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Garnethill Paperback – September 20, 2007
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Garnethill (the name of a bleak Glasgow suburb) won the John Creasey Memorial Award for Best First Crime Novel--the British equivalent of the Edgar. It's a book that crackles with mordant Scottish wit and throbs with the pain of badly treated mental illness, managing to be both truly frightening and immensely exhilarating at the same time.
Maureen O'Donnell, surely one of the most unlikely crime solvers in recent history, comes from a family so seriously dysfunctional that it deserves a television series of its own. Her mother is an overly dramatic alcoholic who "could scene-steal from an eclipse"; her brother Liam is a bumbling drug dealer; and the black sheep of the family is a sister who went to London and became a Thatcherite. The troubled but gutsy Maureen decides to dump her boyfriend, Douglas--an abusive (and married) psychologist she met while a patient at a sex-abuse clinic. After a night of drinking with a friend who's a social worker, Maureen wakes up to find that Douglas has been tied to a kitchen chair in her flat with his throat slashed. As someone with both a motive and a history of mental illness, Maureen is the most likely suspect--until a second, similar murder occurs that links the crimes to a local psychiatric hospital. Denise Mina, who has a background in health care, law, and criminology, is definitely a writer to watch. --Dick Adler --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
From its opening pages, this winner of the 1998 John Creasy Memorial Award for best first crime novel pulls readers inexorably into the tortured world of sexual abuse victims and their struggle to survive as whole people. Eight months after spending almost half a year in a Glasgow psychiatric hospital devoted to treating sex abuse victims, Maureen O'Donnell is desperately trying to hold together her shattered life. Bored with her job at a theater ticket office and depressed because her affair with one of the hospital's doctors, Douglas Brady, is over, Maureen and a friend get drunk. The next morning Maureen finds Brady's body in her living room, his throat cut. With bloody footprints matching Maureen's slippers at the scene, Detective Chief Inspector Joe McEwan sets out to prove the woman's guilt. He's not alone in thinking her the culprit: to Maureen's shock, both her alcoholic mum and Douglas's politician mother also think she's the killer. Convincing them that she isn't becomes her goal. She picks up a rumor about one of the hospital therapists having sex with a patient and learns that, before his death, Douglas gave formerly hospitalized victims large sums of money. Maureen begins to suspect Douglas's killing is connected to the hospital's clinic. Did a relative of a molested client kill Douglas? Or was the deceased about to turn in a colleague who raped patients? With sharp dialogue and painfully vulnerable characters, Mina brings Maureen's world of drug dealers, broken families, sanctimonious health-care workers and debilitated victims to startling life. Maureen's valiant struggle to act sane in an insane world will leave readers seeing sex abuse victims in a new light.
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
Comparing Scottish crime writers with Ian Rankin may be a cliché, but what he and Mina both do well is to root their stories in place, bringing alive the corners and cultures of the cities which are their settings. Mina's characters travel across most parts of the city, and she recreates cafés, pubs, streets and tenement closes with an accuracy that Glasgow readers should appreciate and in which they will recognise many minor landmarks far from the tourist trail and the trendy shops and bars. And the humour (the book is tremendously funny in places), banter and psyche are very Glaswegian, dark and ironic. The excellent sense of suspense at the heart of the book is bolstered by engaging - if sometimes disturbed - characters and an intricate recreation of their Glasgow.
Who murdered Douglas and why? There seem to be plenty of people with sufficient motive, but who had the opportunity? This novel deals with the uncomfortable world of victims of sexual abuse and how they relate to a world which has already let them down. Given the setting, it is easy to understand how (and why) Maureen feels compelled to take control of the investigation herself where she can.
This novel won the 1998 John Creasy Memorial Award for best first crime novel. This will be an uncomfortable novel for some to read: Ms Mina has succeeded in creating characters whose experiences and responses to abuse are frighteningly realistic and common.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Her female lead is a flawed protagonist who does make mistakes at times.Read more