Alex Morrow is not new to the police force - or to crime - but there is nothing familiar about the call she has just received. On a still night in a quiet suburb of Glasgow, Scotland, three armed men have slipped from a van into a house, demanding a man who is not, and has never been, inside the front door. In the confusion that ensues, one family member is shot and another kidnapped, the assailants demanding an impossible ransom. Is this the amateur crime gone horribly wrong that it seems, or something much more unexpected?
The case of a lifetime has just come across Alex Morrow’s desk. But with a partner like Grant Bannerman brash, confident, and most importantly, male there’s no way she can compete for leadership. Morrow’s greatest and most poignant struggle in Denise Mina’s hostage novel, Still Midnight, is to prove her worth as a detective to the boy’s club at the Criminal Investigation Department in Glasgow. Armed with intelligence, vigilance, and drive, Morrow plunges headfirst into this case, and the mystery genre has rarely seen such a captivating protagonist. Jane MacFarlane’s narration only elevates the sleuthing experience, giving voice and life to the intricacies of Morrow’s character.
A gang of gun-slinging terrorists broke into a seemingly innocent Pakistani family’s modest home demanding that they give up a man named Bob. When the name Bob is met with confusion, the enraged terrorists kidnap the family’s elderly patriarch, Aamir Anwar, and demand an impossible ransom from his family. This is a strange case, as Morrow and her partner ask themselves, “Why would these men target the Anwars, who couldn’t possibly have that kind of money?” Perhaps they had the wrong house, or perhaps it’s the Anwars’ Muslim background that has offended these men, but Morrow knows that getting to the bottom of this case is something she must do to advance her career.
Morrow is a complicated woman who undeniably allows her messy personal life (which is explored significantly in the novel) to affect her work. Nevertheless, she is just as poised as she is self aware as she tackles this case. MacFarlane handles this complicated character beautifully in her narration, allowing hints of doubt and struggle to break through the tough Scottish exterior every now and then. In this regard, Still Midnight is not only a riveting crime novel, but also a thoughtful character study. Suzanne Day
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The ending, or lack thereof, left me disappointed
Surprised at how much I liked it