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Still Midnight [Kindle Edition]

Denise Mina
3.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (85 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $14.99
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.00 (33%)
Sold by: Hachette Book Group

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Book Description

Alex Morrow is not new to the police force-or to crime-but there is nothing familiar about the call she has just received. On a still night in a quiet suburb of Glasgow, Scotland, three armed men have slipped from a van into a house, demanding a man who is not, and has never been, inside the front door. In the confusion that ensues, one family member is shot and another kidnapped, the assailants demanding an impossible ransom. Is this the amateur crime gone horribly wrong that it seems, or something much more unexpected?

As Alex falls further into the most challenging case of her career, Denise Mina proves why "if you don't read crime novels, Mina is your reason to change" (Rocky Mountain News).


Editorial Reviews

From Bookmarks Magazine

Critics called Still Midnight an auspicious debut to Mina's new police procedural series, and its heroine "just as beguiling as O'Donnell and Meehan"--and just as dark, rude, and troubled by gender politics (Times). Although the novel contains the same wry wit and compassion that mark her other books, here Mina casts a sharp eye on her characters' mental states, blurring the lines between the villains and the good guys as she explores their life trajectories. The only criticism was that this focus on inner motives and personal tragedies overwhelms the plot. A minor complaint: critics are anxiously awaiting the next in the series. Also see our discussion of Mina on page 17 of this issue.

From Booklist

Eddy and Pat, two Glasgow yobs, are hired to snatch a man named Bob from a modest home in a Glasgow suburb and hold him for a two-million-pound ransom. They botch the job, finding no one named Bob, accidentally shooting a teenage girl, and snatching the girl’s father, a Ugandan émigré who owns a none-too-prosperous convenience store. Police-department sexism leads to DS Alex Morrow’s dim rival, Grant Bannerman, being placed in charge of the investigation; but Alex’s efforts uncover the only leads in the case. An award-winning crime novelist, Mina knows her gritty hometown, and Still Midnight offers a stunning portrait of transcendent bleakness. Alex is close to a breakdown; curiously, we don’t learn the full why for 270 pages. The kidnap victim is haunted by his mother’s rape as they fled Uganda. Even Eddy and Pat are tormented. Similarly, Glasgow is vividly portrayed as an avatar of urban poverty, violence, and utter despair; the lashing rains and raw winds of October in Scotland only serve to deepen the sense of desperation. Grim but compelling. --Thomas Gaughan

Product Details

  • File Size: 879 KB
  • Print Length: 353 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0316015636
  • Publisher: Reagan Arthur Books; 1 edition (March 22, 2010)
  • Sold by: Hachette Book Group
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00351DSFU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #54,490 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
43 of 44 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Scotland comes alive March 28, 2010
By EJ
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I am a huge fan of Denise Mina's books, for the simple reason that she is able to make mystery/thriller types of books more layered and atmospheric than just your average procedural. This book is one of those, as Glasgow comes alive on the page with Mina's deft descriptions.

Still Midnight takes place over approximately a 2-day period, and follows several threads told from different perspectives: the story of the police as they try to discover who has kidnapped an elderly shopowner, the man's family as they struggle with the crime, the kidnappers, and victim himself. With her usual flair, the author creates an atmosphere and characters that go much deeper than just the mystery at the book's center, and includes examinations of race and class in present-day Scotland.

In summary: I very much enjoyed the new lead character, Alex Morrow, and look forward to seeing her in more books, but the too-tidy ending kept this one from getting 5 stars from me.

One final note for buyers who are not fans of naughty language: beware. To me, the language lends credibility and atmosphere to the book, but others may not enjoy it.
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20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
With the focus on perpetually angry DS Alex Morrow, the working and criminal class neighborhoods of Mina's Glasgow provide the gritty atmosphere of this dark, but almost slapstick thriller.

The story opens as three fairly dim thugs botch a home invasion, Pat and Eddy going in screaming for a guy named Bob. Who is not among the three generations of Islamic Asians who live in the house. One of whom is a rebellious girl. "Aleesha was a teenager and therefore interested in the world only as it spoke about her. She saw Pat like her, long for her to like him back, and despite her bewilderment and terror, his frank admiration warmed her."

But things are not yet done going wrong. After an accidental shooting, the men grab the oldest and smallest of the household - the patriarch Aamir. Thrust into their van with a pillowcase over his head, "Time began to melt." He finds himself back in a world of terror, escaping from Uganda as a child with his mother.

Meanwhile the lead on the case has been given to the squad's male DS, Bannerman, a devious blockhead and her junior, but a smoother soul altogether. Morrow is furious, but then she's always furious. "She knew her anger was disproportionate and scattered, leaking from her like water through a sock. It was being noticed, remarked upon in her assessments. It's nothing, she said, it's about nothing."

The plot is a suspenseful procedural interwoven with scenes from the viewpoints of the hapless criminals and their captive, but as with all Mina's work, plot defers to character, which unfolds in tandem with the story. Even the perps, with their Three Stooges ineptitude, become real people before Mina is done with them.

Though Morrow is a little too prickly to inspire the affection of, say, journalist Paddy Meehan (A Field of Blood, The Dead Hour, Slip of the Knife), readers will look forward to seeing more of her.
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14 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Format:Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product (What's this?)
For eight days, I tried to like this book. I love good mysteries and I love good police procedurals. As many of my reviews show, I'll willingly sacrifice sleep and stay up into the wee hours of the morning to finish a crackling good story. That it took me eight days to get through this should tell you something. And that I seriously doubt I'll ever pick up another Denise Mina book should tell you more.

Mrs. Mina does write well - this is not poorly crafted prose per se - it's more that the storyline and the characters are flat and uninspiring.

The book begins well - a kidnapping and shooting in what seems to be the wrong house. A great premise. *sigh* A great premise strangled by a relatively unlikeable detective protagonist, a kidnapping victim who is not terribly sympathetic (he's more pitiful - there's a point where he contemplates suicide and you actually think to yourself, "Well now, finally this is going to get back to being interesting..."), a love story which is simply not plausible - it's more superficial, like a hack Hollywood script - and group of kidnappers who are equally pathetic and, ironically, at least two of whom you start to root for.

A number of stereotypes abound in the book: the criminal who doesn't want to be a criminal; the Asian store owner (note that in the book, he is referred to as a Ugandan Asian - yeah, no kidding - as if the attempt to claim he was a Uganda refugee shows he's not a stereotype although he's Muslim with an Arabic name who banks at the Bank of Pakistan ... so is he from Africa or the Middle East?); a tough-as-nails female detective with a crumbling marriage; a self-serving detective colleague who sets up our female detective protagonist and constantly backstabs her.... Enough already.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Keeps You Hooked Until the Last Line June 4, 2010
Format:Hardcover
A home invasion seemingly pulled off by "the gang who couldn't shoot straight" is how Denise Mina opens STILL MIDNIGHT. Two thugs push their way into a small, quiet house and demand to see "Bob," someone who evidently doesn't belong to this Muslim family. The miscreants demand two million pounds in ransom for the patriarch whom they kidnap. And in the panic and confusion, one of the men shoots the teenage daughter by mistake.

Det. Sgt. Alex Morrow, a troubled and very angry cop, believes the case should be hers but is betrayed by her superior when the honors go to her rival, Grant Bannerman, an arrogant careerist who takes credit for work done by his underlings. Morrow is smarter and faster on her feet than Bannerman, but she still must march to his tune, at least this time. She had to work her way into her new promotion while he used other tactics to become a detective sergeant.

Both Bannerman and Morrow harbor secrets they would rather their bosses didn't untangle. Bannerman is very uncertain of himself and has a sick mother. Morrow knows she is too mad at the world but finds it hard to hold her tongue or temper. She also would prefer that the powers-that-be not learn about her criminal half-brother.

Eddy, Pat and Malki (the getaway driver) are the criminals and take poor Aamir Anwar to Shugie's house, a pigsty beyond all belief. They keep him there shrouded in a pillowcase, which is how they begin to think of him and thus call him "the pillowcase." When they finally decide to move him, it's to a huge rusted container of some sort. They lock him in, with Malki as the guard, another plan that goes terribly awry and has a deadly outcome.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good read, but strange ending.
I really liked the story and the way it unfolded, but
the ending let me down a bit. it seemed like the writer was accelerating to the end, just trying quickly to connect all... Read more
Published 8 days ago by Killieboy
5.0 out of 5 stars It's a good read - she's a good writer
Saw her on Craig Ferguson's show so I bought the book. It's a good read - she's a good writer.
Published 19 days ago by RMG
4.0 out of 5 stars A case of mistaken identity or something far more sinister?
The first book in a new series by Denise Mina introduces use to Detective Inspector Alex Morrow. She is from Glasgow and is frustrated when a prime case is handed over to the... Read more
Published 26 days ago by Michelle Boytim
5.0 out of 5 stars She is probably one of the very best authors in the world
She is probably one of the very best authors in the world. She is gutsy and smart. Her characters are right of the streets of Scotland and you feel for them all the way through. Read more
Published 26 days ago by Marilyn A. Land
3.0 out of 5 stars great potential
Great potential but somehow unfulfilling enough with the mother stories from Uganda and the bandit fantasies about the woman he accidently shot. Enjoyed it . Read more
Published 2 months ago by md
5.0 out of 5 stars Big Denise Mina fan
Love her multi-dimensional characters, her feisty women, and great plot lines. I have to write a few more words to meet Amazon's stupid word minimum
Published 2 months ago by M. Murphy
3.0 out of 5 stars Good, but
This was my first Denise Mina, and I liked it, but I could not get into the story as much as I thought I would, Alex is intriguing though. I'll try another.
Published 3 months ago by Susan E. Baird
1.0 out of 5 stars Totally insipid, not worth the paper it was printed on
Didn't even donate it to the local public library, as I usually do with most books. Just dropped it in the trash.
Published 3 months ago by Gregory Jacob
4.0 out of 5 stars Made me want to read the rest of the series
It took me a while to get into this book, but the writing is great in places and the characterization is very carefully drawn out. Read more
Published 3 months ago by Beanaboo
4.0 out of 5 stars I like books with female detectives
This is the first in the series with a detective that of course doesn't always get the credit for her work, but is learning how to work the system. Read more
Published 4 months ago by joyce
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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.

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