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Gods and Beasts: A Novel (Alex Morrow Novels) Hardcover – February 26, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

A post-office robbery in Glasgow turns deadly at the start of Mina’s latest sharp thriller starring Strathclyde Detective Sergeant Alex Morrow. In the midst of the heist, elderly Brendan Lyons hands off his grandson to an unsuspecting stranger, then assists the AK-47-toting thief in filling bag after bag with cash. Lyons’ attempt to keep the peace backfires; the gunman shoots him in the back as he carries the score to the door. Was Lyons, a well-known local activist, in on the crime from the get-go? Meanwhile, more trouble is brewing around town. Charismatic politician Kenny Gallagher faces allegations of an affair with a very young woman, and two of Morrow’s colleagues steal money from a drug deal but then, in a crisis of conscience, come clean about the deed. Award-winning Scottish crime writer Mina (The End of the Wasp Season, 2011) once again demonstrates her command of the police procedural, creating a compelling cast of characters, from the likable to the loathsome, and deftly linking the plots in a chilling ending. --Allison Block

Review

PRAISE FOR GODS AND BEASTS:

"If you don't love Denise Mina, you don't love crime fiction. I guarantee Gods and Beasts will be one of your top books of the year."―Val McDermid, author of The Retribution

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Product Details

  • Series: Alex Morrow Novels
  • Hardcover: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books; First Edition edition (February 26, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316188522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316188524
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1.2 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #875,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Denise Mina was born in Glasgow in 1966. Because of her father's job as an engineer, the family followed the north sea oil boom of the seventies around Europe, moving twenty one times in eighteen years from Paris to the Hague, London, Scotland and Bergen. She left school at sixteen and did a number of poorly paid jobs: working in a meat factory, bar maid, kitchen porter and cook. Eventually she settle in auxiliary nursing for geriatric and terminal care patients.
At twenty one she passed exams, got into study Law at Glasgow University and went on to research a PhD thesis at Strathclyde University on the ascription of mental illness to female offenders, teaching criminology and criminal law in the mean time.
Misusing her grant she stayed at home and wrote a novel, 'Garnethill' when she was supposed to be studying instead.
'Garnethill' won the Crime Writers' Association John Creasy Dagger for the best first crime novel and was the start of a trilogy completed by 'Exile' and 'Resolution'.
A fourth novel followed, a stand alone, named 'Sanctum' in the UK and 'Deception' in the US.

In 2005 'The Field of Blood' was published, the first of a series of five books following the career and life of journalist Paddy Meehan from the newsrooms of the early 1980s, through the momentous events of the nineteen nineties. The second in the series was published in 2006, 'The Dead Hour' and the third will follow in 2007.
She also writes comics and wrote 'Hellblazer', the John Constantine series for Vertigo, for a year, published soon as graphic novels called 'Empathy is the Enemy' and 'The Red Right Hand'. She has also written a one-off graphic novel about spree killing and property prices called 'A Sickness in the Family' (DC Comics forthcoming).
In 2006 she wrote her first play, "Ida Tamson" an adaptation of a short story which was serialised in the Evening Times over five nights. The play was part of the Oran Mor 'A Play, a Pie and a Pint' series, starred Elaine C. Smith and was, frankly, rather super.
As well as all of this she writes short stories published various collections, stories for BBC Radio 4, contributes to TV and radio as a big red face at the corner of the sofa who interjects occasionally, is writing a film adaptation of Ida Tamson and has a number of other projects on the go.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Kiki S on March 29, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I keep feeling disappointed with Denise Mina. I was stunned by and absolutely loved the Garnethill Trilogy. The dialogue was so rich, the characters complex and the tension palpable. I read all of the Paddy Meehan books hoping for the same intensity. It wasn't all there but I felt compelled to continue. With Alex Morrow, I feel lost. There isn't the same conviction in the rendering of characters. The dialogue is bland. And, the story lines are convoluted. I keep reading in hope that I will find that same charge I felt with her first books. Maybe she has changed editors? Regardless... She IS a good writer and creates characters about whom you want to know more. And, I actually think this latest Alex Morrow is the best so far.
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Format: Hardcover
Glasgow's Detective Sergeant Alex Morrow's latest investigation begins with a shocking Post Office murder just before Christmas, where an old man is cut down by a gun-wielding robber, the man's grandson passed off to a tattooed bystander just before the shooting. The fact that the victim recognized the perpetrator and offered some assistance adds an unexpected twist to the case, but does little to lead Morrow and her detectives any closer to identifying the shooter. Mina's detective protagonist is yet another example of the author's talent for fleshing out females in leadership roles, savvy and efficient but with private lives that add dimension to their career choices. Morrow has twin boys at home and a supportive husband, an oasis of comfort against the violence of her job, a nightly respite. When Alex is on the job, she is relentless, this random murder opening up a Pandora's box of criminal enterprise, political corruption and the clash between the old ways and the new in a changing society.

The author's intimate knowledge of territory, personality and local customs gives her work a distinct Glaswegian flavor, in this case extreme pressure to solve a very public case with few cooperative witnesses to assist police and an undercurrent of graft that bedevils the department. One anomaly is the stranger who held the dead man's grandson, Martin Pavel, an enigmatic individual covered in bizarre tattoos who fits obliquely into the investigation, yet inserts himself directly into the action.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Keris Nine on June 30, 2013
Format: Hardcover
You can tell from the origin of the title alone that Denise Mina's has literary ambitions far beyond regular crime fiction set in Glasgow. The title is drawn from Aristotle - "Those who live outside the city walls, and are self-sufficient, are either Gods or Beasts" and the novel is indeed less concerned with crime investigation than the implications for everyone - criminals, police officers, the general public, innocent bystanders - who, like it or not, are caught up in this power struggle over who is going to come out on top. The implication of course is that it's not so easy to tell the Gods and the Beasts apart, but that's about the only thing you can take for granted in this remarkable book.

There's not a single cliche in Denise Mina's writing. It gets beyond the conventions of regular crime fiction and finds a way to get to the bigger truths that lie behind it. There are no stock characters here either - police officers, gangland criminals, single mums, sleazy politicians (well ok, an honest politician would be more of a novelty, but hardly realistic) - everyone has a complex inner lives and unexpected connections and relations with people from other walks of life. It's in how Mina draws those together through three interrelated events that Gods and Beasts goes way beyond the crime investigation to individual psychological make-up and the sociological questions it raises about the incidence and the nature of crime in modern society.

There's a phrase used right at the very end of the book, when one of the characters, believing he has survived an attempt to topple him from his position of power (or at least his deluded ideal of self-importance), suddenly recognises that there is something "vaguely sinister" about his position now.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful By rww- Michigan on March 14, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Great writing, good story lines, disappointed ending. Maybe it was just me, but all the individual storylines just didn't mesh well for me. It was like reading 4 separate shirt stories with just a hint of commonality running through each of them, and the expected tie in at the end just didn't happen.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By P. Taylor on March 10, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was recommended by Amazon after I finished the new Rebus book.I had never heard of Mina, but took a chance, since I love reading mysteries strong on setting. While much more sparing in her description, her unique story makes her a comparable storyteller to Ian Rankin. The tough, gritty description of Glasgow does not disappoint. Then I found myself hooked on the characters. The author has created unique individuals whose stories are intertwined in unexpected twists. Chief Inspector Morrow has become my favorite woman cop. While the impact of her personal life on the job plays a role in explaining the full person, she is a dedicated professional, swimming against a sea of corruption. She is tough, but fair.

Other reviews have included great summaries of Gods and Beasts. As far as I'm concerned, this is one of the best books I have read in the last year or so, and am delighted to recommend it. One prediction: you won't forget the tattooed man!
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