The case of a lifetime has just come across Alex Morrow’s desk. But with a partner like Grant Bannerman brash, confident, and most importantly, male there’s no way she can compete for leadership. Morrow’s greatest and most poignant struggle in Denise Mina’s hostage novel, Still Midnight, is to prove her worth as a detective to the boy’s club at the Criminal Investigation Department in Glasgow. Armed with intelligence, vigilance, and drive, Morrow plunges headfirst into this case, and the mystery genre has rarely seen such a captivating protagonist. Jane MacFarlane’s narration only elevates the sleuthing experience, giving voice and life to the intricacies of Morrow’s character.
A gang of gun-slinging terrorists broke into a seemingly innocent Pakistani family’s modest home demanding that they give up a man named Bob. When the name Bob is met with confusion, the enraged terrorists kidnap the family’s elderly patriarch, Aamir Anwar, and demand an impossible ransom from his family. This is a strange case, as Morrow and her partner ask themselves, “Why would these men target the Anwars, who couldn’t possibly have that kind of money?” Perhaps they had the wrong house, or perhaps it’s the Anwars’ Muslim background that has offended these men, but Morrow knows that getting to the bottom of this case is something she must do to advance her career.
Morrow is a complicated woman who undeniably allows her messy personal life (which is explored significantly in the novel) to affect her work. Nevertheless, she is just as poised as she is self aware as she tackles this case. MacFarlane handles this complicated character beautifully in her narration, allowing hints of doubt and struggle to break through the tough Scottish exterior every now and then. In this regard, Still Midnight is not only a riveting crime novel, but also a thoughtful character study. Suzanne Day
Alex Morrow is not new to the police force - or to crime - but there is nothing familiar about the call she has just received. On a still night in a quiet suburb of Glasgow, Scotland, three armed men have slipped from a van into a house, demanding a man who is not, and has never been, inside the front door. In the confusion that ensues, one family member is shot and another kidnapped, the assailants demanding an impossible ransom. Is this the amateur crime gone horribly wrong that it seems, or something much more unexpected?
Would you listen to Still Midnight again? Why?
After a long long time maybe. I only listen to non-fiction and classics more than once.
What other book might you compare Still Midnight to and why?
Not fair, Denise Mina is unique. Her locations, her characters can't be met anywhere else I know of.
What does Jane MacFarlane bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?
Her beautiful (appropriate) Scottish accent and a subtle way of reading I really appreciate. I hate the drama kings and queens. I want to hear a story. I don't want to hear someone emote.
Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?
Don't want to spoil the experience for anyone. There were a lot of great moments and lot of moving ones, not sentimental, just really deep.
Any additional comments?
I've said it, I'm a fan. If you don't like naturalistic characters and a little squalor with your stories, you won't like most of Denise Mina. I also highly recommend "Deception." I don't think it's available here. Don't bother with abridgments. The FLAVOR of her work IS her work.
24 of 26 people found this review helpful
I don't usually enjoy books about terrorism with plots involving ethnic factors. But these issues were side issues in this book, with the actual story involving petty criminals looking for a big score and an officer moving one foot in front of the other trying to survive a shattering loss. I would have given the story a 3 1/2 if I could have - 3 is too low. I loved the story until the end, when the book just seemed to stop. But I look forward to reading another by this author.
31 of 34 people found this review helpful
The characters were well-developed and real. The plot interesting. I was excited, thinking I had found a new author to follow and then, all of a sudden, the.
Yes, that's what it felt like. I even went back and rewound, thinking I must have missed something. To me the story just hung there. It was so well written until that moment that I might just go ahead and give Ms. Mina another try...but not quite yet.
32 of 36 people found this review helpful
I read Denise Mina's latest, Gods and Beasts, and decided to try listening to this one, the first in the Alex Morrow series. Jane MacFarlane is a wonderful narrator and Denise Mina's writing is intelligent, riveting, often funny. She writes fascinating characters with depth and believability. Her writing reminds me of Kate Atkinson's; the same sort of intelligence and humor, the same kinds of interesting plot turns. Highly recommended. You'll have to excuse me; I'm downloading The End of the Wasp Season (Book 2 in this series, I believe) and I have to go now . . .
18 of 20 people found this review helpful
So depressing at first I wanted to quit - but somehow the story emerged - worth the trip.
15 of 18 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
This is a beautifully performed audiobook of an expertly written, compassionately humane and socially aware novel. Highly recommended.
11 of 13 people found this review helpful
Any additional comments?
I bought this one months ago and forgot I had it. Even though that meant I read it out of sequence with the other two Alex Morrow books by Denise Mona, which I have read, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Mina presents real life struggles of real people. Sometimes that means the reader faces the folly and sinfulness of humanity, nevertheless, I find myself glad for her insights. I wish there were a little less curses in the dialogue, but I have been able to ignore most of that because the characters are developed well and the story will keep my interest.
14 of 17 people found this review helpful
I've gotten pretty cynical about glowing reviews, but in this case, believe them. I'm more likely to mentally process, rather than actually visualize, what I am reading or listening to, but this book had me seeing the action. The characters, although different from those in many UK mysteries, ring true and the protagonist has just enough tragic backstory to be interesting but not a downer. Just bought the next in the series.
Great writer and fantastic reader.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful
OMGosh! I kept thinking all these words, over & over - would be worth it. And the pain of listening, to what seemed a pointless, weak story line would pay off! And then, bam- it was finally over & still nothing. Worthless. Pointless & sad that an effort was spent and printing the book & hiring a reader. Geez. And when I started to join the weak warp & weft of the tapestry of the story (no plot & no point) --the author just slams the reader against the wall & we are at The End. I'm asking for a refund.
3 of 5 people found this review helpful
Thought I’d quit but managed to stick it out. Won’t read another by this author.