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Still Midnight

by M. M. Adjarian
Thursday Apr 8, 2010
Still Midnight

Scottish crime novelist Denise Mina's latest novel, Still Midnight, is as hardboiled as hardboiled gets--and then some. Edgy and disturbing, this book is the first in a new series that follows Detective Sergeant Alex Morrow as she navigates both the criminal underworld and the gender minefield that is Glasgow's police department.

Two gunmen destroy the peace of a suburban night when they force their way into a respectable, middle-class home and tell the Pakistani family living there to hand over a man named Bob. In the melee that follows, the assailants accidentally shoot one bewildered family member, kidnap another, and demand millions in ransom.

Enter Alex Morrow, the brooding anti-heroine of Mina's novel. A rising star on the Glasgow Police Force, Alex is the outspoken, volatile protagonist constantly forced to maneuver her way around the male colleagues who stand in her way. But hard-won success hides a woman tormented by dark secrets: a disintegrating marriage; the death of a beloved son; and blood ties to a local criminal kingpin.

Taken off the case at the outset for making what her superior officer deems anti-Asian remarks, Alex doggedly pushes on--and discovers there's more to this apparently random act of violence than meets the eye. As she confronts the urban underside she knows so well, Alex also finds she must come to terms with a past that, however troubling, has given her the knowledge that has made her career.

In a genre where novels too often fall into cliché, Mina's work breaks tradition. The writer interweaves details of crime and case with in-depth psychological portraits of her characters and keen-eyed observations of race, class, and gender. Tough, tense, and muscular, Still Midnight is modern noir at its intelligent best.

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company. Publication Date: March, 2010. Pages: 352. Price: $24.99. Format: Hardcover Original. ISBN: 978-0-316-01563-9.

M. M. Adjarian is a Dallas-based freelance writer. She contributes to EDGE, the Dallas Voice, SheWired and Arts + Culture DFW and is a book reviewer for Kirkus.


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