Set in tough and dreary Glasgow, ‘Still Midnight’ is Denise Mina’s first novel featuring DS Alex Morrow. There are now two more in the series: – ‘The End of The Wasp Season’, and ‘Gods and the Beasts’.
Alex and her colleague Grant Bannerman are both Detective Sergeants from Strathclyde CID and should alternate at taking the lead in cases. But, their boss, McKechnie assigns the case to Bannerman. Alex only makes matters worse by raging at her boss and offering minimal co-operation. She has fought to get to her position from a childhood on the wrong side of the tracks. Her marriage is falling apart after a personal tragedy and she is angry with the world.
But, Bannerman finds the case to be a mixed blessing, not as clean and easy as it first appeared.
A middle-aged Asian man, Aamir Anwar, is kidnapped and held hostage. The amount demanded for his release is 2 million pounds. There seems to be no reason why this particular family has been targeted and no evidence that they could possibly pay the ransom. The members of the family are all excellently portrayed and they all seem to have their own agenda going on behind the scenes.
Also well portrayed are the kidnappers. Eddy sees himself as a commando and is keen to find someone to shoot. He is a complete failure at most things he has done, including his marriage. Pat has gone along with the kidnapping purely because he is Eddy’s friend. As he loses respect for Eddy and starts to fantasise about his future he has regrets about ever getting involved.
As a background story, Aamir also recollects his childhood where he and his mother escaped Idi Amin’s brutal rule in Uganda.
This book was an excellent read, moving along at an excellent pace. I found some of the fantasising by the characters to be a bit cheesy, but mostly the characters and atmosphere were pretty realistic.
This was a terrific introduction to Alex Morrow. I’ve already read the next in the series ‘The End of the Wasp Season’, so enjoyed the character build-up in this book.
Book Published 2009