Monday, February 28, 2011

For Review: Random ~ Craig Robertson

Crime isn't really my thing. Sure, I've read a bit of Ian Rankin and that was lovely and all, but it's just not something that pings with me. I get bored with the likes of CSI and Rosemary and Thyme are as far as I'd go. But, Simon and Schuster sent me Random. And it was random, receiving it in the post. It wasn't expected at all - so it was a sign! 2011 is a year for scoping out more genres and dipping my toes into pools they've never been. So while I can't say what makes the most clever crime fiction, I can say that Random was a fun read.

The Cutter is Glasgow's new serial killer and, as the title would suggest, the killer picks his victims at random. The story is told from the point of view of the killer, and any motives or methods behind his killings are gradually revealed throughout the novel. While I wouldn't necessary call it a twist, the conclusion did come as a bit of a surprise - the narrator knows when to drop information for maximum effect. Cold and calculated.

And he is. What I love about books told from a killer's perspective is how measured everything is. They know exactly what they're doing, how to murder effectively, how to cover their tracks. I enjoyed that obsessiveness on the part of The Cutter, that desperate streak that ran through his thoughts and actions.

Sympathy would be too strong a word, but The Cutter isn't always dislikeable. It's understandable that he has no friends, that his relationship with his wife is poor - but then, he does argue his reasons.

Random was a fun little read, with just the right amount of gory to keep it from becoming too gruesome or heavy. (I say that, but remember I read American Psycho without flinching). What I can't understand, though, and what really annoyed me, pedant as I am, was the American spellings - bastardized, apologize, realized. And The Cutter uses fahrenheit, not celcius. All a bit bizarre for a Glaswegian. Still, since being at Glasgow University, it was very exciting to be able to recognise places and street names. Now I really know where to be careful.

[Many thanks to Simon & Schuster for sending me this copy!]