At the start of Scottish author Mina’s excellent third crime novel featuring Det. Sgt. Alex Morrow (after 2011’s The End of the Wasp Season), a lone gunman enters a Glasgow post office, where he orders the patrons to lie on the floor. An elderly gentleman hands his young grandson to a stranger and gets up to assist the robber by filling bags with cash. The gunman then cuts the old man down with a hail of bullets from his AK-47 pistol. Meanwhile, looming budget cuts and police layoffs lure two of Morrow’s subordinates into stealing a pile of dirty drug money. Finally, a former labor hero turned politician is caught up in a sex scandal with a 17-year-old female staffer. While Mina keeps Alex’s life outside of work mostly on the back burner, she ups the stakes by taking us into the dark, beating heart of modern Glasgow, where the real deals are struck and the spoils divided. (Feb.)
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."
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
During an armed robbery in a Glasgow post office, a grandfather inexplicably steps from the queue to help the gunman before being shot to smithereens. DS Alex Morrow is on the case, despite her exhaustion from having newborn twins. But what begins as a murder investigation turns into a maze of conspiracy and lies. A witness claims the grandfather recognized his killer, but the dead man's widow says it's impossible. Meanwhile, one of Morrow's trusted officers flirts with corruption, and her half-brother, Danny, a notorious gangster, is connected to a scandal that threatens a prominent politician. Although these story lines don't always appear to connect, Mina deftly stitches them together in time for a powerful climax. VERDICT In this third Alex Morrow procedural (after The End of the Wasp Season) Mina again plumbs the depths of the grungy Scottish metropolis, capturing political posturing, class differences, and familial dynamics with equal aplomb. At its center is the cranky, sympathetic Morrow, fast becoming one of the most intriguing cops in crime fiction. Fans of smart, character-driven procedurals will want to snatch this one up. [See Prepub Alert, 8/3/12.]—Annabel Mortensen, Skokie P.L., IL
Who would shoot an inoffensive retiree in the middle of an otherwise routine robbery? One minute, geology student Martin Pavel is queued up at the post office; the next, he's lying on the floor at the command of a man with a mask, an AK-47 and a very short temper. Yet Martin is a lot luckier than Brendan Lyons, the retired bus driver who offered to help the gunman collect the loot and got thoroughly shot for his trouble. It seems clear that the robber recognized the old man, but even so, why would he feel the need to kill him? DS Alexandra Morrow would love to bear down hard on the case, but as usual, there are other problems. After pulling over dicey driver Hugh Boyle, DC Tamsin Leonard and DC George Wilder have found £200,000 concealed in his car; instead of turning it in, Wilder's had the bright idea of splitting it between themselves; and the surprisingly resourceful Boyle has photographed them in possession of the loot. So, even though Alex gets a promising lead that links the gunman to the anonymous figure who menaced householder Anita Costello three years ago, Strathclyde's finest is hardly enjoying its finest hour. Higher up in the social ranks (though equally far down the ethical scale), Labour MP Kenny Gallagher is battling rumors that he's taken party volunteer Jill Bowman, 17, under more than his wing--rumors that are particularly hard to scotch since they're true. As Gallagher faces the ruin of his career, readers will wonder how Alex (The End of the Wasp Season, 2011, etc.) can possibly tie these cases together. Though the final surprise doesn't have the snap of logical inevitability, it's depressingly realistic.