"My name is Jack Parlabane and I'm pan-breid. Aye, that's right, don't kid on you can't understand the rhyming slang."
Perhaps uniquely among fictional journalists, hard-talking Parlabane files his story from beyond the grave.
"Killed in a typically foolhardy endeavour (let's avoid the word undertaking', shall we?), death by defenestration, gravity finally delivering the the ultimate skelp on the arse in revenge for my tears of insolent defiance. A four-storey fall out of my own livingroom window. Ironic? Inevitable? Hilarious? Take your pick... I guess you could call it the ultimate humiliation. ....
"...And yet here I am, still observing and reporting, still self-indulgently ranting and editorialising."
John Lapsley Parlabane - ex-con, killer and one-time cannibal - is one of two journalists who investigate charismatic psychic Gabriel Lafayette in Christopher Brookmyre's Attack of the Unsinkable Rubber Ducks; the other is the despised Jillian Noble, a columnist for what Parlabane dubs "the Daily Hate and Fear (I think we know which paper he means) and who has therefore 'forfeited her right to be called a journalist'.
Anyway, Parlabane knows how to succeed in newspapers:
"Garner a reputation as an incredible pain in the arse - sorry tenacious investigative reporter - my fact-finding dubiously enhanced by a facility for and disposition towards... oh, there's no point in sugar-coating this any more: burglary. Lock-picking, scaling buildings, breaking and entering: plain old criminal behaviour necessitated by (and thus, in my driven and simplistic mind, excused by) it frequently being the only way to get the evidence."
It's an entertaining read, and the deceased Parlabane passes on some useful tips from the other side...
"It's been one of my abiding principles that when you wake up each morning, you should welcome the possibility that later the same day your most deeply held belief might be proven utterly wrong: from political convictions to the laws of physics."
And this is certainly true - well, the second part at least:
"...as a journalist I like to think it makes me that bit harder to fool. It's when you think you already know the story that you risk letting the real story pass right under your nose."