GARNETHILL by Denise Mina


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Maureen O’Donnell ought to be able to look down on the world from her flat atop Garnethill, the highest point in Glasgow, but instead the world’s looking down on her. She’s eight months out of the Northern Psychiatric Hospital and has been carrying on an affair with therapist Douglas Brady, whose live-in, Elsbeth, it turns out, is his wife. Maureen’s job at the Apollo Theater ticket office barely keeps her in Glenfiddich and lime juice—and she’s got a lot to drown in drink, dating back to the days of her abuse by her vanished father. One morning after she staggers home blind drunk, she wakes to find Douglas tied to a chair in her flat, his throat cut, with every indication that he’s spent the night in her company. The police naturally think she’s the killer, and they’re not the only ones who don’t believe her denials; her alcoholic mother, insisting that her husband could never have raped his daughter, has banded together with Maureen’s sisters to accuse her of false-memory syndrome, and Mauri herself has started to wonder if, surrounded by drunks, druggies, psychotics, and treacherously solicitous mental health professionals, she might not be a bit mental instead of just convalescing from a recent breakdown. Determined to keep Chief Inspector Joe McEwan and her own worst fears at bay, she follows a trail of haunted informants who link Douglas Brady’s death to a series of crimes more nightmarish than even Mauri could have imagined. Even apart from its dark secrets, it’s easy to see why this witches’ brew won the John Creasey Award for Best First Novel. Mina writes with a pen dipped alternately in gallows humor and rage.

Pub Date: April 1st, 1999
ISBN: 0-7867-0612-0
Page count: 352pp
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: March 1st, 1999


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