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The Quaker

(Duncan McCormack #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  856 ratings  ·  166 reviews
Glasgow, 1969. In the grip of the worst winter for years, the city is brought to its knees by a killer whose name fills the streets with fear: The Quaker. He’s taken his next victim — the third woman from the same nightclub — and dumped her in the street like rubbish. The police are left chasing a ghost, with no new leads and no hope of catching their prey. After six month ...more
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 28th 2018 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published 2018)
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4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  856 ratings  ·  166 reviews

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McIlvanney draws on the true crime history of Bible John in his creation of The Quaker, a bible quoting serial killer roaming the streets of Glasgow in 1968-69. He has killed three women feeding the climate of fear and horror infesting the city. The police have no clue as to his identity, and the media have turned against the police, painting them as a laughing stock of uselessness. DI Duncan McCormack is riding high in the Flying Squad, having just nailed an important member of John McGlashon's ...more
Stephen Robert Collins
First of all the copy I have has comply different cover, a boring seen of wet park bench with few trees & few flat roof houses in the background not like this much better cover.
You know a book is going to be good when the author as both T.S.Eliot 's 'East Coker
& The 'Silver Blaze' by Conan Doyle quotes.
Last year we had Ragdoll this year we have Quaker. This one of those sort of books that you just know its going to be corker. We have the voices of the victims telling you how they died.
Jul 20, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Loosely based on the ‘Bible John’ serial killer that plagued Glasgow in the late 1960’s.
With so many crime stories set in the Scottish City, I felt that this was a clever way to try and stand out amongst so many other novels.

Though the story was engaging enough, I found myself searching the internet to find out exactly what actually happened during 1968/69.
Any investigation of this nature will hit stumbling blocks, but the meandering nature of the plot made me reach for Wikipedia.

The novels str
Louise Wilson
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Duncan McCormack #1

Set in Glasgow in the late 1960's, to a time where the city was controlled by gangsters who also had some control over the police. The local press are making a laughing stock of the police force. Now, the police have brought someone in to observe the officers conducting the investigation into a serial killer called the Quaker who had brutally murdered three local women. The women had all left the same nightclub. DI Duncan McCormack is the officer brought in to observe and ens
Great, gritty tartan noir. Set in 1960's Glasgow, it's harkens back to the time of a city controlled by gangsters who control the cops. Or some of them anyway. In steps a young DI determined to nail a killer while protecting a secret that could land him in prison. Descriptive passages & dialogue full of local vernacular ensures you are transported to another time in this atmospheric read. Just when you think you've got it figured out, the author saves the best twists for last. Smart, well pa ...more
Jul 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very good crime novel, set in the Glasgow area, and packed with the sights, language and culture of the late 1960s. The prose is very good throughout, and the pacing is mostly very good.

As usual with my reviews, please first read the publisher’s blurb/summary of the book. Thank you. This book was provided to me in return for my (always) honest review. Thank you

McCormack is dropped into a serial murder case in Glasgow, on secondment from the Flying Squad. He's expected to wind
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liam McIlvanney is not an author I had any knowledge of before discovering "The Quaker". I usually am aware of crime/thriller/mystery writers and fantasy authors even if I haven't read anything by them. Apparently he is an award-winning author so that certainly got my attention.

The setting also had an impact on my decision to read the book. It is based in Glasgow and I have found in the past that some of the very best crime novels are either based in Scotland, written by a Scot or both. I live j
This isn't going to be on the Glasgow Tourist boards list of recommended reads anytime soon! Although it is apparently inspired by a real life event which took place in the 1960s. The scene setting and set up of the crime in neatly done - the scenes before a girl was found were especially creepy and the sense of dread and gloom reigned supreme throughout.

The Quaker gives connotations of a life gone by and the historical aspect was nicely done. The name brings fear to everyone in a city already o
Next time I’m going to visit Glasgow I will see the city with different eyes. As a tourist, I’ve seen hotels, restaurants, the congress center, museums and numerous shops of course. Maybe I should take this book with me as a sort of alternative travelling guide… Author Liam McIlvanney, with an impressive background, gives us a real story, set in a real city and of course, with real characters. Although it started a bit slow, it was difficult to put down. I’ve learned some new Scottish words too… ...more
This is more of a 3.5 star read, but as I don't officially do half stars, it remains as a 3 star read for Goodreads's sake.

By the time I had finished reading The Quaker, I was actually very pleasantly surprised. What had started out as a somewhat meandering crime novel turned into a surprisingly involved and intricate web of murder and deception. I think I could have potentially given up on this during the first third of the novel if it wasn't for the fact that I'm a bit of a sucker for any nove
Liz Barnsley
Loosely based on real events, The Quaker takes us back to 60's Glasgow, where a serial killer stalks and a police team stutters.

As far as sense of time and place goes, this author has it spot on, enveloping you into the world seamlessly. The story itself is compelling and gritty with a huge sense of atmosphere and a good snapshot of a different way of doing things.

My one issue was the meandering and occasionally unfocused nature of the drama playing out on the page. There were large swathes of
Susan Hampson
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
When the local Glasgow police force become the brunt end of jokes by the press and locals it was time to bring in someone to observe the officers conducting the investigation into a serial killer nick named The Quaker. The Quaker had now brutally murdered three local women after each of them had left the same night club in a matter of weeks. Six months on the three investigating officers were still no closer to finding the killer.
The year is 1969, forty years off the technical advancements of t
Mar 24, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in 1969 Glasgow and loosely based on the Bible John Murders, with strong similarities particularly in regard to the victimology and modus operandi, The Quaker is not your average thriller.
DI Duncan McCormack arrives in Glasgow from the Highlands to evaluate the police department's work on the Quaker cases. As more women are murdered and the pressure from the media and the public mounts, a suspect is arrested. Everyone is elated, and only DI McCormack believes the arrested suspect is not the
Elaine Tomasso
Jun 19, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would like to thank Netgalley and HarperCollins UK, HarperFiction for an advance copy of The Quaker, a standalone police procedural set in Glasgow, 1969.

DI Duncan McCormack is sent to assess the work of The Quaker murder enquiry seven months after the last murder. The team is working hard but has still to find a suspect but when a fourth body is found McCormack joins the hunt and soon finds some leads.

I enjoyed The Quaker which is a police procedural with its roots in true crime. No Glaswegian
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great deep chunky crime novel with several delightfully involved plots that get worked out very satisfactorily. McIlvanney has a knack for surprisingly poetic description that nevertheless works alongside the gritty Glasgow geezers. Excellent dialogue and characterisation.
I really liked the main character DI McCormack: his sensitivity, the difficult situation he finds himself in, and his secret. If anything, I'd have liked a bit more about his secret - it seemed too downplayed.
My editor's ey
Bev Taylor
Jul 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
u may see my review on lovereading

i did a pre-publication review for them


Ron S
Loosely based on events that took place in Glasgow in the late sixties, during a time of great change, a young detective with secrets of his own joins a floundering investigation into a series of murders.
McIlvanney is very good at establishing a sense of place and time, creating believable characters and dialogue that sounds more recorded than created.
"He thought of the men in the Murder Room, men in shirtsleeves, bent to their work. He understood what it was now, the fear that he'd smelled as the days wore on. It was the fear that they'd already missed him, that the Quaker was gone... They didn't want him gone. They wanted him caught... Otherwise he would always be there. Every time a woman was killed, or a girl went missing... 'Is he back?'".

It's late 1969 in Glasgow and three women are dead - raped and murdered by 'the Quaker', whose sini
Liz Mistry
Oct 28, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Quaker is one of those novels that, if you're a Scot of a certain age, immdiately transports you back to your childhood. Based on the factual tale of Glasgow serial Killer Bible John, McIlvanney encapsulates the dread and the shock that permeated Scottish society at that time. The regular identikit photo's embalazoned across the frnt page of The Daily Record, the whispered conversations and speculations that occurred at the school gates, in the shops and in pubs. Bible John was Scotland's Bo ...more
Kate Vane
Aug 31, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Most crime novels start with a murder. This one begins with a failed investigation. Glasgow in 1969 has been terrorised for months by the serial killer known as The Quaker, who has murdered three women after meeting them at the Barrowlands dance hall. The police have a description, a witness, numerous tip-offs from callers. Hundreds of men have been interviewed and eliminated from the enquiry. Women live in fear. Then the killings stop.

DI Duncan McCormack, a high flyer from another team, has bee
Jul 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in the Glasgow of 1969 The Quaker shows a dark city beset by gang violence. Three women have been murdered. The police seem to have hit a wall & the media is giving them a hard time. Duncan McCormack- a detective doing great things in the Flying Squad is sent to the station trying to solve the case to see if everything has been done correctly & if the investigation should be scaled down. This was not a job that was going to make him popular!

Although Duncan had been unwilling to leav
Jane Hunt

Atmospheric and authentic are the best adjectives to describe this story. The menacing ethos of 1960s Glasgow is apparent on every page and is compelling.

The characters' prejudices and secrets vividly depicted make them realistic. The sinister undercurrent as people wonder when 'The Quaker'will kill again makes for a tense thriller. The murders are described in painstaking detail but not overly graphic, just enough to inform the plot and allow the reader to glimpse the horror of the crime.

Allyson Abbott
A brilliant and gripping mystery story based in the dark underworld of an aged Glasgow city. Murder, mystery and the rape of local girls gets the local detectives baffled and eventually D I McCormack is brought in to check results and to wind the team down as no guilty person had been found.
He, though has other thoughts and soon starts a new investigation, which of course does not win him any points in a popularity contest. up against his colleagues he doggedly continues unravelling threads of i
S.F. Bose
Jul 31, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Quaker by Liam McIlvanney is a gritty crime novel set in Glasgow 1969. It's well-written and has a plot with a lot of twists and turns. The characters are also well-developed. It took me a couple of chapters to get into the book, but then I couldn't put it down.

A serial killer, dubbed the Quaker, had killed three women after meeting them at a dance hall. The police have a lot of clues including a description of the killer, but they fail to find him. After the third victim, the killings stop and
Jul 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was really different from the usual police procedural / thriller type book and so much more. At first I wasn’t sure if I was going to get into it but it just began to draw me in and I just couldn’t put it down. Fantastic plot and characters it made for a 4+ read and would recommend it it to anyone who loves a brilliant story.
Kate Ellis
Jun 18, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: on-kindle, netgalley
new Author to me who writes well and appears to have researched the backdrop and true story involved in the plot well. The Quaker is definitely a saisfying read if you are not faint hearted or mind the colourful language. It's what it says on the cover.
Ali Bookworm
Jul 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Excellent gritty read set in late 1960s Glasgow. Good characters and typical hardcore detectives. Loved the whole element of the Barrowland Ballroom too. Well recommended.
FIONA Norris
Nov 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I find genre fiction quite hard to rate, mostly because I always feel that I have to take into account the intended readership of the book, and consequently, the author's ability to meet the expectations of that readership.So, within the limitations of crime fiction, it seems to me that McIlvanney does a pretty good job.
He set himself quite a difficult task, since 'The Quaker' closely parallels the infamous 'Bible John' murders in late sixties Glasgow, so therefore within the living memory of qu
Phil Altimas
Mar 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is based on the true story of Bible John, a serial killer in Glasgow in the 60s
The story takes that story and embellishes it into one of the best books I have read in a long time

The story is gripping, implelling, a real page-turner
The characters are like friends
The atmpshpoere is dark

What an amazing book
Craig Sisterson
Fifty years ago, an unknown killer terrorized Glasgow. His clean-cut visage, an artist’s impression from witness statements, stared from newspaper front pages. ‘Bible John’ butchered three women after they'd enjoyed nights out at a local dance hall, and left the police chasing smoke.

He was never caught.

Literary professor and award-winning novelist Liam McIlvanney explores the effect of those killings on his home city in THE QUAKER, a novel with strong echoes of Glasgow’s real past. He shows a de
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Professor Liam McIlvanney, the son of novelist William McIlvanney, was born in Kilmarnock in Ayrshire, and studied at Glasgow and Oxford Universities. After ten years lecturing in Scottish and Irish literature at the University of Aberdeen, he moved to Dunedin in New Zealand to teach at the University of Otago. He lectures in Scottish literature, culture and history, and on Irish-Scottish literary ...more
“Like everything else in Balla, they were made of slate. The men worked them during slack times at the quarry. That’s what you did when you found a free half-hour: you worked your own headstone, cutting the cross or the crown at the top, and then carving your name and birthdate under ‘Sacred to the Memory of’ and a bas-relief opened book, leaving only the final date to be carved by another hand.” 0 likes
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