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by Denise Mina

Pub Date: Sept. 26th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-316-06933-5
Publisher: Little, Brown

DS Alexandra Morrow’s second murder investigation—it’s far too lumpy to call a case—is even more death-haunted than her first (Still Midnight, 2010, etc.).

Three recent deaths, none of them suspicious, cast a long shadow over the Strathclyde Police Department. One is that of demented old Joy Erroll, whose daughter Sarah is kicked to death only days later in the home she shared with her mother. The second is the hanging of Sir Lars Anderson, an obvious suicide after the spectacular bursting of his bank’s bubble. The third is the death of Alex’s father, an unloved man whose passing severs the last link between Alex and her delinquent teen nephew John McGrath. Five months pregnant and chafing under the obtuse supervision of DCI Grant Bannerman, the colleague whose promotion has vaulted him ahead of her, Alex is in anything but the mood to look into the callous murder of Sarah Erroll, dead at the hands (and feet) of a pair of home invaders who somehow managed to overlook the £650,000 she had stashed away. She’d be even less enthusiastic if she knew that the investigation would bring her up against Kay Murray, the most prominent of the endless parade of cleaners and caretakers who saw Sarah’s mother through her last days; Nadia, the dry-eyed party girl who explains how she showed Sarah how she could bump up her wages dramatically; and Sir Lars’ son Thomas, a precocious 15-year-old whose life is immeasurably complicated by a phone call from a woman identifying herself as “Lars Anderson’s other wife.”

Not exactly a model of plot construction, but that’s not why you read Mina, who takes you so deep inside her troubled characters that long after you turn the last page, you wonder if you’ll ever get out again.