Friday, October 29, 2010

A Review of "Still Midnight" [78]

Reagan Arthur Books, ISBN 978-0316015639
352 pages, March 22, 2010

Two small time criminals push their way into a modest suburban Glasgow house, demanding someone name Bob. But things go terribly wrong, one of the family ends up shot and the elderly immigrant father, owner of a small local grocery store, kidnapped and held for a 2 million pound ransom.

The police can not figure out what is going on. Did they break into the wrong house? Does this seeming modest family, as unlikely as it seems, have some sort of hidden fortune? Nothing about this crime seems to make sense, but sense they must make of it if there is any hope of getting the victim back safely.

From the start of this book, the characters, the good and the bad, are at the center of this story. We have Detective Inspector Alex Morrow, the case taken from her and given to her slightly dim colleague because he is part of the 'old boy's' network and she is not. She is a rather hard, angry woman, not much beloved by her colleagues. In fact, she is, at least at first, not terrible likable to the reader. She has a secret, being from the wrong side of the tracks with some family connections that might ruin her career if known. And yes, she is very angry, for a reason that we do not begin to understand until well into the story. This is a standalone book, not part of Mina's previous Garnethill series. But by the end, DI Morrow is a character that I would look forward to seeing in future installments of a new series by Mina.

But the author also takes us into the minds of other characters as well, including one of the bad guys, who turns out to be a bit more sympathetic that one might think and the victim, who has his own very troubled past to deal with. The issues of class and religion and race and family in present day Glasgow all come into play in a very interesting way. Yes, the issue of family and belonging are at the very heart of this book and I think raises it a step above just a common crime story. Yet also, the crime at the center of the story, that ties all these people together, turns out to be quite interesting and takes an unexpected turn or two. As with Mina's previous book, Still Midnight presents a very gritty, rather bleak view of the Scottish city, but one that is great for a crime novel.

Yes, as with her previous books, I had a slight issue with understanding some of the dialect and on occasion had to reread something someone had said. But that is a slight issue and the dialect adds greatly to the realistic feel of the book.
OK, maybe the ending was a bit too tidy, even a bit too odd. But if you are a fan of police procedurals, especially with some good characters and a great setting, this is one you will want to pick up. 

My thanks to my local library for lending me this one to read.


  1. I have meant to read something by Denise Mina for a long time. Since this one is a stand alone, perhaps it is the one I should start with. It sounds intriguing, though it also sounds like one I'd have to be in the proper mood for. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great review! You've got me wondering why they broke into that house and who Bob is.

  3. When there is dialects or words I have no clue how pronounce, I listen to the audio. May do it with this one.

  4. Probably not one for me since I'm not into police procedurals.

  5. Ooooohhhh...sounds good. Your review makes me want to know more. And the cover is pretty creepy!


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