The End Of The Wasp Season
- Orion Publishing Co
- Publication Date:
- 16 February 2012
- Crime, Thrillers and Mystery
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This is #2 of Mina's Alex Morrow series, with #3 planned for publication in 2013.I reviewed the debut title STILL MIDNIGHT a few weeks back.In that first title Alex Morrow had recently returned to work after a breakdown and period of convalescence. DS Morrow has secrets that she would rather colleagues and bosses didn't know about. THE END OF THE WASP SEASON relates another of those secrets - Alex is attending her father's funeral, and meets up with her half-brother, local crime boss Danny McGrath. In STILL MIDNIGHT Alex asked Danny for a favour. In THE END OF THE WASP SEASON he has one to ask of her.The opening pages of the novel though describe the death of Sarah Erroll at the hands of two gawky teenage boys. Sarah's attempt to phone 999 is treated as a prank call and Sarah signs her own death warrant when she tells one of the boys that she recognises him. The reader is really never given a clear description of how Sarah Erroll dies but a lot is made of using the blood spatters to determine which of the boys was responsible.One of the boys, Thomas Anderson, is later told that his father has hung himself, although this is not the motivation behind the murder. He has to return home to become "head" of the family at fifteen, and then it becomes obvious how damaged and dysfunctional this family really is.At work Alex's former DS colleague John Bannerman has been made DI, and he has resorted to bullying tactics with his team. The team on the other hand not only dislike Bannerman but they have no empathy with Sarah Erroll, the victim of the murder. The investigation by Morrow takes place against the background of police department politics. The fact that Alex Morrow is just over four months pregnant with twins is definitely a complicating factor.Alex Morrow finds that she actually went to school with a woman who was the primary carer for Sarah Erroll's mother. A little predictably Kay and her sons become prime suspects for Sarah's murder. The unempathetic Bannerman is keen to wrap the investigation quickly by charging Kay.I really enjoyed this novel, including the puzzle of the title. If you read it watch out for references to wasps. I love titles where the meaning is open to interpretation!So, do yourself a favour - read these in order, go looking for STILL MIDNIGHT, read that first, and then savour THE END OF THE WASP SEASON.
Awesomely good and with a wonderful feeling of creeping evil that made me uneasy when alone at night. So well-written I didn't figure it out til the end. Mina is a fantastic crime writer and she just gets better and better.
The suicide of Lars Anderson invokes little sympathy, even among his own family. He was once an extremely rich man, a man who caused a lot of people to lose their money before his creation fell apart, in fact, he was a man with a lot of enemies. But there is no mystery about his death.Then there is the horrible, brutal murder of 24 year old Sarah Erroll in her own home. Again, for us, the readers, there is not a lot of mystery about her death. From the opening pages we know who did it, even to a degree, why they did it. Yes, the viciousness of the murder is not fully understood until later in the book and the ultimate chilling truth of it all is not to be understood until the very last pages of the book. Still, we even find out fairly early in the book that there is some connection between these two deaths, or at least the individuals involved. We seem to know a good deal of what has happened.So is this book a mystery? Well, actually, I would describe this as a crime novel, emphasis on the novel. A novel that happens to be centered around some very nasty crimes.This is the second of Mina's book starring Detective Inspector Alex Morrow, charged with investigating the murder. And starring is the right word. She is an excellent character, tough and smart at her job while at the same time dealing with a potential coup happening among her fellow police officers. Yet she has another side, a vulnerable side, that we see when she has to deal with the burial of her father, forcing her once more to interact with her brother, the head of a criminal organization and a secret she has been trying to keep her whole adult life. He is part of a world she has tried so hard to leave behind but that she keeps getting dragged back into. And then there is the fact that she is five months pregnant, with twins no less, a wonderful, hopeful event yet one with just a bit of fear after the death of Morrow's first child, a son, just a few years ago.But Morrow is not the only great character in this story. Even the murder victim, Sarah, has more than a few secrets, not the least of which is the vast amount of money hidden under the kitchen table. What exactly was she into, and is that tied to her death? Then there is Kay, a house cleaner with four teenage children, just trying her best to scrape by, and protect her kids growing up in a less than ideal circumstance. But she too is key to the story, because it turns out she knew the murdered woman, was the principle caregiver for the murdered woman recently dead mother...and a childhood friend of DI Morrow. Kay is tough and smart too, just like her old friend, but could she somehow be involved in the murder..and just how far will she go to protect her kids? And speaking of protecting your kids, we will also meet the family of Lars Anderson, the man who committed suicide, a family that puts the dysfunction in dysfunctional. Yes, ultimately this book is all about family, about the family we grew up in and the family we create, about families that protect and families that destroy. Highly recommended.
<i>The End of the Wasp Season</i> is Denise Mina's second book featuring Glasgow detective Alex Morrow. Here she's in charge of investigating the brutal death of a young woman in her own home. Morrow's previous partner and rival, Bannerman, is now her boss and he's managed to alienate all the officers he now oversees, so that they are intent on doing as little as possible. Morrow has a difficult case on her hands and she's having trouble getting the men to care about the death of a rich prostitute with no relatives. She's also pregnant with twins, which is making it harder for her to be as badass as she usually is. Morrow also discovers an old school friend, Kay Murray, worked for the murdered woman. They were once close, but Morrow left the council flats and joined the police and Kay is a single mother to four teenagers, scraping by as a house cleaner. It's with Kay that Mina shows how very good a writer she is. Kay looks older than her age, working menial jobs while raising children alone. She's tough and honest and tired and determined and very, very likable. And Morrow's in a better place than she was in <i>Still Midnight</i>. She's still hard as nails, but she's determined to understand the victim and to navigate the shoals of poisonous office politics.<i>She took a bite of her apple and tried to imagine allowing herself to be fucked by an unattractive stranger in an unfamiliar room. She found it hard to imagine allowing someone to even touch her without seeing herself punching a nose.</i>I didn't entirely warm to Alex Morrow when she appeared as the protagonist in [Still Midnight]. She was prickly and defensive and lacked the spark that animated her previous heroines. But she's come into her own with this book and I'm eager to see what she does next.
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