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The Red Road: A Novel (Alex Morrow) Hardcover – February 25, 2014

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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Prickly, unflinching DI Alex Morrow’s (Gods and Beasts, 2013) career success is the result of delivering solid evidence, definitely not from political victories. She’s ­single-mindedly focused on that delivery in her testimony against Michael Brown, who’s accused of smuggling arms for a Glasgow money-laundering crew just a few short years after serving a sentence for murdering his brother, Pinkie. Moments after testifying, Morrow is notified that Brown’s fingerprints have appeared at a fresh murder scene. Brown has been locked up, however, convincing Morrow that the new fingerprints are a maneuver to cast doubt on his current charges. Even so, all three cases involving Michael Brown rely on fingerprint evidence, so she’ll have to sort out which case is corrupted to nail his conviction. As Morrow works backward toward Brown’s 1997 murder arrest, Mina plays out the night of Pinkie’s murder through cops, attorneys, and a young girl named Rose, who have all left their mark on Brown’s story. Sharp, honest, and conflicted, Morrow is the kind of detective readers love, and they’ll groan for her as she detects the too-familiar taint of corruption and as her personal connections to Glasgow’s underworld create practical and emotional obstacles. Mina’s at the top of her game here, deftly unveiling the sad truths of the past and present to create a gritty must-read for fans of complex, psychological police procedurals. --Christine Tran


"If anyone can make you root for the murderer, it's Denise Mina, whose defiantly unsentimental novels are less concerned with personal guilt than with the social evils that create criminals and the predators who nurture them. . . [The Red Road is] as fierce a story as any Mina has written."—Marilyn Stasio, The New York Times Book Review

"Edgar-finalist Mina's fourth novel featuring Glasgow Det. Insp. Alex Morrow (after 2013's Gods and Beasts) is perhaps her finest yet, a brilliantly crafted tale of corruption, ruined lives, and the far-reaching ripple effects of crime."—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"Ms. Mina's narrative is full of suspense, fresh dialogue and sharp glimpses of all sorts of characters. Most interesting of all to watch is Morrow herself."—Tom Nolan, Wall Street Journal

The plot is as compelling as it is intricate. Denise Mina grows in assurance and becomes more accomplished with every book; and this one is a cracker, beautifully worked-out, every scene serving a purpose. It demands concentration from the reader, but the story is so gripping that you are likely to hurry along, eager to learn how the plot unfolds. Eventually you arrive at a splendid abrupt and laconic conclusion, which rightly leaves some questions open. Then I suggest you may want to go back to savour the details, for this is that rare thing, a crime novel that invites, and benefits from, a second reading.—Allan Massie, The Scotsman


"Mina deftly stitches [the story lines] together in time for a powerful climax...Mina again plumbs the depth of the grungy Scottish metropolis, capturing political posturing, class differences, and familial dynamics with equal aplomb... Morrow [is] fast become one of the most intriguing cops in crime fiction. Fans of smart, character-driven procedurals will want to snatch this one up."—Library Journal

Extraordinary Praise for Denise Mina:

"Until further notice, just assume you should buy everything Denise Mina publishes."—Entertainment Weekly

"Excellent...Mina ups the stakes by taking us into the dark, beating heart of modern Glasgow, where the real deals are struck and the spoils divided."—Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)

"With subtle humor and a keen eye for the darkness that lurks behind clean, well-lighted lives, Denise Mina confirms her reputation as one of the genre's brightest stars."—George Pelecanos

"[A] thoughtful look at how good people can go bad."—Marilyn Stasio, New York Times Book Review

"Satisfying...thrilling....With consummate ease and flawless timing, Mina untangles the knot, leaving intact the enmeshed world she has so convincingly created."—Christian Science Monitor

"Mina is adept at portraying Glasgow's blunt and often harsh nature-but also at finding sparks of humanity and humor in even the dumbest of criminals."—Adam Woog, Seattle Times

"Like her fellow Scot, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, Mina relishes combining elements of the uncanny with crisp insights into the various diseases of the human psyche."—Maureen Corrigan,

"A piercing tale that should cement Mina's rep as one of crime fiction's finest."—People

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Product Details

  • Series: Alex Morrow
  • Hardcover: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1St Edition edition (February 25, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316188514
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316188517
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.9 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (61 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #300,730 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

Helps to have read earlier novels.
Michael A Musen
The author breathes such life into her characters that you feel a participant, not just an observer, of the story.
If you like a good mystery story don't pass her up.
Marilyn A. Land

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Bookreporter on March 5, 2014
Format: Hardcover
When you think about it, nothing could be less logical than to put all mystery fiction under a single heading. What does a cerebral sleuth like Sherlock Holmes have in common with noir gumshoe Philip Marlowe? How does a serial-killer shocker resemble a tidy puzzle from Agatha Christie? They have murder in common, but little more.

Denise Mina’s mysteries are in a category all their own (call it Gritty Scottish Urban); they push so insistently against the boundaries of the genre that I would hesitate to group them with anyone else’s work. They are brilliantly written, first of all (not a lazy sentence in sight); more important, they really take on crime: its roots, varieties and consequences. Her murderers are not necessarily villains, and her detectives rarely heroes of the conventional sort. Add a harsh setting like Glasgow, where Mina lives, and it’s difficult to call her books escapist in any sense. THE RED ROAD is, I think, even bleaker than its nine predecessors. Which is not to say it isn’t wonderful. Just don’t expect a tame thriller.

This is the third of Mina’s novels about Detective Inspector Alex Morrow, a woman as complicated as her cases. Morrow isn’t well liked by her coworkers, partly because she turned in a dishonest cop (who happened to be her partner), partly because she is a woman, partly because her brother is a gangster, and partly because she refuses to compromise --- not a good quality if she wants to be promoted to an administrative post. Not to mention that motherhood (she has twins) does not really mesh with police work: “She was spread so thin that she could feel her hard-won career running through her exhausted fingers.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Kate Vane on February 23, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
DI Alex Morrow is an agreeably flawed character. She wears cheap suits. She gets things wrong. She loves her twins but is always working late. She wants to get on but she can't play the political game.

The Morrow novels are not whodunnits. The reader is often inside the head of the criminals, we see how they think, we are challenged to consider what we would have done in their place. In The Red Road, this is particularly true of Rose, a young girl who kills her abuser and whose life is transformed - but not in the way you might expect.

Because of the way the story is told, we always know more than Morrow, as she deals with a number of apparently unconnected cases. Our interest is in how the characters react to the unfolding investigations. The downside is that at times with this novel I felt I was treading water, waiting for Morrow to jump through the obligatory procedural hoops to catch up, but there is a further twist at the end.

Mina's novels portray a dark, morally ambiguous world. In The Red Road, we find ourselves identifying with people who we think of as bad, and unable to trust those who are supposed to be good. It is a page-turner that asks some satisfyingly complex questions. The crimes may be solved, but the reader has to decide whether justice has been done.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Stanley Crowe TOP 1000 REVIEWER on March 2, 2014
Format: Hardcover
NOTE: Spoilers avoided.

Detective-Inspector Alex Morrow is the antithesis of Jack Reacher, whose latest escapades were the subject of the most recent thriller I read (and enjoyed). She's vulnerable herself -- sister to a Glasgow mobster, mother of twin infants -- and has sympathies with people under stress, some of them capable of violence and even mayhem. And she works in Glasgow, in a police force which is (as the genre requires) less than squeaky-clean. In this well-plotted story, two fifteen- year-old murders prove disturbingly relevant to a case Morrow is working on. Mina isn't afraid to narrate from within the consciousnesses of the good and the bad in a way that humanizes both, although fans of this genre will recognize that she is selective about those characters whose consciousness she enters. One consequence of Mina's manipulation of point-of-view is that it enables her to drop the clues the reader needs in a way that doesn't make the reader's work too easy: the engagement of our psychological and sympathetic interest distracts us just enough to enable Mina to set out the information that will, by the end, be plausibly connected. What Mina makes us realize is that what we might be tempted to label"corruption" covers a multitude of different behaviors, some of which we can understand and even come close to approving. So this is far from Lee Child territory, and even has a dimension that isn't exploited by the excellent Ian Rankin. Denise Mina's novels, then, are distinctive and engaging, and so is her heroine.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By prisrob TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 17, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Denise Mina is one of my favorite authors and I have many. It took me a couple of chapters to get into this book, but when I did I could not put it down. This can be a stand alone book, but it much easier to fall into the flow of the book to understand the intracacies of the family and police

DI Alex Morrow loves her job in the Glasgow CID. Her last big case ended up with her putting her ex-partner behind bars. That put a crimp in her career, but this new case may give her some momentum. She is testifying about the sale of arms to criminals in Pakistan and is brought into another investigation concerning her prisoner, Michael Brown. His fingerprints are found at a recent murder, and he was in jail at the time. This could not be, and Alex needs to figure this out. What a mess she finds herself in, and her brother becomes involved in this messy case. Alex has one year old wins, her husband is the caretaker, and it sounds like the poor man is becoming very tired of this role. Money is tight, and Alex is busy, a woman tor between her children and her job.

On the other end is the criminal group who has become the mastermind behind the on-going gun running, money laundering in this vicinity. Moving from 1997 we are given the history of some of the people involved in this group. Their real lives and loves. and it does not stop with the criminals, as you begin to suspect some legal and police minds are in this mix. This is a fast paced novel with many characters to get to know. On the whole this is a convoluted and complicated series, and , as the last page unfolds, we wonder, will DI Alex Morrow continue in her line of work?

Recommended. prisrob 03-17-14
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