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Denise Mina left school at the age of 16 and bounced around from job to job, each one providing very little pay. She has been everything from a barmaid to working in a meat factory. Denise Mina finally settled on auxiliary nursing. But like early years of moving from place to place, she continued to move from job to job. Until at the age of 21 she passed exams and got to study law at Glasgow University. It is hard to discuss too much about this book without giving away spoilers to the first two in the series, because this plot wraps up events from those books. On the whole this is a dark, gritty, violent series. It covers a gamut of issues from childhood sexual abuse, alcoholism, family dysfunction, infidelity, drug abuse, rape and of course murder. The protagonist, Maureen, as a drunken, self destructive incest survivor drives this whole trilogy. The closest character I can compare her to is Lisbeth Salander of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo fame. Denise Mina [ permanent dead link] talking with Ian Rankin at the Edinburgh International Book Festival (transcript and audio), 17 August 2006

What ensues is a vigilante investigation by the two women, with Maureen going alone to London to follow the clues wherever they lead her. Also, she may have to testify in the murder trial of the imprisoned doctor who worked in the mental hospital where she briefly was in treatment. He murdered her boyfriend in her apartment. He also committed numerous rapes of patients. He has vowed to kill Maureen because she gave him LSD, facilitating his mental breakdown and incarceration in an institution. Fortunately, though, Maureen's brother and her friend, Leslie, are solidly behind her. Well, Leslie has been until recently, ever since she's been involved with a man in her life. relatedly, in one very crucial plot twist a character not particularly defined by her physical strengh -- never mind her athletic murderousness -- athletically murders someone who is himself a professional and athletic murderer and psychopath, thus helping to assure that tidy ending. It's too much.

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

Denise Mina was born in Glasgow in 1966. From there she moved time and time again, having to call a new city home yearly, if not less than that. She moved a total of 21 times in 18 years, all due to her father’s job as an engineer, which forced them to follow the North Sea oil boom in Europe of the 1970s. One night after working at her dead-end job, Maureen goes out with a girlfriend and gets seriously drunk. She stumbles home and falls into bed, failing to notice that her boyfriend, Douglas, has been brutally murdered in her living room. She discovers the horrible scene the next morning. Even worse, Maureen discovers that the killer has taken a number of steps to point the finger of guilt directly at her. Desperate to clear her name and to get at the truth, Maureen traces rumors about a similar murder at a local psychiatric hospital, uncovering a trail of deception and repressed scandal that could exonerate her – or make her the next victim. I love Denise Mina. She writes mysteries wrapped in squalor and drama and tied up with a little crazy bow. They're usually set in Scotland, which furthers my delight (I'm SUCH an Anglophile...). And if you like that sort of thing, Exile is even more bleak and psychological than the first book in this particular series.

It was while researching a PhD thesis on the ascription of mental illness to female offenders, and teaching criminology and criminal law at Strathclyde University in the 1990s, that she decided to write her first novel Garnethill, published in 1998 by Transworld.Denise Mina (born 21 August 1966) is a Scottish crime writer and playwright. She has written the Garnethill trilogy and another three novels featuring the character Patricia "Paddy" Meehan, a Glasgow journalist. Described as an author of Tartan Noir, she has also written for comic books, including 13 issues of Hellblazer. [1] Bibliography [ edit ] Denise Mina signing books at the Edinburgh International Book Festival 2007 Novels [ edit ] Garnethill trilogy After a drunken night with a friend, Maureen O'Donnell stumbles home and passes out on her bed. In the morning, she awakes to find her boyfriend, dead and tied up in her living room. While she is immediately seen as the prime suspects, Maureen follows a trail of evidence and murders to exposes a web of secrets, shame and abuse. That's where it all broke down for me, when suddenly Maureen is going here, and there, and talking to this one and that, and then gets a lot of 'materials' together to do 'something' and yikes, the reader hasn't a single clue as to what's going on. The writing is often exemplary; the dialogue true to the region and description is well-done, too. But I felt the whole tenor of the story just changed the moment I hadn't a clue as to what she was doing - or why.

A Drunk Woman Looks at the Thistle (2007), inspired by Hugh MacDiarmid's modernist poem, A Drunk Man Looks at the Thistle, and first performed by Karen Dunbar.Upon finishing Garnethill, I wasn’t overly crazy about continuing this trilogy. I was interested in seeing where things went, but it wasn’t an intense desire. In fact, if I had not brought the trilogy as a collection, I would not have been continuing. However, being a glutton for punishment, I dove into Exile with the hope of improvement – after all, so many people seem to enjoy Denise Mina as an author and I was hoping to find a spark to create such a view within myself. Excellent series. The only "improvement" I would make would be to add a Scottish-American English dictionary as I was lost on some of the Glasgow slang for the first book and a half. Railing against the vice and avarice of the ruling Medici family, he was instrumental in their removal from power, and for a time became the puritanical leader of the city. After turning his attention to corruption in the entire Catholic Church, he was first excommunicated and then executed by a combination of hanging and being burnt at the stake. Ellis, Maureen (13 December 2010). "Face to Face: Denise Mina". The Herald. Glasgow . Retrieved 14 December 2010.

Any reader in her right mind keeps telling Maureen that she is following the wrong path, to, if not let it go, at least find some other way to manage things. But Maureen can only do what she must, even though it can't lead anywhere good. Along the way, she remembers the dreams she had as a younger woman, the things she wanted out of life. This is bittersweet, as she realizes she will never achieve them. This story won an award for a debut crime novel, and I can well see why. Without wishing to suggest that it is `perfect' (whatever that is), I would say it is outstandingly accomplished and exceptionally readable.Sure, there's lots wrong with the book if you look closely. Garnethill has as many holes in the plot as most crime mysteries, to be fair. Key discoveries turn on coincidence. The scale of the crimes grows inconceivably large. But I was having such fun immersing myself in this wonderful adventure that I didn't care. This is the second in Denise Mina's Garnethill trilogy. Mina does a good job of catching you up if it's been a while since you read the first one. If you haven't read the first one though, I'd definitely recommend starting there. I have just one quibble: Why did the author feel it necessary to muddy the waters by introducing the issue of recovered memories/false memory syndrome? For those unfamiliar with the tragic, and ongoing, repercussions of the recovered memory craze (from the mid-80s to the latter part of the 90s), the issue won't be clarified by Denise Mina's tinkering with her heroine's history. She gives Maureen (one of the spunkiest, most likable characters I've read in ages) a history that contends she actually forgot egregious sexual abuse by her father. Initially, it appears as if there was only one occasion of abuse. But as the book progresses, it transpires this was a long-term ongoing thing.

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