  • Improvised Weapon: Pretty much anything the heroes can grab in their desperate predicament.
  • Jerkass: The cook Peter Mathieson. He abuses his relative position of power for all its worth, he's petty, arrogant, narcissistic and a creep.
  • Master Swordsman: The heroes are confronted with one of these. Fortunately for them, he's not a master of the pool table, which collapses under him, leading him to rather spectacularly behead himself.
  • Old Shame: Peter Mathieson's brief time as a boy band "star".


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