Denise Mina is riding high at the moment, having won the prestigious Crime Novel of the Year award for her last book, THE END OF THE WASP SEASON. It was well deserved because that novel, Mina's ninth and the second to feature Detective Superintendent Alex Morrow, was an expert psychological deconstruction of the credit crunch, as well as a page-turning police procedural to boot. If anything, GODS AND BEASTS is even better... One of the best things about her crime novels is her natural tendency to duck out of the way of the genre's clichés...real characters struggling with their jobs, their families and their lives, the same as anyone else... GODS AND BEASTS confirms Mina's place at the front of the crime-writing pack.
I am beginning to believe that Denise Mina is the finest contemporary exponent of British crime fiction, and that the Glasgow Detective Sergeant Alex Morrow is becoming its most interesting copper....Mina is terrific, too, at portraying the social and political backdrops that envelop her plots.
For aficionados of the genre there is a great deal to admire, not just in the elegance of the plotting... Mina's writing is lithe and spare, but alert... Readers inclined to be sniffy about genre fiction would do well to read Mina. As the parallel series progress they become more than the some of the individual novels, and metamorphose into a kind of 21st century Comedie Humaine - a excoriating look at the way that we live, and die, now.
Ostensibly a police procedural, GODS AND BEASTS has much more to it...What the elaborate and cleverly crafted plot concerns, as Morrow identifies, is not simply detection but 'being decent'. An excellent novel.
GODS AND BEASTS is vintage Mina: a complex three-ply plot involving a shooting, blackmail and corruption, all described with hard-hitting prose and psychological acuity.