Cannonball Read IV

A bunch of Pajibans reading and reviewing and honoring AlabamaPink.

Archive for the tag “#garnethill”

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #75 Resolution (Garnethill #3) by Denise Mina

Gotta love a pun-y title, right?  Resolution is the last book in Denise Mina’s Garnethill trilogy and the title both refers to that and the heroine’s desired state of mind.

Maureen O’Donnell’s past is catching up with her.  The murderer from the first book is on trial, and he’s arranged for Maureen to receive regular packages of child pornography in order to throw her off balance.  Her sister Una is pregnant and, to prove that she doesn’t believe Maureen’s story of childhood sexual abuse, Una has become closer to their father, Michael.  Meanwhile, an old woman Maureen knows has died mysteriously and Maureen is the only one who believes she’s been murdered.  While Maureen’s alcoholic mother struggles to get clean, Maureen finds herself drinking more and more to cope with her messy life.  She’s thinking of killing her father in order to protect her sister’s baby from his attentions.  But as messy as Maureen’s life is, it could be much much worse.  Her investigations into the old woman’s death lead her to discover a sex trafficking ring.

As I mentioned in my review of Garnethill, Denise Mina’s series is comparable to Stieg Larsson’s Dragon Tattoo trilogy.  Both trilogies look unblinkingly at social problems (Mina focuses on her hometown of Glasgow and Larsson on Sweden), particularly the ways in which current criminal systems fail to adequately address various issues of sexual abuse.  The differences between Mina’s and Larsson’s writing are interesting as well.  For one thing, Mina’s writing lacks the slightly sweaty palmed attitude towards her kick ass (but also deeply fucked up) heroine that Larsson sometimes has.  She’s also much more disciplined – her books are compactly written and tightly plotted. Her social commentary is efficiently packed into throwaway lines – a witty piece of dialogue here, a descriptive sentence there.  This makes for a more fluid reading experience.  At no point while reading these books did I feel as I was being lectured at by the writer.

I love how imperfect Mina’s main characters are.  Each of the main characters judge others for flaws which they can’t fix in themselves (Maureen drinks heavily but can’t forgive her mother for her alcoholism, Leslie blames men for all the evils visited on women and yet doesn’t see that dogmatically sticking to this idea makes her sexist).  Some of the disagreements that Leslie and Maureen have (particularly on the issue of prostitution, which is front and center in this book) are both entertaining and yet incisive.

I really enjoyed reading this trilogy.  Each book was well-written, fast moving, peopled by memorable characters and, despite the dark subject matter, wittily entertaining.  I highly recommend it.  I can’t wait to read more from this writer!

meilufay’s #CBR4 review #72 Exile (Garnethill #2) by Denise Mina

Exile is the second book in Denise Mina’s Garnethill trilogy.  I suppose you could read it as a stand-alone novel because the actual mystery in the book is unrelated to the mystery in the first book, but I personally would recommend reading Garnethill first.  The character arcs in Exile so clearly are building on the events of the first book that I can’t imagine picking up this book and not feeling as though you’re missing something.

The second book or film in any trilogy often feels very interstitial and Exile is no exception.  While the book tells a satisfying murder mystery story, it’s clearly setting up the characters for the third and final book in the series and, as a result, was a slightly less satisfying read than the first book.  Don’t get my wrong, I enjoyed this book thoroughly and I can’t wait to read Resolution, but I didn’t find this book to be as compulsive a read as Garnethill.  Still, I’m pretty excited about Denise Mina as a writer and I can’t wait to read more of her books.

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