Written by Liam McIlvanney
Glasgow, 1969. Violence is a fact of everyday life in the city — the inevitable by-product of razor-gang warfare, organized crime, sectarian hatred, and an absence of hope. But a new sort of savagery has the city in thrall: three women have been found dead in the abandoned tenements and rubble-strewn courtyards of Glasgow’s east end, killed on the streets by a monster they call The Quaker. He could be anyone — that man there in the pub, your children’s teacher, that quiet workmate from the office or shop-floor. The newspapers are in a frenzy, the powers-that-be are helpless, the city is terrified.
Weeks turn into months, and Glasgow’s finest are no closer to identifying a suspect. The case needs to be closed — or just closed down — so that the city can begin to heal, move on, and forget. Enter Detective Inspector Duncan McCormack, an outsider from the Highlands, who’s been sent in to review the investigation, point out any mistakes, and then quietly, firmly, shut it down. But just as McCormack is about to file his report, another body is found. The Quaker has struck again . . .
Brilliantly crafted with great depth and nuance, The Quaker is an electrifying thriller that expertly captures the gritty atmosphere of paranoia and hopelessness in a city on the verge of a great upheaval.
Liam McIlvanney is the Stuart Professor of Scottish Studies at the University of Otago, New Zealand. He is a regular contributor to the London Review of Books, and the author of two previous novels, All the Colours of the Town and Where the Dead Men Go.