Reading dates: 09 February – 14 March 2014
Glasgow is an eerie place, the perfect setting for crime fiction, and if the stories are told by as talented a writer as Denise Mina, even better. The central character of this novel, Paddy Meehan, shares her name with the infamous robber who suffered a miscarriage of justice. Their two narratives are intertwined and, in a sense, this gives the novel a body others don’t have. Makes it graspable, not just a tale of some crime that happens to someone and is committed by someone who takes shape as the reading progresses. This novel offers a situated reading, in a particular time and place in history, just like her Garnethill trilogy. This is not to say that it is historical crime fiction, just that the work is rooted, nicely weighted.
I give very few 4* or above for crime fiction: The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (which Mina adapted for a comic book), The Black Dahlia and Nineteen Seventy Four. Sure, Mina’s prose is frictionless, perhaps too easy to read, but this does not mean that it is as poor writing as some Lee Child or Jo Nesbo. Her style is rhythmic, well crafted and elegant, even if it does not stick as much as it should. I love the vernacular too. She is my favourite crime writer and I cannot wait to hear her speak at Aye write this year.