Conviction by Denise Mina

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Conviction by Denise Mina

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Category: Thrillers
Rating: 4/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: Unusually for Denise Mina Conviction is a thriller which will trap you until you get to the final page. A good read.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 384 Date: May 2019
Publisher: Harvill Secker
External links: Author's website
ISBN: 978-1911215257

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It's strange how the worst of days can start in such an ordinary, mundane way. And so it was for Anna McDonald as she sorted out gym kit and packed lunches for her two daughters. It didn't begin to go wrong until she opened the door to her best friend, Estelle and realised that her husband was at the top of the stairs, dressed as though for a holiday rather than the work clothes she'd been expecting - and he was carrying a suitcase. He and Estelle were leaving together - and they were taking Anna's two daughters with them. There was another problem which neither Hamish nor Estelle knew about. Anna wasn't actually Anna McDonald. She was Sophie Bukaran, the woman who had been involved in the rape case against four footballers.

The footballers had been found innocent, but the case didn't end there for Sophie. She was outed on social media and pursued, not just by the trolls, but by the woman who was backing the football club - and when Gretchen Teigler pursued someone she wanted them dead. Sophie changed her name and laid low. In time she met and married the aristocratic Hamish and became a housewife, a mother and a woman who was careful to hide the scar which ran through her eyebrow.

Estelle's husband was Fin Cohen, equally famous for being a musician and for being severely anorexic. On the day that Estelle left, Fin came to see Anna, perhaps not knowing whether he sought comfort, explanation or reassurance. What he didn't expect was to find himself whisked off to prove that a woman imprisoned for the murder of three people was actually innocent and that Leon Parker, one of the victims in the sinking of a boat, was not the guilty party either. When Anna started listening to Death and the Dana, a MisoNetwork podcast she realised that she knew Leon Parker and even though it was many years ago and their meetings were fleeting, she couldn't believe that he was a killer.

I had to suspend disbelief at the way that Anna transitioned from being a housewife and mother to being the driving force to unmask the real killers of the three people who set sail so innocently on the Dana only for it to explode and sink in the Bay of Biscay. Still, once I was past that point I was caught up in a breakneck chase. The characterisation is excellent and Denise Mina handles Anna McDonald with a particular skill, given that she's really two characters in one. I liked Fin Cohen too: he's used to being recognised and has come to terms with the fact that everybody has a view on his eating disorder. He cares, about his wife and about Anna, if not necessarily about the people who sank with the Dana.

The plot is good, if not brilliant. I really prefer Mina as the writer of police procedurals but I enjoyed Conviction and I'd like to thank the publishers for making a copy available to the Bookbag.

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