Garnethill by Denise Mina - Her Best

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					            Garnethill by Denise Mina

                        What Can You Say After 5 Stars

Garnethill (the name of a bleak Glasgow suburb) won the Joh n Creasey
Memorial Award for Best First Crime Novel--the British equivalent of the
Edgar. Its a book that crackles with mordant Scottish wit and throbs with
the pain of badly treated mental illness, managing to be both truly
frightening and immensely exhilarating at the same time. Maureen
ODonnell, surely one of the most unlikely crime solvers in recent history,
comes from a family so seriously dysfunctional that it deserves a
television series of its own. Her mother is an overly dramatic alcoholic who
could scene-steal from an eclipse; her brother Liam is a bumbling drug
dealer; and the black sheep of the family is a sister who went to London
and became a Thatcherite. The troubled but gutsy Maureen decides to
dump her boyfriend, Douglas--an abusive (and married) psychologist she
met while a patient at a sex-abuse clinic. After a night of drinking with a
friend whos a social worker, Maureen wakes up to find that Douglas has
been tied to a kitchen chair in her flat with his throat slashed. As s omeone
with both a motive and a history of mental illness, Maureen is the most
likely suspect--until a second, similar murder occurs that links the crimes
to a local psychiatric hospital. Denise Mina, who has a background in
health care, law, and criminology, is definitely a writer to watch. --Dick

* ISBN13: 9780316016780
* Condition: NEW
* Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark.
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"Garnethill," upon its 1998 publication, immediately put its author, Scottish-
born Denise Mina, on the map: as well it might, since it was given the John
Creasey Award for Best First Crime Novel. The author has since
published two further books to make up a Garnethill trilogy; a second
trilogy about young Paddy Meehan, Scottish female journalist; and some
standalones. Ever since this first publication, she has had to be included
in the top rank of British mystery authors, particularly female variety - that
exclusive girls club, Minette Walters, Ruth Rendell, and Mina that
specialize in psychological thrillers/suspense. And, of course, her
Glasgow-set books - she is native to the suburbs of that city-- certainly
qualify her for the exclusive Scottish mystery-writing school ---Ian Rankin,
Val McDermid, and herself -- now characterized as penning "tartan noir," a
rougher, tougher, meaner sort of mystery; generally more bloodthirsty and
violent than the norm, but lightened by that sly, mordant Scottish sense of

The book at hand introduces us to an unlucky Maureen O'Donnell, a victim
of childhood sexual abuse by her father that has resulted in her having
severe emotional problems, drinking and smoking entirely too much,
having a breakdown, and successi ve psychiatric hospitalization. But she's
out now, living in a tiny flat in one of Glasgow's grimmer neighborhoods,
working a dead-end job as cashier in a movie house. Until she wakes up
one morning, fuzzy of mouth and mind, to discover the body of her
therapist/boyfriend Douglas Brady (who was undoubtedly way out of line
from the start, on that score). He has been brutally murdered, tied to a
blue kitchen chair, with his throat slit clean through. She is, of course, the
prime police suspect, and tries to clear herself. She will discover a dark
trail of rape, deception and suppressed scandal at the local psychiatric
hospital to which she was sent that threatens to reach out and grab her
again, particularly when Martin Donough, a friendly porter at the f acility, is
murdered in a fashion the brutality of which echoes Douglas's death.

It's a raw, angry, daring novel that pulls readers into the world of those who
have suffered childhood sex abuse at the hands of their families: some of
the most vulnerable members of any society, who are punished over and
over again. We learn that one hospitalized survivor "was known as Suicide
Tanya all over the city....She was forever being dragged out of the [River]
Clyde at low tide...." We also learn about Pauline, abused by her father
and a brother of hers: but she had two brothers, and as Pauline wasn't
identifying the guilty party, nobody knew which brother was involved.
Pauline has actually successfully committed suicide, and is found with the
dried cum of an unknown party on her body.

We also learn quite a bit about the flora and fauna, human and otherwise,
of Glasgow; it's physical makeup and weather. We are told: "The ticket
booth [in which she worked] was at the front of the Apollo Theatre, set into
a triangular dip in the neo-classical façade so that customers didn't have to
stand in the rain while they bought their tickets. It was a dull grey day
outside the window, the first bitter day of autumn, coming just as warm
afternoons had begun to feel like a birthright. The cold wind brushed
under the window, eddying in the change tray."

Please don't forget the wit: we're told that Carol Brady, Douglas's mother,
member of the Scottish Parliament, was two large whiskies late to the
lunch she'd demanded of Maureen. The wit really does help this burning
taste of Scotch life go down.

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