The Red Road

Little, Brown. Feb. 2014. 304p. ISBN 9780316188517. $26; ebk. ISBN 9780316236522. F
OrangeReviewStarTartan noir star Mina's latest opens in 1997 when 14-year-old prostitute Rose Wilson lashes out against her life of despair by recklessly stabbing two men to death. She confesses to only one of the murders, getting off lightly with the help of a crooked lawyer. Fast-forward to the present and fractious Glasgow detective Alex Morrow—mother to young twins, sister of a known gangster, and witness in the trial of low-life gunrunner Michael Brown. What appears to be an open-and-shut case collapses when Michael's fingerprints are found at the scene of a crime committed while he was in custody. Baffled by the evidence, Alex chases a trail of corruption and vice that ultimately leads her to a money-laundering ring, the enigmatic Rose, and a killing that hits very close to home.
VERDICT Mina's fourth novel featuring Alex Morrow (after Gods and Beasts) may be her best yet. She surrounds her fiercely independent detective with indelible supporting characters and explores the long-term damage of violence and abuse, demonstrating sensitivity toward society's outcasts without minimizing their sins—not to mention evocative prose and a whisper of pitch-black humor, too. Mina's growing body of fans won't be able to put this one down. [See Prepub Alert, 8/19/13.]
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