This is for my OLD SERIES bingo square.
TW: Sexual assault survivor story
I’ve been waiting a long time to read this book – it was one of the first books I added to my GoodReads list. It’s a murder mystery that takes place in Glasgow, Scotland, which are a few of my favorite things.
Maureen O’Donnell works at a box office in a theater. She doesn’t feel like she has much going on, besides a cute flat in the Garnethill neighborhood and a married boyfriend, Douglas. Maureen’s mental health is greatly affected by her childhood sexual abuse by her father – which she recently spent 8 months in a psychiatric hospital to begin to address.
One hungover morning, Maureen wakes up to find her boyfriend murdered in her living room. His throat has been slit, and it’s unclear how he got there or who killed him, though the police have some ideas, including Maureen and her brother, Liam (who is also a drug dealer). Whoever killed Douglas wore Maureen’s slippers, which is evident by the footprints on the carpet, and they cut off his testicles and put them in a cupboard in the hall. In light of the tragedy, Maureen goes MIA from her job and tries to solve the crime on her own.
Denise Mina creates a world filled with ne’er do wells and other people who are relegated to the fringes of society. She takes people who aren’t necessarily impressive or notable and fleshes out a community. It’s especially interesting to put these characters in juxtaposition to the murder victim who is a psychiatric doctor and who is seen as more valuable than a depressed survivor and her drug dealing brother.
I did find this narrative to be a bit slow-going, but by the end, I was fully enthralled by the story. I’m looking forward to reading the next two novels in the series.