I've long been a fan of Denise Mina's writing but this is a corker even by her standards. This begins in Glasgow with Anna discovering that her husband is about to run off with her best friend, taking Anna's two daughters with them. Numb with shock she decides to blot out reality by listening to a true-crime podcast which concerns a sunken yacht in the Med, multiple murders, even a ghost-and then Anna realises she knew one of the victims in a past life and decides she has to investigate. Compelling doesn't even begin to cover it.
The Book of Science and Antiquities
"It would be a crime to give away anything more, but the end of this beautiful novel made me cry. Jones writes with intelligence and a lively wit, but there’s more — a warmth that forces you to care about these people as if you had met them...."
— The Times
3 out of 5
The ditzy first-person narrator, Anna McDonald, is deeply unhappy. Hamish, her husband, has, without warning, run off with her married best friend Estelle. In her anger and distress Anna turns to true-crime podcasts... Anna’s animated narration is fun, and the solution absorbing.
It is clear from the very start of Denise Mina’s Conviction (Harvill Secker) quite how much fun she – and her readers – are about to have. “There has to be a reason to tell the truth. I stopped some time ago and, let me tell you, it was great,” her narrator, Anna McDonald, tells us, going on to insist, not all that plausibly: “But I’m telling you the truth in this book.”
[Mina's] newest novel might be described as a fictional non-fiction. It is a thriller that often evokes an almost Hitchcock-like air of paranoia, doubt, double identities, sexual frisson, gadding around over several countries from Fort William to Venice, with sinister train journeys and mordant wit... One cliché of reviewing is to call something “more than a crime novel”. I have always found that patronising and simplistic... The manner in which Mina achieves this is in crafting a novel which, like its predecessor, The Long Drop, is fascinated with story above all else... Another cliché, particularly about writing from Scotland, is the prevalence of the double, from Hogg’s Private Memoirs And Confessions Of A Justified Sinner to Stevenson’s Strange Case Of Dr Jekyll And Mr Hyde. Mina does tap into this – there are many people who aren’t who they say they are and who have turned pretence into performance art – but what struck me in this book was a very strange analogy: Jane Austen’s Emma... This is a novel that ponders visibility and invisibility. There is the public realm of clamour and the strange privacy of the earbuds.