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The Quaker

(Duncan McCormack #1)

4.14  ·  Rating details ·  2,114 ratings  ·  277 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 September 17th 2019 by World Noir (first published 2018)
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Eric Scharf I suggest that you read the passage more carefully as I thought it was pretty obvious. There were other hints earlier in the book as well.
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Average rating 4.14  · 
Rating details
 ·  2,114 ratings  ·  277 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. Touch of
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 paced ...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 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
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
Bonnie Brody
Mar 31, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
I loved this book. It is a literary thriller that takes place in Glasgow, Scotland, but unlike many of the U.S. thrillers, with their violence and shoot 'em ups, this novel is written for an intelligent audience. The novel is character driven and a page-turner to boot. It demonstrates how detectives can search for criminals without guns , tasers strong arming and still bring evil men to justice.

The Quaker is the name given to a serial killer who has killed three women in 1968 - Jacquilyn Keevins
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
Based in Glasgow in the late 60s, this book is based on the serial killer Bible John. Hard for me anyway to believe it won the Bloody Scotland/McIlvanney award for best crime novel. Maybe it was a "keep it in the family thing" because the author's surname is McIlvanney? The first 150 pages meander terribly as the polis (police) cannot find a lead on the serial killings of three women, who are killed after a night out dancing. Duncan McCormack is sent to review the work done, close down the inves ...more
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Liam McIlvanney's The Quaker is a gritty, urban police procedural based in the late 1960's Glasgow, Scotland.

Three women have been murdered and the current investigation has stalled. The suspect, nicknamed "The Quaker," is believed by upper police officials to have moved on and with a desire to sideline the investigation to avoid further public scrutiny, Detective Duncan McCormack, normally a property crimes detective, is enlisted by his bosses to examine the progress and surreptitiously close
I was a bit confused for the early part of this book. I couldn't decide if it was going to be a serial killer murder mystery or a heist caper. Turns out it was both and the author, whom I had not read before, skillfully wove the two stories together. In the end, everything was interconnected.

Liam McIlvanney's novel is set in Glasgow in 1969 during a brutal winter. Not only is the city having to deal with the beastly weather, it is also going through a phase of urban renewal which has devastated
John Wiltshire
Sep 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Liam McIlvanney is the head of the Scottish and Irish department at Otago University here in New Zealand. One of my (brilliant) creative writing students is currently studying with him. I heard him interviewed on local radio last week about this new book and about his experiences growing up in Scotland the son of a well known writer (William). I'm always happy to discover a new author. That he writes 'tartan noir' was an added bonus.
I started this book today and I'm already almost halfway throu
The problem with books like THE QUAKER is that Liam McIlvanney calls himself a 'slow motion writer' so his books are rare little gems, dropped into your reading list like pearls. To be savoured, unless desperation takes over, and like me, you move the first two Gerry Conway books (ALL THE COLOURS OF THE TOWN and WHERE THE DEAD MEN GO) into the re-read pile, on the strength of just how good THE QUAKER was.

In Glasgow in the late 1960's there was a real life serial killer - 'Bible John' who killed
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
Jan 06, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A gritty thriller set in Glasgow in 1969 and loosely based on "Bible John" a serial killer, believed to be responsible for the murders of 3 women in that city in 1968 and 1969.
The Quaker is the name of the killer in this story and the police seem to be no closer to catching him after the 3rd murder than they were after the first. Duncan McCormack is a detective inspector brought in to assess how the investigation is proceeding but his colleagues know that his report might lead to their inquiry b
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
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Excellent - a varied and interesting cast of police officers, a gripping plot, and a terrific evocation of late 1960s Glasgow.
Oct 27, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries, scotland, noir
I was looking forward to reading this novel for months. Sadly, I found the setting flat, the pace sheepish, and the twists predictable. It was well-structured, however, and featured a decently layered main character. Perhaps I have read too many truly excellent Scottish noir thrillers and mysteries of late, but this simply was not a robust debut.
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
Apr 17, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A pretty standard tartan noir thriller. Perfectly fine, well written, but I was expecting something more from an award-winning novel. There was little that made it stand out from the plethora of similar novels already out there. Enjoyable enough to make it a worthwhile diversion.
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  ·  review of another edition
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
Chris Callahan
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This crime fiction/police procedural set in late 1960s Glasgow is one of the best I’ve read this year. I found the plot original and thought that the protagonist was a particularly well-developed and complex character. Good stuff for fans of the genre, just be prepared to sort through some Scottish dialect if you’re not familiar with it.
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


Even though I'm not at all familiar with Glasgow (let alone the Glasgow of 1969!), I really enjoyed this thriller. The city is almost a character in it's own right, but it's Duncan McCormack who's the main player, a DI determined to find The Quaker - a killer who has become something of a cult figure after 3 women are murdered and the police are left with no major leads. Plenty of action and deducing, plot twists and danger - if you're a fan of dark thrillers you'll enjoy this.
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it

It’s 1969 and the city of Glasgow is terrified by a man who has raped and murdered three women, over a period of eight months, dumping their bodies near the night club where he took them. The killer seems obsessed with biblical quotations and with menstruation.
More than a year after the first murder, after thousands of police hours, hundreds of interviews and reams of press coverage, the Glasgow police are no nearer to solving the crimes. The police brass
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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

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