Author Murray Morison, excellent author specialising in mystery stories for young adults, had this to say about The Witch's List:
It's not only Macbeth that has to confront witches in Scotland
We learn early on in Cairn’s exploration of modern day witches, that ‘once you are on a witch’s list, you are as good as dead’. This reminded me of an old Africa-hand telling VSO volunteers at a briefing before going to an East African posting, "JuJu is a joke in the green fields of England and deadly serious in the villages of Africa”. Sandy, the hero of this tale, has a brush with the dark forces early on, when a book on witches and warlocks, full of graphic descriptions and sultry with sex, appears to burst into flames in the hands of school-friends at a Scottish Roman Catholic school.
Later, a passion for an Afro-Caribbean girl, results in both his initiation into sex and brings him abruptly face to face with what might just be a curse. Cairns draws us into Sandy’s world by deftly weaving the mundane elements of a coming of age narrative with events that have a flavour of the supernatural. Set initially in the ’80’s, he has a good ear for the slang of the time, which changes appropriately as university is reached. The story unfolds at a steady pace, with the threat of dark outcomes never far away; the prophetic warnings of a dying nun, suggest Sandy may be doomed if he follows his lusts. And that’s tough, when you are a full blooded Scots lad!