Reading dates: 11-28 April 2020
I like this last novel by Denise Mina a lot more than her acclaimed The Long Drop. It all starts with a podcast and it took me back to listening to, and getting into, the first season of Serial. In the acknowledgements, Mina intimates she found the gestation of this book long and complicated. When reading, it does not feel overworked or over edited. There is a freshness and a softness to the writing, a wonderful balance of landscapes and settings (Glasgow, the Highlands, coastal France, Venice, Paris …). The resolution—the biggest area of disappointment with crime novels—is not long drawn and the main characters have some charm. Sure, it is not too groundbreaking and I feel more could have been done with the podcast but some scenes (on the train from Venice to Milan for example, or the Inverness airport carpark) are very memorable and well written, with a tone and inner monologue similar to Ferrante’s Neapolitan quartet. Taking that further in crime fiction could be a true innovation which is why Denise Mina is still one of my favourites.