What a find. A taut, mean Scottish thriller written in the most memorable of prose. Hugh C. Rae seems to be little known these days in crime-writing circles and that is perhaps the real mystery of this book. Take just one example of his writing, from the very first page:
"Ranges of high-rise flats, office developments and the buttes of a new components plant rose up from the ridges. The flanks of the low delta of the Wickerburn were scarred with demolition pits and smouldering junk fires purled hanks of oily smoke across the excavated earth."
The quality continues throughout the rest of the book with a pacy plot that never leads the reader astray but makes sure every chicane is a blind turn into new territory.
All the players are three-dimensional, not necessarily nice, but this is Scottish crime fiction at its brutal best; would you really want to befriend those from an underworld where blood is the argument?
I can't shovel praise high enough. The Marksman is the grittiest, most literate Scottish crime novel I've read in years. This out-of-print classic deserves a new audience, a new publisher and digital distribution to the wider core of crime fans. Someone get on that, please ...