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Robertson, Craig - 'Random'
Paperback: 400 pages (Feb. 2011) Publisher: Simon & Schuster Ltd ISBN: 1847398812

A random murderer is causing panic and despair in Glasgow, as no can be sure who is safe from him. The "Cutter", is a very angry mini cab driver, whose whole world was destroyed when his beloved Sarah, his only darling daughter aged just twelve, was knocked down and killed by a drunken driver. Now the mother of Sarah, grieves for her poor daughter by campaigning against drunken drivers. However, the "Cutter" feels that the joy of life finished for him in that moment, so he decides to eliminate some people, chosen quite haphazardly and killed in cruel dramatic fashions. For example, he is on a bus and he starts counting the people getting off and when a particular number is reached he follows that person, identifies where they live. Later, he returns and kills them in a locality from where he can easily escape.

The murders are mounting up, six so far, and the newspapers and other media have picked up the story and are comparing the murders to those that were carried out by "Jack the Ripper" in the nineteenth century, but in this case they are saying that there is a "Jock the Ripper" at large! This infuriates the "Cutter", but when he carries out each murder he always cuts a "pinkie", a little finger from each victim and posts it anonymously to the chief detective, a DS Rachel Narey, investigating the case. One of the random victims he chooses and kills happens to be an underling of a Glasgow gangster who takes it as an attack on him personally and stirs up a lot of anger and confusion himself in trying to locate the killer. As the murders continue, the apparent randomness of the killings is questioned. The story carries on in a very tightly plotted and sometimes moving way until the very unpredictable and quite amazing ending.

I absolutely loved this very powerful first novel from this Scottish Sunday newspaper journalist. As a journalist, his research is first rate and he obviously is very familiar with Glasgow as some of the localities are mentioned in detail, as is some of the local dialectic slang, but not in an intrusive way - but only to add colour. The story is told in first person by the "Cutter", which adds to its immediacy. The story is violent, as some of the victims are killed in very unusual ways but is extremely fast moving and a great presentation. There are the usual plot-twists and double-crosses but all the loose ends are tied up in the dramatic conclusion. I could not put it down, as it was such an exciting page turner.

Read another review of RANDOM.

Terry Halligan, England
February 2011

Details of the author's other books with links to reviews can be found on the Books page.
More European crime fiction reviews can be found on the Reviews page.

last updated 11/06/2011 14:08