Mina has created a new character for her fans, Detective Alex Morrow of Strathclyde CID, an acerbic Glasgow detective whose private demons have leaked into her professional life. Writing with the same edgy energy that distinguishes her other thrillers, Mina once more delivers an unpredictable female protagonist, idealistic and driven - and brilliant at her job.
But as Morrow shares her most recent case with Grant Bannerman, she finds herself too often pushed to the side, her attention-hogging partner relegating her to the most tedious parts of the investigation. It all starts the night of a home invasion in a part of town that is Alex’s childhood stomping ground, when two men burst into a bungalow shouting for “Bob” and an amount of money.
In the ensuing chaos, when family members emerge from their rooms - an elderly Pakistani couple, their oldest son, his wife and new baby, and the teenaged daughter who answered the door - accidental gunfire wounds the beautiful teenager, Aleesha, and pandemonium breaks out. In a moment of panic, the intruders snatch elderly Aamir Anwar, shouting once more their demands for money. A wild chase scene follows, the Anwars’ youngest son, Omar, and his friend requesting police aid only to be confronted by suspicion.
This is Denise Mina at her best: a tight complex plot; conflicts between characters; and the ugly reality of drugs, poverty, religious bigotry, a sordid neighborhood history and police politics. Dealing with personal issues, Alex refuses to let anything interfere with her dedication to her profession. Morrow is an extraordinary character, bitingly sarcastic, repentant and deeply committed to her work, following leads while forced to concede every step of progress to her braggart of a partner.
Alex’s separate lives - private and professional - converge in a breathtaking confrontation she survives only by her wits and intuition. As the bumbling crooks initiate a nightmare that will reveal the ugly secrets of the past, a helpless old man clings to the memories of his mother to get him through his terror. Alex Morrow faces her own epiphany in a rocky marriage, never losing sight of the helpless old man whose life is in jeopardy. Once again, Mina delivers the face of Glasgow through the eyes of a crack detective with a terrible burden on her heart and a passion for her job.