Still Midnight by Denise Mina

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Still Midnight by Denise Mina

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Category: Crime
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Sue Magee
Reviewed by Sue Magee
Summary: This could be the book which takes Denise Mina to the top - well written, tightly plotted and everything you could want in a story. Highly recommended.
Buy? Yes Borrow? Yes
Pages: 368 Date: July 2009
Publisher: Orion
ISBN: 978-1409100522

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On a quiet Sunday evening in the suburbs of Glasgow an old man is kidnapped from an unassuming house. The kidnappers are incompetent – they don't seem entirely certain who it is they're after and one of them fires his gun, badly injuring a teenage girl. As they leave, taking the old man with them, they demand a ransom of two million pounds. Have they got the right house and if so, why do they think that there's so much money to be had there? DS Alex Morrow is certain that this is going to be her case – after all, she was promised – but it goes to her arch rival, DS Grant Bannerman and she is to work under his command.

The family are of immigrant stock. Aamir Anwar came to Britain with his mother after people of Asian descent were expelled from Uganda. He's been here decades but he's still not assimilated. His values for his business, for his family and his home are those he grew up with but the younger generation have mixed feeling about this. Billal seems happy to go along with tradition. He lives with his wife in one room of the family home and she's just given birth to their son. Omar, on the other hand, has just completed his law degree and the mosque doesn't have much appeal for him. Aleesha is definitely not going to follow the family traditions – at sixteen she's showing that she has a mind of her own, but having part of her hand blown away by an incompetent kidnapper has just put her in hospital.

Denise Mina has taken a real risk with her lead character and it pays off handsomely. Tradition says that lead women characters are generally likeable but Alex Morrow isn't particularly pleasant. She's curt with junior officers – some might say rude – and doesn't bother how she upsets anyone else. It's hard to avoid the conclusion that she doesn't particularly like herself. Her connections with the wrong side of the law are too close for her own comfort and she lives in constant fear of them becoming known. Her husband definitely seems to have got the dirty end of the stick. Yet somehow and almost against your better judgement you can't help but root for her. You want her to better DS Bannerman who is just too up himself for his own good.

I'm always wary when I hear an author being compared to Ian Rankin. Unfortunately it often means that someone is hoping that a little of the magic will rub off, but here it's not the publishers who are saying it. It's Ian Rankin saying that Denise Mina is one of the most exciting writers to have emerged in Britain for years – and I think he's right. She has a fresh voice, her own style and a talent for telling a good story. I'm looking forward to reading more of her work.

I'd like to thank the publishers for sending a copy to The Bookbag.

If you're looking for more new crime writers we can recommend Ann Cleeves and Chris Simms. For more from Glasgow from another crime writer to watch we can recommend The Twilight Time by Karen Campbell.

Buy Still Midnight by Denise Mina at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Still Midnight by Denise Mina at

Buy Still Midnight by Denise Mina at Amazon You can read more book reviews or buy Still Midnight by Denise Mina at


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