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True crime?

Cover of Conviction
A review of Conviction by Denise Mina

Anna McDonald has no idea of the double whammy that's about to hit her as she starts her day in the normal fashion; getting the kids lunches and clothing ready for school while starting a new true crime podcast. The first blow comes as she listens to the opening segment of the podcast and realizes that the true crime that's being narrated features a former friend who she is now learning is dead and may have taken his family with him on a sunken yacht in the Mediterranean. Before she can absorb that news she finds out her husband is leaving her for her best friend and the pair are taking Anna's two daughters on a trip to Portugal - to give Anna time to move out of the house (so nice of them).

Now left alone in the house Anna is too stunned to even move or think. So she continues to listen to the podcast. And that decides things for her. She's going to find out what really happened to her friend because she doesn't believe he committed suicide (while murdering his family at the same time). She's joined on her quest to find the truth by Fin, the anorexic former pop star of the woman who just left with Anna's husband. And as they travel from Scotland to France to Italy chasing leads and outrunning a powerful enemy the two form an uneasy relationship - one that perhaps will make them both a little stronger.

I love Denise Mina's books. But with most of her titles I'd be judicious about placing her books into the hands of readers. Judicious about the reader, not the books. The books are excellent one and all but they are not for the faint of heart. They are gritty and sad and tough and sometimes a bit funny (in the blackest of ways), but they are not for everyone. With Conviction, Mina has changed things up a bit.** Yes Anna and Fin both have personal baggage (hers a bit more violent than his), but there's a little more caper to the tale than noir. And the sometimes fractious, but always realistic and engaging, interactions between Anna and Fin as they pursue their case (the better to be able to ignore what's going on in their marriages) made this a fast and, dare I say it?, fun read.

**This is still Mina so there is still a lot of darkness here (trigger warning for a past sexual assault) so what I found dry and funny may still be too much for some.

May 1, 2019