In the midst of a shoot-out on an oil rig, Ally McQuade and his old English teacher Mrs Laurence commiserate about the awfulness of the school reading list and the tedious hours spent ploughing through Grassic Gibbon's "A Scots Quair". Readers educated in Scotland will sympathise. It's definitely time One Fine Day, a beautifully crafted novel from one of Scotland's best writers of modern fiction, made it onto the Higher lists instead.
Like Christopher Brookmyre's earlier books, this is a page-turner, with a satisfyingly tight plot. Brookmyre is accomplished enough in the thriller-fiction genre to play around with its cliches, and the reader's expectations, to hilarious effect. He does a lovely line in dry humour - though very occasionally, an overdose of authorial irony threatens to slip the tone into Terry Pratchett territory. Brookmyre's sharp wit comes over best through his glorious cast of Paisley-bred characters. All are recognisable, deftly drawn, and their dialogue begs to be read out loud. Has anybody bought the film rights yet?