Random by Craig Robertson

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Random by Craig Robertson

Category: Crime
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Glasgow is terrorised by a serial killer known as The Cutter, who finds his carefully-laid plans unravelling as he faces the repercussions of killing a gang member. Tense and cleverly plotted.
Buy? Maybe Borrow? Yes
Pages: 336 Date: April 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
ISBN: 978-1847377296

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A man is planning his first murder and he's doing it with some care. We'll gradually realise that he's been making preparations for some time but the oddest thing is that this murder must be completely random. He mustn't be diverted from his chosen system even if the person who is selected is someone he would rather not kill. It's not a whodunit – for the killer tells us the story as it progresses – or even a 'why did he do it' as even that will become obvious, but the suspense is in whether or not he will get caught.

One murder is not enough, nor is two or three. Each must be completely random with the victim selected on a predetermined basis – the first person off the bus at a certain stop, the nth person who crosses his path as he walks a certain route. Does that sound cold-blooded? Of course it is – but what makes it even more chilling is that this is not a psychopath but someone with a plan. And as that plan progresses you will come to believe that it is completely rational. He was originally called 'Jock the Ripper' because of his signature of removing a part of a finger from each victim, but the killer didn't like this and he called himself The Cutter.

There are repercussions, of course. The random killing of a drug dealer sparks a turf war in Glasgow's gangland. Infidelities are exposed and the genuinely innocent are hurt, but then the killer has been hurt too; hurt beyond what he can bear. He has little left to lose and no reason to care.

If you like suspense you will love this book. I kept having to put it down and walk away, conscious that I was tense. We're near to the end of the book before we even get an inkling of the killer's name, but by then you will know all about him, his wife and family. You'll be torn between wanting him to succeed and knowing that right should prevail. You'll know that right isn't always prevailing in the local police force either and that the brightest do not always get a fair chance.

If you know Glasgow you'll recognise the city, even the one inhabited by terror where the people still manage to keep going despite all that's happening. Just occasionally there were wobbles when the first-person narration didn't work, but I'm being picky and there are certainly more than enough twists to make up any shortfall. There's sardonic humour and sharp observation of people at their best and worst and you'll have to find out how it all works out.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to the Bookbag.

For another debut novel set in Glasgow we can recommend The Twilight Time by Karen Campbell or Javascotia by Benjamin Obler.

Buy Random by Craig Robertson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Random by Craig Robertson at Amazon.co.uk.


Buy Random by Craig Robertson at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Random by Craig Robertson at Amazon.com.


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