Alex Morrow, is a tough Scottish detective. She has to be, she is a woman, and in this profession, you have to be tough, and besides she is a leader of men. She has just come from the funeral of her father, a man who had never been a father, but she loved him. Alex's brother, Danny, the equivalent of a mobster had planned the funeral. For that Alex was grateful and for nothing else. Alex is pregnant with twins, and this is a happy pregnancy, but for a detective in a busy unit, it causes some discomfort. Today, Alex was called to the home of a young woman, lying at the bottom of steep stairs, her faced stomped to bits. She was wearing a top but no panties, and came to be known among the squad as "The Legs'.
Denise Mina is one of the greats- my favorite author, Ian Rankin, considers her one of the most exciting new crime writers to come along. The fact that she is Scottish is a big plus. In this book she concentrates more on the characters than the plot. We are to have empathy for two young men considered to be suspects in this murder. We also meet their families and they are enough to give any of us chills. We also meet Kay, an old school friend of Alex's. She is a single mother of four, someone to be admired through her difficult life- a woman who loves her children and is there for them. And, we meet Sarah Errol, the murder victim. Denise Mina brings these charcters to life, we come to understand how they think and how they move through their lives. They matter, the victim, her family and the suspects and their families. Alex Morrow tries to keep her family close, never the twain shall meet. But, we do get a glimpse of Brian, and through her thoughts and actions, we come to find out how much Alex and Brian love each other. There is a softer side to Alex. She is very fair minded and always finds a way to bring the humaness to the murder victims, and the people she meets along the way. The men in her unit respect and admire her. It is Bannerman, the boss, who is disliked. Alex defends him, but understands the men's hatred. Bannerman was one of the characters who was a little misplaced in this novel. I am wondering if he will show up in the next novel.
Denise Mina is a brilliant crime writer- every detail is in place. The plot is well developed, but it is the characaters that are the most brilliant. We come to understand them, like them, even. Everyone except Bannerman, that is.
Highly Recommended. prisrob 09-29-11
Field of Blood: A Novel