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Denise Mina was born in Glasgow in 1966. Because of her father's job as an engineer, her family moved twenty-one times in eighteen years from Paris to the Hague, London, Scotland and Bergen.
After leaving school at sixteen and a run of poorly paid jobs, she went on to study Law at Glasgow University and researched a PhD thesis at Strathclyde. Misusing her grant, she stayed at home and wrote her first novel, Garnethill, which was published in 1998 and won the Crime Writers' Association John Creasy Dagger for best first crime novel.
Since 1998 she has written seven further novels, including The End of the Wasp Season which won the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2012. She also writes comics and in 2006 wrote her first play, 'Ida Tamson'. As well as all of this she writes short stories and is a regular contributor to TV and radio...
In 2014 she was inducted into the CWA Hall of Fame.
Maxim Jakubowski's view on ALEX MORROW...
A Glasgow cop with a nose for social injustice and the dark side of society, DS Alex Morrow is introduced in STILL MIDNIGHT by Scottish author Denise Mina, whose previous series featured investigative journalist Paddie Meehan and social worker Maureen O’Donnell. Realistic and bleak investigations with a strong footing in today’s reality are Mina’s forte in all her books.
Author photo © Neil Davidson
Salt water lifts blood. Only salt water. Loch Lomond is a mile deep but the woman's body surfaced anyway. Found bludgeoned and dumped in the water, she now haunts Iain Fraser, the man who put her there. She trusted him and now that misplaced trust is gnawing through Iain's chest. He thinks it will kill him. Nearby Helensburgh is an idyllic Victorian town. One-time home to a quarter of all the millionaires in Britain, it is quaint, sleepy and chocolate-box pretty. But the real town is shot through with deception, lies and vested interests. As tensions rise and the police seek a killer, the conflicts that lurk beneath Helensburgh's calm waters threaten to explode. All Iain Fraser has to do is keep on lying.
A respected forensic psychiatrist is convicted of the gruesome murder of a serial killer ... but is she innocent?
As Paddy pursues the dark and brutal truth, it could make her career - or end her life...
Winner of the the 2013 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year. March 2013 Book of the Month. The recent winner of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award with The End of the Wasp Season is back with a dark tale of corruption, cover-up and murder among Glasgow’s criminal underworld and the city’s politicians. Full of twists and turns it is a stunning and accomplished piece of crime fiction. Denise Mina said of her 2013 Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year award:“I’m really quite flabbergasted. This was such a hard book. I really love this book and it means a lot other people appreciate it as it could have crashed and burned. I’m so delighted and so glad to have another gigantic ostentatious award in the shape of a Theakstons beer barrel that I don’t have room for on my mantelpiece!” Shortlisted for the Specsavers National Book Awards 'Crime & Thriller of the Year' 2012.
'Denise Mina is set to carve a niche for herself as the crown princess of crime' Val McDermid Garnethill series:1. Garnethill2. Exile3. Resolution
A stylishly written, highly suspenseful murder mystery set in Glasgow with a cast of tough characters and a fantastic protagonist, Maureen, who her enemies find out it has been ill-advised to pick on. Winner of the CWA John Creasey Memorial Dagger 1998. The award-winning debut novel from Scotland's queen of crime. Garnethill series:1. Garnethill2. Exile3. Resolution
Shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2014. February 2014 Book of the Month. The fourth DI Alex Morrow mystery. It is believed that Denise Mina is doing for Glasgow what Rebus did for Edinburgh. Certainly she creates a city full of corruption where the high and the low get sucked into dark crimes. Covering two periods, 1997 and today, with some brilliant characters, this is excellent police procedural stuff, dark, clever, atmospheric and well plotted. Denise Mina will be appearing at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival (17-20 July 2014). Click here to find out more and to book tickets. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Red Road a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'The Red Road, displays many of the familiar strengths Mina-addicts will love: a smart and determined yet conflicted central character, an unusual and intriguing hook, some casually thrown-in one-liners and an ability to have the reader desperate to turn the page.' - Daniel Webb. Scroll down to read more reviews.
July 2013 Book of the Month. Once again Denise Mina delivers a clever, complex plot driven along by hard-hitting prose and realistic and believable characters, especially DI Alex Morrow. Murder, corruption and blackmail. A fourteen year old girl, a vicious arms dealer and privileged lawyer are linked in a a two-decade-long story of power, abuse and love gone horribly wrong. Compelling reading. In addition to our Lovereading expert opinion for The Red Road a small number of Lovereading members were lucky enough to be invited to review this title - 'The Red Road, displays many of the familiar strengths Mina-addicts will love: a smart and determined yet conflicted central character, an unusual and intriguing hook, some casually thrown-in one-liners and an ability to have the reader desperate to turn the page.' - Daniel Webb. Scroll down to read more reviews.
Shortlisted for the Specsavers National Book Awards 'Crime & Thriller of the Year' 2012. A Glasgow post office one week before Christmas. Martin Pavel cowers on the floor, his eyes locked on those of a terrified child. Above them a masked gunman wields an AK47 while the boy's grandfather calmly volunteers to help the robber gather the money. Then the old man stands passively, hands by his sides, while the gunman raises the barrel and shoots him to shreds. Recently returned to work after the birth of her twins, DS Alex Morrow is called in to head the investigation. Why did the grandfather offer his help? Was it a moment of madness, a noble act of self-sacrifice, or did the old man and his killer share a dark past? Morrow's enquiries lead her to the door of Kenny Gallagher, a politician fighting for his political life - and his marriage - after he's publicly accused of having an affair with a young employee. And unknown to Morrow a temptation too great to resist leads two of her colleagues, DCs Leonard and Wilder, to make a rash decision and leaves them at the mercy of a ruthless blackmailer.
Winner of the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award 2012. One of our Great Reads You May Have Missed in 2012. Barry Forshaw on Denise Mina and P. M. Hubbard... The parallels between the vivid and strikingly written novels of Scotland’s Denise Mina and her distinctive predecessor P.M. Hubbard lie in both writers’ remarkable use of language, burnished to a sheen that propels their work into territory well above simple genre imperatives. Mina’s prize-winning The End of the Wasp Season is a signature book, as is Hubbard’s taut novel The Tower. Shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger 2011. In this stunning new novel DS Alex Morrow discovers that nothing is sacred, even human life...The End of the Wasp Season is an accomplished, compelling and multi-layered novel, which traces the damaging consequences of one man's selfish actions in a world ravaged by recession and questioning everything it previously held sacred. Simon Theakston, executive director of T&R Theakston, described the novel as “a great example of "tartan noir". “Denise Mina is a fantastically talented writer and The End of the Wasp Season is a thoroughly deserving winner,” he said. “It was a very tough decision this year as all the books on the shortlist were outstanding in different ways but I’m delighted to be able to hand the trophy to Denise, the first woman to have won since 2008, for this hugely atmospheric and haunting book.” CWA Judges’ comments: 'A complex exploration of the economic motives which link a murder in Glasgow and a suicide in suburban England; Mina’s pregnant police detective’s own complicated personal background and career history give her a rare depth of character and understanding as she leads her team’s investigation into the disturbing undercurrents and repercussions of economic recession.'
Gritty, atmospheric of time and place with characters that have a real edge to them are the hallmarks of Denise Mina's Garnethill series that began with Garnethill and continues here in Exile. Exile is a dark thrillerwith dark undertones but it is an ultimately uplifting story.The third Resolution is just as good. Garnethill series:1. Garnethill2. Exile3. Resolution
Sticks and stones will break your bones... A powerfully gripping thriller from 'one of the most exciting writers to have emerged in Britain for years' Ian Rankin. A 2-part TV adaptation of The Field of Blood is due to be shown on BBC1 at the end of August 2011. Click here to find out more.
Just look at the reviews for this author. Her peers love her, the press love her, have you heard of her? Well, it is time you did. She writes about Glasgow low-life, gritty and atmospheric. This concerns a kidnapping that backfires, a seemingly baffled family unable to raise the ransom and a murky underworld. Beyond the crime and detection it explores the nuances of relationships between parent and child, siblings, colleagues, captor and captive. It is dark, big in plot and deep in human drama. Comparison: Ian Rankin, Tony Black, Alex Gray.
ALEX MORROW - A Glasgow cop with a nose for social injustice and the dark side of society, DS Alex Morrow is introduced in STILL MIDNIGHT by Scottish author Denise Mina, whose previous series featured investigative journalist Paddie Meehan and social worker Maureen O’Donnell. Realistic and bleak investigations with a strong footing in today’s reality are Mina’s forte in all her books. Lovereading view... One of Lovereading's favourite authors, Ian Rankin, describes Denise Mina as "one of the most exciting writers to have emerged in Britain for years". Although she has written several novels she has yet to get that big break, but we are hoping that Still Midnight will bring her the recognition she deserves. It certainly kept us gripped.
Shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger 2011. In this stunning new novel DS Alex Morrow discovers that nothing is sacred, even human life...The End of the Wasp Season is an accomplished, compelling and multi-layered novel, which traces the damaging consequences of one man's selfish actions in a world ravaged by recession and questioning everything it previously held sacred. CWA Judges’ comments: 'A complex exploration of the economic motives which link a murder in Glasgow and a suicide in suburban England; Mina’s pregnant police detective’s own complicated personal background and career history give her a rare depth of character and understanding as she leads her team’s investigation into the disturbing undercurrents and repercussions of economic recession.'
Detective Alex Morrow discovers that the darkest secrets never stay buried as she investigates the criminal underbelly of a seemingly tranquil seaside town.For reasons she can't quite explain, Alex Morrow is addicted to watching surveillance footage of Roxanna Fuentecilla--a gorgeous Spanish mother of two, in a tempestuous relationship with her boyfriend, who recently relocated to Glasgow under mysterious circumstances. She is also Morrow's prime suspect in an investigation that resembles a soap opera, filled with glamorous jetsetters and enough money to interest the highest levels of law enforcement. Until Roxanna vanishes. Morrow traces Roxanna's steps to Helensburgh, a sleepy, picturesque seaside community. But behind the idyllic Victorian homes and quaint storefronts, darkness lurks. Home to a man with blood on his hands who is haunted by guilt, a mysterious woman with ulterior motives back in town for the first time in decades, a sexually frustrated restaurateur looking to blow off steam, and a crew of vicious small-time gangsters blindly following orders, it's a town ruled by base instincts where no one is quite what they seem. And it's the perfect place to get rid of someone. When she uncovers an unsettling connection to Roxanna's job back in Glasgow, Morrow suspects that her missing person is more than a white-collar criminal on the lam--she may also be a victim caught up in a sophisticated conspiracy that stretches far beyond Helensburgh and is more personal than Morrow ever imagined. As the truth rises to the surface and the conflicts that lie beneath Helensburgh's calm waters threaten to explode, Morrow must find Roxanna before any hope of solving the case disappears with her. A gripping tale of greed, power, and vengeance, Blood, Salt, Water is a masterful crime novel from Denise Mina that confirms her reputation as "e;one of the genre's brights stars"e; (George Pelecanos).
It's been seven years since Else visited her tiny hometown on an isolated island off the coast of Scotland. She fled the island after years of bullying at the hands of the few other residents, but now that her mother has passed away, Else has no choice but to return. And when her old tormentor, Karen Little, hands her a book that holds a particular power over her, the cruelties of the past have Else seeing red.
Maureen O'Donnell wakes up one morning to find her therapist boyfriend murdered in the middle of her living room and herself a prime suspect in a murder case. 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. A shattering first novel... You can't look away from it. -New York Times Book Review I can't think of a more interesting - and less likely - crime hero than Maureen O'Donnell, the damaged but determined center of Denise Mina's marvelous debut mystery. . . . The book bristles with angry energy and the spare urban poetry of its unique language. -Chicago Tribune A groundbreaking book . . . its emotional rawness and visceral honesty pack a punch more potent than any boxer-turned-PI could provide. -Washington Post Book World This raw, powerful story is an exceptional debut. -Kansas City Star A compelling story. . . . This is the reason we read mysteries. -Rocky Mountain News