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Found 10 results

  1. I've read a few Denise Mina books and read a good review of The Long Drop. I know the Peter Manuel story quite well, I even live less than 10 minutes from where his stomping ground was, though I didn't watch the recent TV programme starring Martin Compston about him. In the midst of his killing, William Watt decides to spend a night on the town with Peter Manuel to find out what he knows or will confess to about the recent string of murders. Interspersed with this story, we get the events and the subsequent trial of Peter Manuel for the crimes committed. To be honest, it wasn't for the trail and media circus towards the end of the novel, I would have given up on this book. No one in this book is particularly likeable. I know, I know, Manuel is not supposed to be likeable, but he is so utterly lacking in anything that it made for a boring read. Maybe that's the point, to show how dull and pathetic he was, but it doesn't make for a great read. At the trial, however, he somehow becomes more interesting as he tries manipulate and become ringmaster of the court. I couldn't recommend this though, it's just lacking in anything that makes you want to keep reading. A pity.
  2. The Red Road is a police procedural murder story. It's Tartan Noir. I hadn't realised when I began reading that this is the fourth outing for DCI Alex Morrow and so I might have missed some of the backstory, but the book still stood up in its own right. As so often in these Scottish detective pieces, the lead detective is an outsider with regard to office politics and has personal connections with the story that start to generate conflicts of interest. The plot itself is a little far fetched and relies on one big event that is revealed late in the piece - but seemed to be pretty obvious right from the first few chapters. The surprises as they come tend not to be surprising. The cast seems too large; everyone seems to be involved in some shape or form (I can't remember any red herrings) and seems to involve a lot of frenetic activity for fairly opaque reasons. The depiction of the Red Road flats is evocative, if somewhat fleeting to have given the book its title. There are also atmospheric scenes on the Isle of Mull, and some of the grander houses in and around Glasgow. The characterisation is also better than average, particularly a hippy in a castle and an aristocratic defence counsel. The structure also works, with plenty of cliffhangers ending chapters to keep the pages turning quickly. But overall it is just a bit meh; you feel you've read books like it before and will read books like it again. It is too convoluted, too clever-clever and when it reaches its denouement it just feels a little bit too late. ***00
  3. The last in the Paddy Meehan trilogy and the book opens with Paddy's ex-boyfriend being found dead. He has left her a dodgy old country bolt-hole and some clues as to who might have killed him. Paddy feels bound to investigate as the events of the last 2 novels also come to collide in this volume. Connor, her other ex-boyfriend's cousin, jailed for killing a child, has been released and the people responsible for the murders in volume 2 are coming after Paddy. A tidy but gripping resolution to the trilogy.
  4. Paddy Meehan is a proper journalist but still she is on the night time drive around, responding to the police radio, chasing calls for a story. Then she visits a house in Bearsden where a domestic has been called in. A woman with a bruised face turns the police away and the man at the door offers Paddy £50 to turn a blind eye. She takes it. Then the woman turns up dead. Feeling responsible and guilty, Paddy investigates the crime and tries to avoid being found out for taking the bribe. This is an excellent 2nd book in this trilogy and sets up well for the third. Gripping, realistic crime, devoid of cliches and shock value.
  5. Paddy Meehan is a junior journalist struggling to get her big break when a child's body is found and 2 boys are arrested for the murder. It echoes events of some years ago and when Paddy realises that one of the boys arrested is her boyfriend's wee cousin, then she knows she has to help him, help solve the case, link the cases, and possibly get her first good story. Meanwhile she struggles with her uber-religious mother, her boyfriend who wants the traditional marriage and wants her to remain a 'good girl'. On the back burner though, she also has a story she is working on about a miscarriage of justice many years ago involving a man by the same name as herself. I really am enjoying Denise Mina's crime books. The trilogies feel like good, solid storytelling and they feature a lot of places in Glasgow that I recognise and know. The language used by her characters feels comfortable and homely, it's a world I know yet seen through different eyes. The trite cliches of crime books are refreshingly absent. And this book, the first of the Paddy Meehan trilogy, is no exception.
  6. Having enjoyed Mina's Garnethill trilogy I thought I would give a graphic novel written by her a go. The Ushers are a normal family until one-by-one they start dying. Is it a curse or are family secrets being unearthed and making someone within the family take revenge? This comic was ok. The artwork is monochromatic and sometimes a little anime-ish but the story is predictable and not special. The story gains little by being told in graphic novel. Ah well.
  7. Maureen's story is coming to an end. Her abusive father has returned, the man she accuses of rape (lots of patient rapes) and murder is about to face trial and possibly be set free and now a grouchy old lady who reaches out to Maureen for help is murdered. Maureen has to find out why she was murdered. What she finds out exposes the mundane streets of Glasgow, not a mundane as she thought. This is an exception resolution to Maureen's story - all ends are tied up masterfully while still dealing with a new story strand.
  8. Continuing the story from Garnethill (Garnethill Trilogy book 1), Maureen O'Donnell gets caught up in the death of Ann Harris who after disappearing for a month is found washed up on the banks of the Thames. Despite her own worries, the imminent return of her abusive father and the looming court trial of the man she accused of rape and murder, Maureen takes off to London to find out what happened to Ann. Denise Mina is a superb storyteller and there is nothing flashy, nothing implausible, nothing glamorous about her crime novels (that I have read so far). They are urban and gritty but realistic - ordinary people in extraordinary circumstances fighting against that which threatens to overturn their lives.
  9. I bought the Garnethill Trilogy to read on hols, but couldn't wait and devoured the first, Garnethill, yesterday. Maureen is child abuse survivor who has spent time in psychiatric care. She is having an affair with Douglas Brady, a society husband and son of Carol Brady, an MEP. One day Maureen finds Douglas dead, tied to a chair and throat slit. The killer has been very careful to ensure that Maureen is perfectly in the frame for the crime. Battling her family, most of whom believe that she invented the child abuse at the hand's of their father/husband, battling her alcoholic mother, battling the police who believe she is the perpetrator, battling the MEP determined that Maureen is at fault and battling the police Maureen is determined to find out for herself who killed her boyfriend (who she had stopped caring about really). She has to learn who in her tight circle she can trust. I loved this book for many reasons. The mystery, the hook of all crime really, is not too complex or unbelievable. The characters are real and draw you in especially Maureen who should be an unreliable narrator with her boozing, psychiatric history and dodgy memory of child abuse, but she's not - you believe wholeheartedly in her. He brother Liam is also one you shouldn't trust - a drug dealer - but you do, you care about what happens to him. But most importantly, to me, the setting; Glasgow and a Glasgow that I recognise - mundane and everyday - not noirish and seedy. With a Glaswegian dialogue to match - not affected and exaggerated but real and normal. The way Glaswegians speak - not a romanticised, brutalised version. I absolutely can't wait to get stuck into the second in the trilogy.
  10. Notionally C of E as a child, and now a Militant Agnostic - I don't know and you don't either - I find it hard to understand the differences between the Protestant and Catholic branches of the Christian faith. It was a theme that appeared in Brian McGilloway's Borderlands, and here in Denise Mina's The Field of Blood, the same sense of disbelief comes over me. A large part of the novel is given over to the problems (she's a Prod, the fiancee's a Pape). Anyway, a wee Glasgae lassie frae the rough part aye...no, I can't do the accent. Paddy Meehan (named after the guy involved in a famous miscarriage of justice) is a young female copyboy at the Scottish Daily News. It's 1981, and the big story is the murder of a toddler by two ten-year old boys. Oh no! Not another "fictional" crime drawn from the real world. Use your imagination, writers. But Mina does a good job and although it's a pretty decent-sized book, a quick read. The pressroom of that era is wonderfully evoked, like this from when the baby's body is found: And she has a good eye for the locals of what I presume is her native city. Paddy's Ma watches telly: Also, there's a nice sub-plot involving the historical story of the real Paddy Meehan. His times and crimes, trials, lies, and release. This is the first in the Paddy Meehan trilogy, and I'm looking forward to following her as she matures.
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