Denise Mina, “Exile”

Was it too much, too soon? Was I too excited by Mina’s earlier Garnethill? Would I have liked Exile better if I’d waited a little longer before reading it? Or was it really not as good?

One thing’s for sure: Exile’s very dark for my taste. And another thing: murder mysteries may be a great way to explore social issues, but that makes for pretty uncomfortable escape reading. The book has some technical problems, too — Mina had to switch the narration from Maureen’s wound-up perception to omniscience, to get all the facts in, and the tale loses by the change. There’s also a lot of clunky exposition at the beginning, so awkward that I almost gave up.

In this volume, Maureen gets hung up in the drug-dealing culture and goes to London to try to track down some facts. A Glasgow woman, formerly a resident in a women’s shelter, has disappeared, leaving a husband and four children. A body is found in London that corresponds — but what was Ann doing in London? The cops seem to have gotten the wrong idea, Maureen’s brother Liam (formerly a dealer) may be implicated…. oh, and her father Michael, who abused her, has moved back to Glasgow and Maureen’s having trouble coping. The tangle gets untangled in the end, but the process isn’t very edifying.

About carolwallace

I spend most of my time writing and reading. Most recent publications: the reissue of "To Marry an English Lord,"one of the inspirations for "Downton Abbey," and the historical novel "Leaving Van Gogh." I am too cranky to belong to a book group but I love the book-blogging community.
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