Sunday, October 30, 2016

Review of "The Red Road" by Denise Mina




This Scottish mystery begins in 1997, on the night Princess Diana died. Fourteen-year-old Rose Wilson is out with her pimp Sammy who regularly rents her out to groups of older men. On that fateful night, however, Rose kills two people and promptly surrenders to the police. Her appointed lawyer, Julius Macmillan, sees potential in Rose and makes arrangements to insure that she gets a light prison sentence and a job when she gets out.

Skip to the present and Detective Inspector Alex Morrow is questioning Michael Brown, an ex-con who has been arrested for having illegal weapons. Brown is a hardened criminal who was previously imprisoned for murdering his brother.

Meanwhile, Julius Macmillan has just died and his son Robert has disappeared after giving the authorities evidence of his father's illegal activities. Also dead is a Pakistani man, Aziz, known for his charitable work. And big surprise, Michael Brown - who was in jail at the time of death - seems to have left his fingerprints at the Aziz murder scene.

Clearly something isn't kosher in Glasgow. The complex plot alternately focuses on Rose Wilson, Robert Macmillan, and Alex Morrow - so we see what's going on with each of them in mind and body. The reader needs to pay close attention to hold on to all the story threads but it's worth the effort.

Denise Mina gives us a fascinating (presumably fictional) glimpse of Glasgow's underbelly of bad cops, shady lawyers, murderous gangsters, child molesters, and other unsavory folks. It's a good mystery, but not a light read.


Rating: 4 stars

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