24 August 2011

Review: STILL MIDNIGHT, Denise Mina - audio

Publisher's Blurb

It’s the case that could make DS Alex Morrow’s career. A suburban home invaded in the dead of night and a vulnerable old man taken hostage. It’s a black and white case and it shouldn’t be hard to solve….

The two strangers who forced their way into the house demanded millions the family didn’t have and shouted for a man nobody had heard of. It had to be a mistake, and a bad one at that. But Alex Morrow can’t be depended on and the bosses know it. Working this case is tearing her apart and as it unravels, Morrow finds that the only people she can bear to see are the very ones she’s been running from for 20 years.

My take:

A home invasion gone horribly wrong? Men break into a home in Glasgow looking for Bob. The Anwar family are Ugandan and deny all knowledge of Bob. Frustrated the home invaders snatch the elderly father of the family but not before shooting one of the daughters. The men say the ransom will be a million pounds.

There's a lot going on in this book. A family member sitting in a car outside the house chases the home invaders only to be stopped and questioned themselves by local police. Meanwhile they see the invaders' car driving away.

The reader follows what happens to the victim and learns the circumstances under which he became a refugee as a young man. The police try to solve the puzzle of first of all who Bob is, and then why the invaders thought they could demand such a high ransom. We also learn about how the home invaders became involved in this job.

And underneath all the other themes Mina explores the return of DS Alex Morrow to work and her relationships with her husband, her colleagues and her boss. Alex is desperate for success at any cost and she is very conscious that she has to prove herself.

This is a very gritty book and raises a number of the issues facing modern residents of Glasgow, particularly immigrants.

I need to admit though that I found this particular narration a bit problematic. Faced with a large range of characters, the narrator Katy Anderson utilised what felt to me a too heavily accented voice, with deeper tones used for females, and the male Ugandans in particular depicted with high pitched voices.

My rating: 4.5

This is the first in Mina's Alex Morrow series (courtesy Fantastic Fiction)
1. Still Midnight (2009)
2. The End of the Wasp Season (2011)
3. Gods and Beasts (2013)


Marg said...

I read the first two books by Denise Mina years ago, and really liked them, but for some reason have never read any more of them. Must get back to them!

Anonymous said...

Kerrie - Thanks for this. It's so interesting to me the difference that a narration can make! I've read more than one review where the narration completely put the reviewer off the story.

bermudaonion said...

I really want to try Mina's work - you've made it sound great!


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