Mina delivers yet another fast-paced, morally-nuanced thriller, her protagonist a driven, complicated Glasgow detective, Alex Morrow, of the Strathclyde CID. For fan's of Mina's Garnethill trilogy, the author has set a standard that is hard to beat, but this thriller and this character come as close as any to the over-the-top personality and dramatic style of her first novels. Morrow stakes her claim with authority, a conflicted, instinctive detective with a feel for the city, its inhabitants and the crimes that assail it. There is poverty, drug abuse, racial animosity and an entrenched criminality that is pervasive in certain neighborhoods, not to mention police bureaucracy and particularly irritating partner, Grant Bannerman, who pushes Morrow into the background and claims the glory for himself.
It all begins with a home invasion, when two hooded intruders burst into a tidy bungalow owned by a Pakistani family, demanding "Bob" and an exorbitant amount of money. Chaos ensues with a gunshot and a teenaged girl is left screaming at what is left of her hand. Then a helpless old man, Aamir Anwar, is snatched as the intruders leave in a panic of threats and demands. Avoiding home and a marriage in trouble, Morrow keeps her private life exactly that, applying herself to a case that makes no sense, an immigrant family with no resources but a shabby corner shop; an old man dragged from one terrifying hiding place to another, comforted only by memories of his mother's sacrifice years earlier; Omar Anwar, who gives chase to the intruders only to face the racial animus of the cops; an older son, Billal, with a frightened wife and new-born baby; and a police detective with her own secret past and a partner determined to sabotage her every move.
Drugs, robbery, financial scams, religious bigotry, industrious neighborhood criminal enterprise and the politics of the police department collide in an edgy thriller that is relentlessly engaging, each new complication revealing the inconsistencies of human nature, the volatile mix of greed and fear and the natural instincts of a crack detective who hones in on the truth in spite of her personal demons. Mina scores a direct hit with Alex Morrow, her fresh style and appreciation of nuances a promise of more to come. Luan Gaines/2010.
With the focus on perpetually angry DS Alex Morrow, the working and criminal class neighborhoods of Mina's Glasgow provide the gritty atmosphere of this dark, but almost slapstick thriller. The story opens as three fairly dim thugs botch a home invasion, Pat and Eddy going in screaming for a guy named Bob. Who is not among the three generations of Islamic Asians who live in the house. One of whom is a rebellious girl. "Aleesha was a teenager and therefore interested in the … more
I have to admit that, because I have been a fan of Denise Mina's Paddy Meehan and Garnethill books for a while now, I began "Still Midnight" with high expectations. I also have to admit that the book was a bit of a disappointment to me - in some part, probably, because I did expect so much from it going in. Denise Mina's Glasgow has always been a dark and dangerous city but she has outdone herself this time. This Glasgow is a wet, cold city surrounded by swampy grounds and … more
An artist/writer, I have traveled the world, walked on the moon and learned the complicated language of humanity, the enormity of the universe... all through the written word. My first passport was a … more
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Eddy and Pat, two Glasgow yobs, are hired to snatch a man named Bob from a modest home in a Glasgow suburb and hold him for a two-million-pound ransom. They botch the job, finding no one named Bob, accidentally shooting a teenage girl, and snatching the girl’s father, a Ugandan émigré who owns a none-too-prosperous convenience store. Police-department sexism leads to DS Alex Morrow’s dim rival, Grant Bannerman, being placed in charge of the investigation; but Alex’s efforts uncover the only leads in the case. An award-winning crime novelist, Mina knows her gritty hometown, and Still Midnight offers a stunning portrait of transcendent bleakness. Alex is close to a breakdown; curiously, we don’t learn the full why for 270 pages. The kidnap victim is haunted by his mother’s rape as they fled Uganda. Even Eddy and Pat are tormented. Similarly, Glasgow is vividly portrayed as an avatar of urban poverty, violence, and utter despair; the lashing rains and raw winds of October in Scotland only serve to deepen the sense of desperation. Grim but compelling. --Thomas Gaughan