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 Adler Features: * ISBN13: 9780316016780 * Condition: NEW * Notes: Brand New from Publisher. No Remainder Mark. * Click here to view our Condition Guide and Shipping Prices "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 humor. 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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