Gritty in Glasgow
I discovered the author Denise Mina a few years ago and have read and enjoyed some of her newer books: The Dead Hour and Field of Blood. My colleague Jane recommended Garnethill, Mina's first novel , and I took it along on my recent vacation. I read the book quickly, mostly on a long travel day and it was very engrossing.
Reviewers often use the word gritty to describe mystery novels. To me that often means that the main characters lead rough and hard lives under less than ideal circumstances and often experience violent crimes. That definitely describes Maureen O'Donnell. Maureen lives in Glasgow. She has an abusive father, an alcoholic mother, a drug dealing brother, and is working as a ticket seller as she tries to put her life back together. And, by the way, Maureen recently spent several months in Northern Psychiatric Hospital to deal with the abuse of her childhood.
After a night of hard drinking with Liz, her best friend, she returns home to find her former (and married) lover Douglas murdered in her kitchen. Douglas was a psychiatrist at the hospital, where he met Maureen. Since the body was found in her kitchen, the police immediately treat her and her brother Liam as the prime suspects and continue to do so until there is another murder. Maureen hears a rumor of sexual abuse in the hospital, she begins to investigate. In her investigation she finds some of the patients who were abused and does eventually find the killer. She also finds a unique way to inflict justice.
By the end of the book Maureen has a new job at a shelter and a new man in her life which usually means a sequel. In fact, there are two other books in the series: Exile and Resolution and I look forward to reading them both.