Author of the Month
Name: Denise Mina
First Novel: Garnethill
Most Recent Book: Conviction
'Another excellent read from the Scottish Mistress of Crime.'
It’s just a normal morning for Anna McDonald. Gym kits, packed lunches, getting everyone up and ready. Until she opens the front door to her best friend, Estelle. Anna turns to see her own husband at the top of the stairs, suitcase in hand. They’re leaving together and they’re taking Anna’s two daughters with them.
Left alone in the big, dark house, Anna can’t think, she can’t take it in. With her safe, predictable world shattered, she distracts herself with a story: a true-crime podcast. There’s a sunken yacht in the Mediterranean, multiple murders and a hint of power and corruption. Then Anna realises she knew one of the victims in another life. She is convinced she knows what happened. Her past, so carefully hidden until now, will no longer stay silent.
This is a murder she can’t ignore, and she throws herself into investigating the case. But little does she know, her past and present lives are about to collide, sending everything she has worked so hard to achieve into freefall.
Denise Mina is the consummate storyteller and has refined her craft over the years. With ‘Conviction’ I was immediately catapulted into Anna’s story. Mina’s characterisation is sublime and I straight away could empathise with Anna’s retreat from her world into the podcast world. A podcast that took her away from the hideous scenes so early in the morning as her husband left with his mistress, Estelle and her daughters. Anything to escape such a blow.
However, the podcast she listens to about the murders and sinking of the Dana, will not only take her away from her troubles, it will lead her to uncover her own deceits and put her in immediate danger. The sinking of the Dana is attributed to the owner of the craft and father of the family who perished, Leon. But Anna knew Leon years ago and she knows he wouldn’t do such a thing.
Accompanied by Estelle’s jilted Rockstar anorexic husband, Fin, the two head off to find the truth… and find that thanks to social media people are now out for Anna and they want to put an end to her. Anna and Fin are not professional private investigators, so they do tend to stumble from one bad situation to another, getting themselves deeper and deeper in to a dark conspiracy they can’t quite fathom out. To begin with I was slightly irked by Fin, but soon he comes in to his own as he finds his balls and starts to become a man rather than a faded music star. By the end of the book I was routing for Fin.
The drunken chapter on the train has to be one of the most bizarre I have ever read – showing that Mina is comfortable to place humour parallel to impending violence and insidious intent. The story told even felt like a podcast one could listen to!
In ‘Conviction’ Mina, as always, grabs her reader by the scruff of the neck and propels them through a plot that is wacky, but ultimately addictive and believable as we all know that many with power and money feel they can literally get away with murder. This is a voyage of discovery for Anna and Fin, and I am sure that like me, you will be more than willing to accompany them on their voyage to their final destination. Be warned, this is no smooth cruise, but a raging sea of hidden secrets and a race to stay alive. ‘Conviction’ hits all the right notes for a classy thriller with characters you can connect with. Another excellent read from the Scottish Mistress of Crime.
Author photo by Olie Grove.
Reviewed by: C.S.