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Denise Mina

A-The End of the Wasp SeasonGlasgow-based Denise Mina is the author of the Garnethill trilogy and the Patricia "Paddy" Meehan series: A Field of Blood (3.5 of 5 Stars Nov/Dec 2005), The Dead Hour (4 of 5 Stars Nov/Dec 2006), and Slip of the Knife (4 of 5 Stars Selection May/June 2008). Still Midnight (4 of 5 Stars July/Aug 2010) marked the first in a new series, also set in Glasgow; The End of Wasp Season follows.

The Story: When a young woman is murdered in an exclusive Glasgow neighborhood, Detective Inspector Alex Morrow, five months pregnant with twins, is called in to investigate. What she discovers stuns the entire community: the victim's face has been pulverized, stomped into an unrecognizable mass by a pair of sneakers. Suspicion falls on two young men whose mother, Kay, worked as the victim's housekeeper. Hundreds of miles away, a millionaire banker dies after swindling thousands of investors. As she delves deeper, Alex learns of a disturbing connection between the two cases.
Reagan Arthur Books. 400 pages. $25.99. ISBN: 9780316069335

Guardian (UK) 4 of 5 Stars
"Perceptive and insightful at both ends of the social scale, Mina eschews cliffhangers and plot twists--here, pathos provides the fuel for real suspense. Marvellous." Laura Wilson

Independent (UK) 4 of 5 Stars
"This wonderfully plotted combination of police procedural, psychological thriller and social comment leap-frogs Denise Mina to the top rank of Scotland's crime-writing scene." Myles McSweeney

NY Times Book Review 4 of 5 Stars
"[E]xtraordinarily rich and unpredictable. ... There are the usual rewards in following the evidence that leads the police to the teenage sons of Kay Murray, who cleaned house for the murdered woman and the invalid mother she had only recently buried. But there's greater satisfaction in watching Mina transform this seemingly simple cleaning woman into a complex character, possessed of great depths of feeling." Marilyn Stasio

Reviewing the Evidence 4 of 5 Stars
"What makes Denise Mina stand out even in the crowded field of excellent Scottish ‘Tartan Noir' crime novelists is the strength of the female perspective she brings to the work. ... A new Mina is not something you want to miss." Yvonne Klein

Spectator (UK) 3.5 of 5 Stars
"[I]t focusses on its deeply flawed characters, their motivations and the world they live in; in a way, the plot is of secondary interest. The result is bleak and perhaps a little misandrous, but it's undeniably powerful." Andrew Taylor

Critical Summary

Mina's new series featuring Alex Morrow, which also takes place in a gritty Glasgow, may be just as good as her Paddy Meehan series. Unlike many crime novels, The End of the Wasp Season isn't a whodunit; instead, Mina lets readers know early on who committed the crime. Since this isn't your typical crime novel, expect rich characterization (here, a strong female protagonist with her own troubles); insightful observations into the victims; and a suspenseful, unpredictable story line. The Spectator described the author as "one of Scotland's most impressive crime writers," and with The End of the Wasp Season, Mina again proves herself a master of the dark, gritty mystery.