Monday, July 9, 2012

Gritty Crime Fiction

When Ian Rankin finished up his Inspector Rebus series, I was devastated. I had followed his career over the span of 17 books and almost 20 years. I couldn't imagine another author capturing that same feel - the underbelly of Scotland, the dourness and the grit. I'm thrilled to have found Denise Mina's series featuring Alex Morrow, a tough, female detective inspector. The Glasgow backdrop makes a change from Rankin's Edinburgh and Mina does a great job with the dialog. You can hear the strangulated vowels leap off the page as you read.

Still Midnight, the first in the series, opens with a home invasion and kidnapping. The criminals are inept and unsure of themselves. The situation is almost funny, until an accidental shot ups the stakes. DI Alex Morrow is assigned to the case, but not in the leading role she feels she deserves.

Alex  Morrow is just the sort of heroine I love - smart and tough, but also flawed. She is prickly with her colleagues and insubordinate with her boss. Due to a recent bereavement, her relationship with her husband has deteriorated almost beyond repair. She has a lot of family baggage that she does not want to interfere with her police work. Her brother is still a part of the criminal world that Alex left behind when she joined the police. Mina weaves the personal stories with the action.

Still Midnight is followed by another excellent book, The End of the Wasp Season. The third in the series, Gods and Beasts due out early next year. Can't wait!


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