Random by Craig Robertson

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We have a legal system so that the courts can take responsibility for meting out justice, taking decisions regarding punishment away from those who have been offended against and making that justice impartial instead of fueled  by revenge. But what if those courts let you down?

This is the situation the main character in Random finds himself in. His 11 year old daughter is killed by a drunk driver. The culprit, because of a contact in the press, is portrayed as a pillar of the community and the young girl as a reckless, out-of-control tearaway. When the case reached the courts the drunk driver was let off. What father wouldn’t want to take matters into his own hands and mete out his own form of justice?

And if this was where the book concentrated, the actions of the man who ends up with the nicknames of Jock the Ripper and The Cutter would be understandable. But Robertson takes it much, much further. And I’m not sure how I feel about that.

The book is well written. The prose is punchy and Robertson, a successful journalist, has infused the tale with Weegie confidence. His portrayal of the various characters who populate Random is accurate and believable, the language they use is spot on and the gangsters are exactly as you would imagine a Glasgow gangster to be.

The story is told in the first person so we see events unfold through the eyes of the Cutter, a man who plans his attacks with cold intelligence. His methods of dispatching his victims are varied and gruesome and it was a brave decision to tell the story through the eyes of the killer rather than one of the detectives who is trying to catch him.

But…and this is a big but, I just could not empathise with the character.

It is one thing to want to kill the man who killed your daughter, but the death toll in this book goes way beyond that and the reasoning behind these other killings left a distinctly unpleasant taste in my mouth.

Would I read more by this writer? Definitely. Would I recommend this book? A more difficult question. Every other review I have read of this book is positive and I didn’t see any with the same problem with it that I did. I would probably say yes, if only to encourage you to read someone I am sure will become a big name in the crime fiction field.

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