Tag Archives: denise mina

Quick Review: Mina’s Blood, Salt, Water

Denise Mina

Denise Mina

Denise Mina writes crime novels, suspenseful ones, full of complicated characters and often tinged with a kind of sorrow.  Her latest is Blood, Salt, Water, featuring Glasgow’s DI Alex Morrow, and it’s not to be missed.

The book  starts with a woman’s murder.  It’s premeditated and it’s brutal.  The murderer is a low-life, he’s done time, and he’s none too bright.  But in Mina’s hands, we learn he is much more.  The killer, Iain Fraser, is trapped in a small town that’s run by a hard man and everybody knows what’s what, but nobody’s saying.  Iain’s a loyal man who’s trying to save the friend who’s like a brother to him, desperate to pay off his friend’s debt and save his life.  And so Iain bludgeons a woman to death with the help of another small-time criminal.

But that single crime ties into a bigger criminal conspiracy, and bad guys being what they are, various tangents.  Morrow and her team must untangle them all.   The book ends with some justice done, but not all.  Because that’s how life is, in Mina’s Scotland.  And real life, too.

bloodBlood, Sweat, Water is the fifth in the Alex Morrow series and a great all-around read. It’s a police procedural with a female protagonist who is truly three dimensional.  While each book can easily stand alone, you are best served by reading them in order, as the as there is plot progress and character growth through the series.

Want more Mina?  She has two other series to check out, so visit her website.

Reviews: Relatively random, recent

As always, I’ve been reading.  But due to big doings in the land of dentists, I haven’t been doing much reviewing.  So here’s an effort to get caught up, with quickie reviews of several recent reads.

The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina:  Mina’s a Scottish crime writer with a psychological bent.  I love her series about journalist Paddy Meehan, which are a thick stew of family ties, misguided loyalty, and criminal undertaking.  The End of the Wasp Season features Detective Inspector Alex Morrow in a twisty tale of crime and family tragedy.  You see it all coming, but are fascinated anyway.   Well worth reading.

Headhunters by Jo Nesbo:  I liked Nesbo’s Harry Hole series and reviewed Nemesis here.  Alas, I cannot say the same for Headhunters.  Meant to be darkly humorous, I found it to be an unpleasant story of a criminal who works as a highly successful executive recruiter by day and rips off his clients by night.  He’s shocked to realize that the latest executive he’s recruiting is his wife’s lover.  I bailed on the book when he’s being chased by even worse bad guys than he is, hides in an outhouse, and is shat upon by his wife’s lover.   Farvel, Jo.

A Death in Summer by Benjamin Black:  This was on Julia Keller’s top books of 2011 , and reading her write-up reminded me how much I enjoyed his previous work featuring Quirke and Hackett, Elegy for April.  Once again, the writing is keen and lovely, the characters well-drawn, and the relationships are interesting.  The only down side for me was the cliche upon which the plot turned – evil, self-centered  rich man has a charity involving small children in orphanages.  How surprising is it that perversity is at the heart of his murder?  Still, it was a quick, engrossing read.

Bone by Bone by Carol O’Connell:  I mentioned in this blog post that I chatted with a fellow reader on the el – she was reading Bone by Bone as we sat side by side, and I had The Chalk Girl in my backpack.   Upon further reflection, I realized that I had missed this standalone mystery and got it from the library.  Bone by Bone has a lot in common with    O’Connell’s series featuring Kathy Mallory, the former feral child cum detective savant:  quirky characters and a mystery rooted in the past.   Despite its somewhat convoluted plot, Bone by Bone is ultimately a more linear book than the Mallory books.  I’d give this one a middling thumbs up.