Alex Morrow is a rising Glasgow detective, but unlike her male partner who has everything pretty much handed to him, Alex must fight at every step. Born poor and with no connections, she struggles against both gender and familial issues. In a still male-dominated workforce, she encounters sexist bosses and colleagues and must prove that she is as good as, if not better than, any one of them. At the same time, Alex attempts to hide that her half-brother, Danny, is climbing the shady ranks of Glasgow’s criminal underground.
Alex’s life is complicated ten-fold when a battered van pulls up to average-looking home and spits out two masked men. They crash into the house, demanding the family produce a man that is not there. Chaos erupts and the intruders flee after shooting one family member, kidnapping another and demanding an unfeasible ransom. Alex arrives on the scene to find too many holes in the supposedly random attack. The investigation reveals a conglomeration of crimes ranging from drugs, robbery, and murder to religious intolerance. As the story unfolds Alex’s dark and tangled past brews just below the surface — a volcano ready to erupt at any moment and destroy everything in its path.
Denise Mina’s Still Midnight is an average story. The plot or characters don’t offer anything new or extraordinary, but I found it interesting enough for a one-time-read. Alex is annoyingly bitter at times, which Mina could have easily remedied if she had taken more time with the challenges the main character faced outside of work, e.g., a her broken marriage. Alex’s home-life, or lack thereof, provide the potential for a compelling subplot, but Mina barely taps into it. She only deals with Alex’s marital issues at the very end, almost like an afterthought, causing the resolution between the husband/wife relationship to feel unbelievable.
I also found the characters’ lack of growth frustrating. The miniscule changes that occur in the very last chapters resemble the changes between Alex and her husband—out of the blue. Those sensitive to vulgar language should be aware that Mina doesn’t have a problem using it and she doesn’t shy away from using uncomfortable language to describe scenes such as a mother breast-feeding her baby. This novel is not for readers looking for a story in which everyone gets what they deserve. Despite some of these things, Still Midnight can be an acceptable read for suspense/thriller fans.
Review copy provided by Little, Brown and Company.
**Originally posted on Fiction Addict.