Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Gods and Beasts - Denise Mina

My review of Gods and Beasts appeared last week in Shelf Awareness for Readers. If you missed it there, I'm re-printing it here with their permission.

First line: "Martin Pavel heard it all as if through a pillow; the faint whine of ambulances, the helicopter murmur overhead, the muffled shouts of men in bulky uniforms, paramedics and cops shouting urgent instructions to each other--GET THAT TAPE, MOVE THEM BACK."

A week before Christmas an armed man charges into a Glasgow post office as Martin Pavel stands in line to mail home gifts to his family. Before he actually understands what is going on, the older man in front of him hands Martin his grandson and voluntarily helps the masked gunman.

As the gunman is leaving the building he shoots the old man dead leaving many unanswered questions for Martin and the investigating officer, DS Alex Morrow.

Gods and Beasts, the third in Denise Mina’s Alex Morrow series, is as much the story of Morrow’s search for truth as it is Martin’s search for truth. It is steeped in mystery, going beyond just the identity of the murderer. The reason behind the socially conscious man’s assistance in the robbery and the mystery surrounding Martin Pavel add a richness and complexity to her plot. Meanwhile, the tone of the novel creates a mysterious atmosphere to heighten the intrigue.

Mina has created a circus-like cast of characters, all with oddities that make them fascinating and engaging. And each possesses hidden layers, which beckon readers to look at them closer and more deeply.

As Martin explains, the title originates with Aristotle, “Those who live outside the city walls, and are self-sufficient, are either Gods or Beasts.” So the ultimate mystery is uncovering which category each character falls into.

Readers new to Denise Mina or only new to the Alex Morrow series can easily pick up Gods and Beasts without reading the previous two books. However, they should be forewarned that reading Gods and Beasts will likely lead to a Mina addiction.

Gods and Beasts is available in hardcover (ISBN: 9780316188524) from Reagan Arthur Books. An unabridged audio version (ISBN: 9781619699182) will be available from AudioGo in May; there is also a Hachette Audio version available now through Audible.


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