Friday, December 4, 2009

Exile - Book #105



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| Title | Exile |
|-------------+----------------------------------------|
| Author |Denise Mina |
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| Genre |Mystery (Tartan Noir) |
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| Pages |364 |
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| Publisher |Carroll & Graf |
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| Copyright |2001 |
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Synopsis (from web-site)
he last time Maureen O'Donnell saw Ann Harris, she was in the Glasgow Women's Shelter smelling of a long binge on cheap drink. A month later Ann's mutilated body, stitched into a mattress, is washed up on the banks of the Thames. No-one, except for Maureen and her best mate, Leslie, seems to care about what has happened to her, and Maureen is the only person who thinks Ann's husband is innocent.

But solving Ann's murder comes as light relief. Maureen's father is back in Glasgow, Leslie is sloping about like a nervous spy, and then there's Angus, Maureen's old therapist, who's twice as bright as she is and making her play a dangerous game with the police.

In the long tradition of Scots in trouble, Maureen runs away to London. Looking for answers to the mystery surrounding Ann's death, she becomes embroiled in a seedy world of deceit and violence. Alone in a strange city, Maureen starts to piece together Ann's final days. But time is not on her side, and Maureen needs just twelve hours, just twelve, to put things right, and she doesn't care what it costs...

Why I read It
This is part two in a three part series. Book one was Garnethill and reviewed here.

The Good
The writing is much better, losing that stilted dialogue found occasionally in her first book. The mystery was well laid out as well. I like how she makes mention within the plot how odd it is she has known two people murdered within six months. It is one of those obvious clich├ęs in the mystery world that most authors just avoid noticing. Like everywhere Jessica Fletcher went people died, as if it was contagious to her.

The Bad
The plot moved a little too fast in the last 100 pages. The graphic despair of the Scottish underclass is sometimes portrayed too vividly. Not that it isn’t accurate or necessary, it is just depressing. Caution: Drug Use, Alcohol Abuse, Sexual Situations, and Violence (especially violence against women).

The Ugly (my opinion)
Great book and I am eagerly looking forward to book three. This is definitely a writer who I will keep up with. While book one is not absolutely required I wouldn’t recommend reading this one without that one first.

Mormon Mentions
None

Author Biography
Denise Mina was born in Glasgow in 1966. Because of her father's job as an engineer, the family followed the north sea oil boom of the seventies around Europe, moving twenty one times in eighteen years from Paris to the Hague, London, Scotland and Bergen. She left school at sixteen and did a number of poorly paid jobs: working in a meat factory, bar maid, kitchen porter and cook. Eventually she settle in auxiliary nursing for geriatric and terminal care patients.

At twenty one she passed exams, got into study Law at Glasgow University and went on to research a PhD thesis at Strathclyde University on the ascription of mental illness to female offenders, teaching criminology and criminal law in the mean time.

Misusing her grant she stayed at home and wrote a novel, 'Garnethill' when she was supposed to be studying instead.

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