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    • By MisterHobgoblin
      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.
    • By Hazel
      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.
    • By Hazel
      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.
    • By Hazel
      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.
    • By Hazel
      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.
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