This is the first in a trilogy of crime novels anchored by Maureen O'Donnell, the young woman at the center of the chaos. She's tough and fascinating, one of the few fictional characters I wish I could meet. She has survived a hellish family life, a breakdown and a subsequent stay in a hospital and wakes up a year or so after being released to find her married therapist boyfriend murdered in her living room. Maureen isn't what anyone could call "well" or "stable" but the damaged and vulnerable bits of her are just that - aspects of a complex personality. She's not a female super-sleuth; instead she's fueled by vengeance, a desire to clear her name and an increasing fear that she may have had something to do with the murder after all. Furthermore, she's not entirely trustworthy, but neither is any other character, subjectivity (particularly as is concerns experiences of abuse, mental illness and relationships between family members) being one of the big themes of this book. The trilogy is set in Glasgow - Garnethill is one of its neighborhoods - and the city is as fully drawn and authentic as Denise Mina's characters. Despite the frequently grim themes, this is not another miserablist novel; its ironic humor makes it pretty darn exhilarating to read. Amazing book, the best I've read in months. (Be aware, though, that there are some passages dealing with sexual abuse that are as disturbing as they should be. It's an unsettling book, but worth your being unsettled.)— From Rebecca
"A shattering first novel... You can't look away from it."--New York Times Book Review
Maureen O'Donnell wakes up one morning to find her therapist boyfriend murdered in the middle of her living room and herself a prime suspect in a murder case. Desperate to clear her name and to get at the truth, Maureen traces rumors about a similar murder at a local psychiatric hospital, uncovering a trail of deception and repressed scandal that could exonerate her - or make her the next victim.
"I can't think of a more interesting - and less likely - crime hero than Maureen O'Donnell, the damaged but determined center of Denise Mina's marvelous debut mystery. . . . The book bristles with angry energy and the spare urban poetry of its unique language." -
"A groundbreaking book...its emotional rawness and visceral honesty pack a punch more potent than any boxer-turned-PI could provide."--Washington Post Book World
"This raw, powerful story is an exceptional debut." -Kansas City Star
"A compelling story. . . . This is the reason we read mysteries." -Rocky Mountain News
About the Author
Denise Mina is the author of Deception, the Garnethill trilogy, and Field of Blood. She lives in Glasgow, Scotland, with her family.