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Garnethill by Denise Mina

     Maureen O’Donnell is a survivor, to say the least, of a dreary life – an unhappy childhood, a recent stintGarnethill  in a mental hospital, a completely lame job, and the bearer of the news that her eight month boyfriend has been married for 12 years.  Getting drunk with her best friend seems to be the best thing in her current state.  Finding her dead boyfriend with his throat slashed in her apartment is not the best thing to see on the morning after. 

     Being the prime suspect proves to be hellish for Maureen.  Except for her drug-dealing brother, her family is largely unsupportive, and initially she has a terrible rapport with the police.  It turns out that her deceased boyfriend, a psychologist, had plenty of secrets about a cover up involving a colleague.  Maureen finds out some unsettling news about this on visits to the hospital they both worked at, and her boyfriend’s killer is apparently wise to her doings.  It takes one more murder for Maureen to take matters completely in her own hands, and her revenge is subtle and unnerving.

     I first heard about the author on NPR – a native of Glasgow, Scotland, Denise Mina has been cranking out mystery novels with her hometown as background since this one, published in 1998.  Reading Garnethill interested me at first because I visited Glasgow several years ago, and several of the places mentioned in the book sounded familiar.  It turns out that Mina writes a pretty engrossing yarn, and I am looking forward to checking out Exile and Resolution, the other two books in this series.

(William Hicks, Information Services)

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