Conviction
Conviction stars a strong female protagonist who is obsessed by true crime podcasts and decides, one day, to investigate one of the unsolved crimes herself.It’s just a normal morning for Anna McDonald. Gym kits, packed lunches, getting everyone up and ready. Until she opens the front door to her best friend, Estelle. Anna turns to see her own husband at the top of the stairs, suitcase in hand. They’re leaving together and they’re taking Anna’s two daughters with them.Left alone in the big, dark house, Anna can’t think, she can’t take it in. With her safe, predictable world shattered, she distracts herself with a story: a true-crime podcast. There’s a sunken yacht in the Mediterranean, multiple murders and a hint of power and corruption. Then Anna realises she knew one of the victims in another life. She is convinced she knows what happened. Her past, so carefully hidden until now, will no longer stay silent.This is a murder she can’t ignore, and she throws herself into investigating the case. But little does she know, her past and present lives are about to collide, sending everything she has worked so hard to achieve into freefall.Conviction is the compelling and unique new thriller from multiple award-winner and author of THE LONG DROP, Denise Mina.

Conviction Details

TitleConviction
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseMay 16th, 2019
PublisherHarvill Secker
ISBN-139781911215257
Rating
GenreMystery, Thriller, Fiction, Crime, Mystery Thriller

Conviction Review

  • Paromjit
    January 1, 1970
    If there is only one crime thriller book you read this year, make sure it is this one from the award winning Scottish writer, Denise Mina. This is a markedly different read from her previous works, it has a lightness of touch, is darkly humorous, relevant in our contemporary world of #MeToo, and utterly riveting. The well to do Anna McDonald is married to lawyer, Hamish, and has two young daughters, Jess and Lizzie. Anna is a true crime podcast obsessive, her latest one is entitled Death and the If there is only one crime thriller book you read this year, make sure it is this one from the award winning Scottish writer, Denise Mina. This is a markedly different read from her previous works, it has a lightness of touch, is darkly humorous, relevant in our contemporary world of #MeToo, and utterly riveting. The well to do Anna McDonald is married to lawyer, Hamish, and has two young daughters, Jess and Lizzie. Anna is a true crime podcast obsessive, her latest one is entitled Death and the Dana, produced by Trina Keany. The Dana is a sunken yacht in the Bay of Biscay in which a murdered family, a father and his daughter and son, 21 year old Violetta and 16 year old Mark died, a tragic event shrouded in mystery and secrets. The Dana has a history of ghosts and tragedies that have sealed its reputation as a cursed vessel. On a morning that is to shatter her life apart, Anna is engaged in the everyday preparations for her family when her best friend, Estelle arrives. Hamish has a packed suitcase, he is leaving her for Estelle, taking Jess and Lizzie with him.It soon becomes clear Anna has a troubled hidden past that has required her to live under the radar with a new identity. As Anna drowns in her overwhelming misery, she can focus only on the podcast, shocked when she recognises a name, a man she briefly knew when working at Skibo Castle, a man she is certain is a good person. To her surprise, Fin Cohen, Estelle's washed out ex-rock star husband, turns up on her doorstep. Fin is jittery and volatile, suffering from an anorexia that descended on him amidst his failure to handle his sudden meteoric fame and celebrity. Fin's appearance gives Anna a reason to rise above the mire of her personal horrors. Fin and Anna take off on a odd couple odyssey in which Fin becomes caught up in the unfolding crime podcast which has the two of them working together to solve the mystery behind the sunken Dana. However, social media and Fin's fame on Twitter threatens to expose Anna's traumatic past, bringing with it deadly dangers as they visit Skibo Castle, London, and go to the coastal resort of Saint Martin in France and Venice in Italy.Denisa Mina writes a vividly beguiling, edgy, and all consuming crime read of the highest order that just grabs you from the beginning and never once lets you go until you get to the very last page. In Anna, Mina creates what she refers to as an amazing woman, and she is right. Anna is one of the huge numbers of women who have survived the kind of abuse, assault and trauma which society deems can only mean what happened to them was not so bad without once acknowledging that these women are truly amazing to have come through the darkest and most soul destroying of experiences. There is a wonderful host of characters that inhabit the novel, from Fin, Adam, the drug addict and an unforgettable gangster on a train. All in all, this is a stellar novel that any crime fiction and thriller fan is likely to adore. An absolute must read that comes highly recommended! Many thanks to Random House Vintage for an ARC.
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  • Susanne Strong
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 Stars* (rounded down). Not your average thriller! A woman obsessed with podcasts starts investigating a man she once knew who is the star of one. Talk about an intriguing premise! Anna McDonald is a married woman who believes she is happily married when her husband takes off with her best friend and her children. With her life left in tatters, she starts investigating a man whose family is featured on a podcast. All were murdered at sea, on the Dana, a sunken yacht in the Bay of Biscay. The 3.5 Stars* (rounded down). Not your average thriller! A woman obsessed with podcasts starts investigating a man she once knew who is the star of one. Talk about an intriguing premise! Anna McDonald is a married woman who believes she is happily married when her husband takes off with her best friend and her children. With her life left in tatters, she starts investigating a man whose family is featured on a podcast. All were murdered at sea, on the Dana, a sunken yacht in the Bay of Biscay. The podcast accuses many and that crime is shrouded in secrecy and mayhem. The Dana had a history. Cursed they said. Soon Anna takes off on a journey trying to uncover mystery of the “Death and the Dana.” Fin Cohen, her former best friend’s jilted ex-husband, goes along for the ride. What transpires between the two is quite humorous. Fin is a complete hoot and is a character you will be sure to love. Conviction is a wholly different type of novel in the suspense genre. My favorite parts of this book are the interactions between the characters (Anna, Fin and another character named Adam) v. the chapters featuring the actual podcasts (which I think are on the slower side). What I find intriguing is how the author, Denise Mina, intertwines the storylines – which at first, seem quite impossible and then, well, are absolutely seamless. If you are looking for an interesting take on a thriller, all I can say is, this is it! This was a buddy read with Kaceey! Glad we shared in this read together. Thank you to NetGalley, Mulholland Books and Denise Mina for an arc of this novel in exchange for an honest review.Published on NetGalley and Goodreads on 5.15.19.Will be published on Amazon on 6.18.19
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  • Louise Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    I was sucked into this story from the beginning. This is just the second book that I have read by the author but I will definitely read more. The book is set partly in Glasgow. Anna McDonald's has just left her for her best friend and he has taken their children with him. Anna loves to listen to true crime podcasts. Apart from Glasgow, we also travel to Fort William and lle de Re in France. Anna's life is complex, I don't want to say more than that as it would contain spoilers. This is a story w I was sucked into this story from the beginning. This is just the second book that I have read by the author but I will definitely read more. The book is set partly in Glasgow. Anna McDonald's has just left her for her best friend and he has taken their children with him. Anna loves to listen to true crime podcasts. Apart from Glasgow, we also travel to Fort William and lle de Re in France. Anna's life is complex, I don't want to say more than that as it would contain spoilers. This is a story with an original plot that flips back to the past to let us know some background details. The story got even better when she hit the road with Fin. The story is a bit dark and scary, with stories within stories. A well written and thought out plot. I loved it.I would like to thank NetGalley, Random House Uk, Vintage Publishing and the author Denise Mina for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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  • Kaceey
    January 1, 1970
    4.5*This was a delightfully surprising read for me. I know what a talented author Denise Mina is, so I suppose I shouldn’t have been shocked at just how much I enjoyed her latest work.This book had my full, undivided attention from cover to cover!Anna finds her inner peace reading. (Sound familiar?) Her other guilty pleasure is listening to true crime podcasts. Her latest favorite is called Death and the Dana. A yacht sinks, drowning a man named Leon along with his 2 children. Wait a minute.Did 4.5*This was a delightfully surprising read for me. I know what a talented author Denise Mina is, so I suppose I shouldn’t have been shocked at just how much I enjoyed her latest work.This book had my full, undivided attention from cover to cover!Anna finds her inner peace reading. (Sound familiar?) Her other guilty pleasure is listening to true crime podcasts. Her latest favorite is called Death and the Dana. A yacht sinks, drowning a man named Leon along with his 2 children. Wait a minute.Did Anna hear that correctly? Leon? It couldn’t possibly be the same Leon from her past. (or could it?) She’s instantly sucked into the podcast as her past begins to re-surface. Can Anna uncover the truth behind the tragic death of her friend and his children? And what fragile parts of her own life threaten to be exposed as a result?Denise Mina has a true gift, delivering a mesmerizing tale that’ll keep you flying through the pages right to the end. The characters are vivid, real and very human. I felt I was along for the ride with Annie in her quest for the truth. The story unfolds from Anna’s POV with the addition of the pod-casts that add such amazing depth. Highly recommend!A buddy read with Susanne!Thank you to NetGalley, Mulholland Books and Denise Mina for an ARC to read and review.
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  • Susan
    January 1, 1970
    I have, so far, read two books by Denise Mina, and a short story, all of which I have loved; which leads me to the conclusion that I really need to go back and rediscover her earlier work and, in particular, her crime series. Both of the novels I have read, “The Long Drop,” and this, “Conviction,” have been stand alone books and both have been excellent, in different ways. Anna McDonald is having marriage counselling, but it does not seem to be working, as when we meet her, husband Hamish heads I have, so far, read two books by Denise Mina, and a short story, all of which I have loved; which leads me to the conclusion that I really need to go back and rediscover her earlier work and, in particular, her crime series. Both of the novels I have read, “The Long Drop,” and this, “Conviction,” have been stand alone books and both have been excellent, in different ways. Anna McDonald is having marriage counselling, but it does not seem to be working, as when we meet her, husband Hamish heads out of the door with her best friend, and her two daughters. Left behind, Anna concentrates on a true crime podcast, to help think of other things and discovers that, “Death and the Dana,” which is about the death of a man, and his children, on a yacht, involves someone she once knew, who was married to a woman that she knows of all too well…It soon appears that Anna McDonald has a secret past. However, when her (former) best friend’s husband appears, a famous musician, with problems of his own, she finds herself suddenly thrown into the limelight. A chance photo of her and Fin, sees her face on social media, and recognition is quick to follow. With Fin in tow, the two embark on a roller coaster ride to discover the truth, avoid the bad guys and avoid being murdered.This is a wonderful read, fast moving, humorous and very much contemporary, with podcasts and social media very central to the plot. Denise Mina is a brilliant writer and I love her work and look forward to reading more. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review.
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  • Lou
    January 1, 1970
    What sets Denise Mina apart from the rest of the crime crowd is her portrayal of ordinary, humdrum lives which go on to be affected by a single life-altering catalyst. From then on life spirals drastically out of control and that is exactly what happens here with Anna and her family. The scenario manages to remain the right side of credible and, in my opinion, the reason Mina's books are so exceptional is that they feature a potent mix of interesting characters, solid plot, relaxed writing with What sets Denise Mina apart from the rest of the crime crowd is her portrayal of ordinary, humdrum lives which go on to be affected by a single life-altering catalyst. From then on life spirals drastically out of control and that is exactly what happens here with Anna and her family. The scenario manages to remain the right side of credible and, in my opinion, the reason Mina's books are so exceptional is that they feature a potent mix of interesting characters, solid plot, relaxed writing with some real prose gems, lots of excitement, incidents that visibly move you and last but not least witty humour to break up the dark storyline.Without a doubt, one of the most original domestic thrillers out there although the synopsis sounds rather like every other family drama, but don't be fooled this is a well constructed, thought out and unique piece of crime fiction. I enjoyed the intensity and our fierce female protagonist, Anna, was to die for. Unreservedly recommended to crime, thriller and mystery fans, and those who've adored Mina's past offerings will find more of the same in Conviction. I can't wait to see what she publishes next. Good luck with putting this one down! Many thanks to Harvill Secker for an ARC.
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  • Liz Barnsley
    January 1, 1970
    Conviction was absolutely riveting from the very first page – a vibrant, edgy and brilliantly done character voice, this is a layered tale that sucks you into it’s mysteries then throws you out the other side feeling like you’ve been through the wringer right beside Anna.Using a podcast as an anchor to mystery storytelling is popular at the moment but I’ve not seen it used in quite this way before – those portions of the plot are fascinatingly immersive (yes I know) a sunken ship haunted by a gh Conviction was absolutely riveting from the very first page – a vibrant, edgy and brilliantly done character voice, this is a layered tale that sucks you into it’s mysteries then throws you out the other side feeling like you’ve been through the wringer right beside Anna.Using a podcast as an anchor to mystery storytelling is popular at the moment but I’ve not seen it used in quite this way before – those portions of the plot are fascinatingly immersive (yes I know) a sunken ship haunted by a ghost and the mention of a name that starts Anna’s journey back through a past she hoped she’d left behind. But you can never really leave some things because they never leave you.It’s a page turner, crime fiction on a higher level, I won’t give too much plot away, suffice to say it is twisty indeed with emotionally charged themes and a clever mystery at the heart of it that is unexpected at every turn. The characters live and breathe on the page, they will stay with you long after you are done.Conviction as a whole put me in mind of the Latin “Post Hoc, Ergo, Propter Hoc” – After, Therefore, Because of it – events and connections all underneath it all. I loved it because it challenged me, I really didn’t know where it was going to end up.Absolutely highly recommended. Also before you think I’m cleverer than I am, the Latin came from an episode of the also brilliantly written “The West Wing” and has stayed with me long enough for me to apply it here.Don’t miss this one.
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  • Gram
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderfully sprawling tale with a twisted plot, most of which would easily feature in today's news headlines. The story opens with Anna McDonald, wife of a well-heeled Glasgow lawyer and mother of two young daughters, listening to a true crime podcast titled "Death and the Dana" as she prepares her daughters'clothes and packed lunches for school.Suddenly, a name from her past leaps out from the podcast. A man she knew briefly a decade ago is dead, killed in an explosion aboard a yacht This is a wonderfully sprawling tale with a twisted plot, most of which would easily feature in today's news headlines. The story opens with Anna McDonald, wife of a well-heeled Glasgow lawyer and mother of two young daughters, listening to a true crime podcast titled "Death and the Dana" as she prepares her daughters'clothes and packed lunches for school.Suddenly, a name from her past leaps out from the podcast. A man she knew briefly a decade ago is dead, killed in an explosion aboard a yacht which sank in the Bay of Biscay. With him were his teenage daughter and son. A young woman was arrested for planting explosives on the Dana and is now in prison. As she struggles to take in this news, her best friend Estelle arrives to collect her daughters for the school run - or so Anna thinks. Instead, she discovers her husband Hamish is leaving her for good, taking their daughters with him. He and Estelle have had an affair and amid a brief shouting match with Hamish and Estelle, Anna's world falls apart. With her life seemingly in tatters, she decides to distract herself from her family problems by investigating Leon's death. Then Estelle's husband Fin - a one-time rock star who suffers from anorexia - turns up and the two set off on an incredible journey which first takes them north to Skibo Castle (built by the fabulously wealthy businessman, Andrew Carnegie) then down to London to meet Tina, the broadcaster of the true crime podcast and on to Saint-Martin-de-Ré where the Dana was docked before its' final fateful journey. From there, she and Fin travel on to Italy and back to France. Half way through the book, we learn the shocking truth of Anna's past and how her present actions will place her in mortal danger.Along the way we meet some old friends of hers and more fantastical characters including hired killers and lackeys of the very rich desperate to prevent Anna from discovering the truth about her past and how it affects the present. This is a wonderfully original crime novel from a writer at the top of her form. It fails to conform to the usual boundaries of crime fiction and in Anna it has a tough female lead who will have you cheering her on. By turns, darkly comic and heart-wrenchingly sad, this is a terrific read. Highly recommended. My thanks to NetGalley and the publisher Harvill Secker for a copy of this book in return for an unbiased review.
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  • Oliver Clarke
    January 1, 1970
    'Conviction' has pretty much everything you might want from a thriller. It’s gripping, funny and has an enjoyable mystery running through it. It's also wildly different in tone and subject matter to the last Denise Mina book I read, ‘The Long Drop’, which speaks to her talents as a writer. I didn’t like it quite as much as ‘The Long Drop’, but then that was one of my favourite reads of 2018, so the bar was set high. That book was serious and fairly bleak, ‘Conviction’ is a much lighter read.It o 'Conviction' has pretty much everything you might want from a thriller. It’s gripping, funny and has an enjoyable mystery running through it. It's also wildly different in tone and subject matter to the last Denise Mina book I read, ‘The Long Drop’, which speaks to her talents as a writer. I didn’t like it quite as much as ‘The Long Drop’, but then that was one of my favourite reads of 2018, so the bar was set high. That book was serious and fairly bleak, ‘Conviction’ is a much lighter read.It opens with heroine Anna confronted by a double whammy of revelations.1) She discovers, via a true crime podcast, that an old friend of hers is dead and may be responsible for the deaths of his family. 2) Her husband announces he is leaving her for the woman next door.Those two things set Anna off on an international investigation into the deaths and her own past with the man next door, anorexic pop star Fin. Whilst it relies on a couple of reasonably unlikely coincidences, the book manages to be quite convincing on its own terms. It’s a fun read and I suspect not meant to be taken too seriously, although there is some effective and thought-provoking commentary on how rape victims are treated by the police and the press. The plot rattles along at breakneck speed and the amateur investigation is enjoyable. Anna’s sardonic narration and plain speaking is often amusing and added a lot to my enjoyment of the story. It’s perhaps not quite as funny as it might have been, but Mina does have a deftly comic turn of phrase at times. What really makes the book, though, is the relationship between Anna and Fin. It’s touching, funny and believable. I found myself really rooting for the unlikely pair and I hope that Mina will consider giving them another outing. It might sound like damning with faint praise, but I’d heartily recommend ‘Conviction’ as a holiday read. It’s packed with enjoyable European locations and a bit of glamour, it’ll make you laugh and keep you guessing, and the characters will stay with you.
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  • Jamie
    January 1, 1970
    A true crime podcast that intersects with real life? Sign me right up!!!!! This is the first book I’ve read by Denise Mina and I was hooked right away - as Anna McDonald’s personal life unravels, she finds herself on a road trip with an unlikely companion and they are listening to a podcast about the mysterious sinking of the Dana and Anna begins to try to solve the mystery on her own. Told in perspectives that alternate between the podcast and Anna, my attention was held the entire book and I f A true crime podcast that intersects with real life? Sign me right up!!!!! This is the first book I’ve read by Denise Mina and I was hooked right away - as Anna McDonald’s personal life unravels, she finds herself on a road trip with an unlikely companion and they are listening to a podcast about the mysterious sinking of the Dana and Anna begins to try to solve the mystery on her own. Told in perspectives that alternate between the podcast and Anna, my attention was held the entire book and I flew through the pages eager to know what was going to happen next! And I will say, I was quite satisfied with the resolution! I’m definitely planning to check out Mina’s backlist in the near future! Thank you to Mulholland Books for an advance copy. All opinions are my own.
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  • Kate Vane
    January 1, 1970
    Denise Mina is always willing to take her writing in fresh and interesting directions. Her last novel, The Long Drop, was based on a real-life murder trial in 1950s Glasgow. Now, in Conviction, she has written a novel which zings with contemporary concerns.Anna McDonald is living in Glasgow, married to a lawyer, with two young daughters. They’re affluent and comfortable, if not exactly happy. Anna likes to escape the conflict in her marriage by getting up early, having some alone time, indulging Denise Mina is always willing to take her writing in fresh and interesting directions. Her last novel, The Long Drop, was based on a real-life murder trial in 1950s Glasgow. Now, in Conviction, she has written a novel which zings with contemporary concerns.Anna McDonald is living in Glasgow, married to a lawyer, with two young daughters. They’re affluent and comfortable, if not exactly happy. Anna likes to escape the conflict in her marriage by getting up early, having some alone time, indulging her passion for books and podcasts. She has been listening to a true-crime podcast when she answers the door to her best friend.Her best friend and her husband announce that they have been having an affair, and they are going away together, with the girls. After Anna has colourfully expressed her response, they leave, and she, in her despair, turns back to the podcast to distract her.It’s the story of a wealthy businessman whose luxury yacht was blown up in the Mediterranean while he and his children were on board. Many believe that the woman who was convicted of the crime is innocent. As Anna listens she learns that the businessman was Leon Parker, a man she knew many years ago.While she is musing on this, Fin, the husband of her formerly best friend turns up to offer consolation. Fin happens to be a famous rock star. When a starstruck neighbour takes their picture to share on social media, Anna panics. It turns out Anna has a secret and she doesn’t want to be recognised.Fin wants to talk. Anna wants to get away. He decides to come with her. So begins a journey that takes in a number of stylish locations across Europe, as Anna ostensibly chases the story of the Dana, while also hoping to escape the attention she is sure the picture will bring her. In doing so she becomes both pursuer and pursued.Anna and Fin’s first stop is Skibo Castle, the luxury hotel and celebrity hideaway in the Highlands where she once worked as a waitress and Leon was a guest. They also take in the exclusive Mediterranean port where the yacht was on the fateful night and Venice as they seek out the people who can shed light on the events on the Dana and in Anna’s own past.The light and dark elements of the story are carefully balanced. There is some great comedy in the odd encounters along the way, and in Anna and Fin’s relationship. Fin is self-absorbed and fragile, Anna is abrasive and driven and singularly unimpressed by his fame or his music. The humour serves to heighten, rather than diminish, the darker elements of the novel.Conviction raises interesting questions about the contradictory nature of fame and notoriety. At times along the way Fin’s fame leads people to help them out of trouble. But for Anna and Fin, visibility means both danger from others and internal conflict as they struggle to reconcile who they are and how the public sees them.Anna’s dilemma as she tries to outrun her past is one that could apply to many people. She has moved away, changed her appearance, adopted a new life, but it is still there, online, waiting for someone to make the connection.The writing may be clever but the reading is easy – full of pace and energy and fun. You may have to suspend disbelief for some elements of the plot but that all adds to the sense that Anna’s life has exploded and the normal rules no longer apply. When you lose everything, and there is suddenly nothing to anchor you, that brings a strange freedom.Conviction’s glamorous locations and page-turning exuberance make it a good holiday read but it also has some sharp insights that stay with you long after the trip is over.*I received a copy of Conviction from the publisher via Netgalley.Read more of my reviews at https://katevane.com/blog
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  • Elaine Tomasso
    January 1, 1970
    I would like to thank Netgalley and Random House UK, Vintage Publishing for an advance copy of Conviction, a stand alone set in various parts of Europe.Anna McDonald is listening to a true crime podcast, Death and The Dana, when she realises she knows one of the dead, Leon Parker. She is intrigued and continues to listen but it is only when her husband leaves her for her best friend, Estelle, and takes her daughters that she decides, on a whim to investigate further, taking Estelle’s husband, Fi I would like to thank Netgalley and Random House UK, Vintage Publishing for an advance copy of Conviction, a stand alone set in various parts of Europe.Anna McDonald is listening to a true crime podcast, Death and The Dana, when she realises she knows one of the dead, Leon Parker. She is intrigued and continues to listen but it is only when her husband leaves her for her best friend, Estelle, and takes her daughters that she decides, on a whim to investigate further, taking Estelle’s husband, Fin, along for the ride.I thoroughly enjoyed Conviction, managing to read it cover to cover in one sitting as I was unable to put it down. Technically speaking it is a novel that shouldn’t appeal to me - protagonist with secrets (just get on with it is my usual thought) , lots of unlikely foreign travel (how can they afford it?) and a prominent social media presence( I’m too old and uninterested to “get” it) - but this compelling, everything is explained and I loved it. The basic premise of the plot, evil, rich, greedy mastermind with tentacles everywhere and the money to protect their reputation and subvert police investigations, takes a bit of swallowing but while that chunters in the background as the motivation behind Anna’s actions the novel is all about Anna, her secrets, character and actions. Told in the first person from Anna’s point of view I was captured from the first paragraph when she explains that the truth will not set you free and that lies are the way forward. Nothing in the novel is as it seems and it turns out that Anna is a good person in some ways. She is also grumpy, argumentative and task orientated but to counter that she is clear sighted, occasionally funny and sharp. In other words a real person. I love her voice and her squabbles with Fin.Her narrative is interspersed with excerpts from the podcast which is fascinating in the way facts can be spun. There are frequent references to social media and the licence it gives to so called armchair warriors. It’s not my world but I think Ms Mina gets it right with the extreme reactions and the way it can be manipulated. I found some it amusing.The novel is well paced with a gradual teasing out of Anna’s history and the reasons for her lies and what really happened on The Dana. At the same time it moves from location to location with action, violence and some interesting characters. There are several twists and shocks but in the best tradition Ms Mina saves the best for last. What a twist!Conviction is one of the best novels I have read this year so I have no hesitation in recommending it as a good read.
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  • Nigeyb
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Denise Mina's The Long Drop (2017) - Winner of the Gordon Burn Prize 2017, and the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year 2017 - and so was keen to read more of Denise's work.Unlike The Long Drop, Conviction (2019) is wholly fictional however it is also a very modern story which embraces podcasts, the #metoo movement, rape, wealth and privilege, identity, social media, and murder. Quite a lot of murder.Although elements of the plot do not bare too much scrutiny, Conviction I loved Denise Mina's The Long Drop (2017) - Winner of the Gordon Burn Prize 2017, and the McIlvanney Prize for Scottish Crime Novel of the Year 2017 - and so was keen to read more of Denise's work.Unlike The Long Drop, Conviction (2019) is wholly fictional however it is also a very modern story which embraces podcasts, the #metoo movement, rape, wealth and privilege, identity, social media, and murder. Quite a lot of murder.Although elements of the plot do not bare too much scrutiny, Conviction is a hugely enjoyable rollercoaster ride of a page turner with great characters and some powerful social commentary. 4/5
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  • Sid Nuncius
    January 1, 1970
    I loved Conviction; it is gripping, insightful and witty. It is also an enjoyable change of direction from the very good but unremittingly grim The Long Drop. One of the book’s great features is the narrative voice of Anna, a damaged, often angry woman whose marriage to a wealthy lawyer in Glasgow implodes, revealing that she is not who everyone thinks she is and that her old identity has become public. Details of the death of someone she knew and liked appear on a podcast and there begins a thr I loved Conviction; it is gripping, insightful and witty. It is also an enjoyable change of direction from the very good but unremittingly grim The Long Drop. One of the book’s great features is the narrative voice of Anna, a damaged, often angry woman whose marriage to a wealthy lawyer in Glasgow implodes, revealing that she is not who everyone thinks she is and that her old identity has become public. Details of the death of someone she knew and liked appear on a podcast and there begins a thrilling chase where she and a very famous, complex companion are both on the run and looking for answers to the mystery of the death.In may ways it’s familiar stuff, but Denise Mina does it so well that it feels fresh. Anna’s voice is wonderfully convincing, the plot is plausible (although suspension of disbelief is a bit of an effort at the end) and Mina offers some very shrewd but wholly un-laboured insights into aspects of fame, the effects of social media both good and bad, attitudes to rape and other important matters which she incorporates into the narrative with a very deft touch. I found it completely compelling with some very welcome smiles and laughs in places.There is a huge amount of crime fiction around at the moment; much of it is at best pretty average, some of it is good and just a few books are excellent. I’d put this in the excellent bracket, with its combination of a really good story, a great voice some real intellectual content and a fine leaven of wit. Denise Mina is a terrific writer and this is an example of why she is so highly regarded. Very warmly recommended.(My thanks to Random House for an ATC via NetGalley.)
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  • Dimitris Passas
    January 1, 1970
    This is the first book by the Scottish author, Denise Mina, that I've read and I can say that she deserves the rave reviews written for her previous novels. ''Conviction'' is a tight mystery/thriller, introducing a perfectly drawn main character, Anna McDonald. Anna is a married woman with two little girls and enjoys her everyday routine but already from the first -very well written- pages the audience learns that she has a truly troubled past which she is determined to hide from her family and This is the first book by the Scottish author, Denise Mina, that I've read and I can say that she deserves the rave reviews written for her previous novels. ''Conviction'' is a tight mystery/thriller, introducing a perfectly drawn main character, Anna McDonald. Anna is a married woman with two little girls and enjoys her everyday routine but already from the first -very well written- pages the audience learns that she has a truly troubled past which she is determined to hide from her family and friends. Anna is also a true crime podcast fan and when she listens the first episode of a new podcast regarding the death of a father along with his two children, she is shocked to the core as the name of the father, and possibly the murderer, is more than familiar to her. From that point on, Anna will embark on a dangerous adventure, in order to find the truth about what happened the night that the yacht in which the three family members were on and the real reason behind its sinking. At the same time Anna will have to face a family drama, as her husband abandons her in order live with Anna's best friend, Estella. As the, intricate though easy-to-follow, plot unravels the audience learns about the nature of Anna's past suffering and the reason why she adopted a new name and identity.The main plotline, concerning the yacht's sinking merges with that of Anna's prior life and in the end she will have to encounter the person who was responsible for her ordeals who also holds the key to the yacht mystery. What makes ''Conviction'' a novel that stands out is Denise Mina's wonderful prose and fine-grained characterization. In my opinion her writing style puts her on the top of contemporary European crime fiction authors and she continues in the tradition of many Scottish crime writers, such as Peter May, Ian Rankin, Val McDermid and Philip Kerr The reader identifies with the protagonist even though she is not always likeable as a character and wants a proper resolution for the book's plots and sub-plots. We demand justice for Anna/Sophie and the punishment of the villains. This is a novel that keeps the audience highly engaged and you will find it difficult to put down. I recommend it without any reservation to all crime fiction fanatics and especially to those who enjoy a more literary touch in their crime reads.
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  • Alexa
    January 1, 1970
    What a bizarre whirlwind of a book. I loved it. The voice is what I would call frenetic--it felt like a frenetic reading experience. I devoured it in two marathon, late night reading sessions, drawn in by MC Anna's darkly comedic tone, and the pull of the mystery. I adore a good "the ridiculous rich" thriller, which is what this plays on: on the day her marriage falls apart, Anna starts listening to a new true crime podcast about a yacht sunk off the coast of France and the rich family who drown What a bizarre whirlwind of a book. I loved it. The voice is what I would call frenetic--it felt like a frenetic reading experience. I devoured it in two marathon, late night reading sessions, drawn in by MC Anna's darkly comedic tone, and the pull of the mystery. I adore a good "the ridiculous rich" thriller, which is what this plays on: on the day her marriage falls apart, Anna starts listening to a new true crime podcast about a yacht sunk off the coast of France and the rich family who drown inside. Anna realizes she knew one of the deceased, and is convinced the podcast is wrong, that he didn't kill himself and his family. She sets off to prove it wrong, but ends up tangled up with powerful individuals who have crossed her before.Now this sounds like all the tropes we've seen plenty of times in adult thrillers, but it really is the POV and tone that makes the book: Anna is guarded, borderline unlikeable (she says, but of course I liked her), but darkly funny, and her investigation/travel partner is a washed up, anorexic rock star who tweets about their findings and goes viral. There is literally a scene where Anna and Fin (the rockstar) get drunk off their asses on vodka on a train with two assassins. It was bizarre, and delightful. There was lots of guessing as the layers of the mystery unfolded--what happened on the boat, what happened to Anna, who the real bad guy is--but it wasn't a thriller where all the delight derived from the guessing and the twists. Indeed, the twists become increasingly soap opera-esque, and the book embraces the grandiose tone, which is one of the reasons I loved it. The last third is pretty bonkers and it is delightful.Two nitpicks: do podcasts work differently in the UK? Because in my experience as a listener and recorder of podcasts, no one is doing them on their phone and uploading them in real time to Twitter? That's not a podcast? That's an audio tweet. Podcasts are all researched and recorded ahead of time, and then the story is edited and it is cut together and released--that is how true crime podcasts work. They are journalism, not off-the-cuff audio tweets? And even non-true crime podcasts are not recorded/released like that. I was confused every time they called was Fin was doing a podcast. Podcasts need servers/hosts and RSS feeds to be pulled into podcast apps, etc. (would have worked better as YouTube videos actually)And at one point there is a character in France speaking broken English and then at the end of the conversation it turns out he is German and I had to laugh. The transliteration of his broken English was clearly FRENCH not German. It bugged me a little. (The way a German person will transliterate for English is different than French, and the entire dialogue scene had a French rhythm)One quibble: Don't love the US cover. I gave this a chance on NetGalley because I really loved the last book from this imprint that I read (The Stranger Inside), but I almost didn't because of the cover. It's very upmarket adult fiction (with colors and symbols that throw Asian diaspora, which it is not even in the slightest!), clearly trying to appeal to a different demographic than I am, which is a shame. I think general market adult thriller readers may love this too, but it doesn't have a cover that speaks to that genre. The UK cover fit the genre better, IMO, though I think in both instances a quirkier title would have been better.Also I really hope someone options this because it would make a fun movie. I could see Working Title making it.
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  • Kirsty
    January 1, 1970
    Well, this was a fun one! Like just about everyone, I love a true crime podcast, so I was excited to read a novel that centered on one. The plot is incredibly twisty (to the point that when I tried to explain it to a friend, she reached a point where she just said 'REALLY?' and gave up; for some reason as I was reading it I didn't have the same reaction, and was happy to believe it all). Denise Mina is great at suspense, and the protagonist was a joy to read – so scathing and bitter, but in a to Well, this was a fun one! Like just about everyone, I love a true crime podcast, so I was excited to read a novel that centered on one. The plot is incredibly twisty (to the point that when I tried to explain it to a friend, she reached a point where she just said 'REALLY?' and gave up; for some reason as I was reading it I didn't have the same reaction, and was happy to believe it all). Denise Mina is great at suspense, and the protagonist was a joy to read – so scathing and bitter, but in a totally relatable way. Okay, so it does all get a bit ridiculous towards the end, but hey – I was into it.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    A MUST-READ for crime fiction fans, and for those who already love the magnificent Denise Mina: Get Ready! Denise Mina is back in beyond-excellent form. If you loved her brilliant Garnet Hill trilogy and her Paddy Meehan series, just take a day off from work already to read this when it comes out in June (I was fortunate enough to receive a galley). CONVICTION is the excellently creepy story of a well-to-do young trophy wife / mother and her obsession with true crime podcasts that one morning ta A MUST-READ for crime fiction fans, and for those who already love the magnificent Denise Mina: Get Ready! Denise Mina is back in beyond-excellent form. If you loved her brilliant Garnet Hill trilogy and her Paddy Meehan series, just take a day off from work already to read this when it comes out in June (I was fortunate enough to receive a galley). CONVICTION is the excellently creepy story of a well-to-do young trophy wife / mother and her obsession with true crime podcasts that one morning takes a very dark and terrifying turn and forces her to solve a deadly mystery from her past that she's spent years avoiding. There are stories within stories in this expertly layered novel and characters you'll never forget, such as a vain, anorexic former rock star who just wants his mojo back and a female uber villain who is the product of her dark past in an unusual way. I loved the ending. A+
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  • Lel Budge
    January 1, 1970
    This is a wonderful twisty tale about Anna McDonald, she had a past life that she’s kept secret from her lawyer husband. One morning, listening to a podcast she hears a name she knows...Leon!He has died on a yacht, purportedly by explosives planted by chef, Amila.Her life then takes a miserable turn as her husband Hamish leaves her, taking her two daughters with him.To keep herself occupied she decides to look into Leon’s death, Alison with the troubled Fin….The story travels to Italy and France This is a wonderful twisty tale about Anna McDonald, she had a past life that she’s kept secret from her lawyer husband. One morning, listening to a podcast she hears a name she knows...Leon!He has died on a yacht, purportedly by explosives planted by chef, Amila.Her life then takes a miserable turn as her husband Hamish leaves her, taking her two daughters with him.To keep herself occupied she decides to look into Leon’s death, Alison with the troubled Fin….The story travels to Italy and France and we find out the truth of Anna’s past and she is now in danger….there are some strong characters, from hired assassins to the incredibly wealthy to keep this crime thriller tearing along at breakneck speed. It has humour and heartbreak and is an incredibly entertaining read.I would like to thank the Pigeonhole and the author for the opportunity to read this book for free and this is my honest and unbiased review
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  • Bebe (Sarah) Brechner
    January 1, 1970
    Readers will not be able to put this new type of thriller down! Main character Anna McDonald's life explodes in a seemingly mundane way (unfaithful husband), but unexpectedly, things rev up to the highest gear as her previously hidden and traumatic past life catches up with her, and she determines to face her greatest fears. This is a smart and fearless take on the thriller genre, with podcasting and social media playing out on the usual field of killers, paranoia, and bad decisions.
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  • Claire Wilson
    January 1, 1970
    Conviction by Denise Mina sucked me in completely. I was gripped by the second page and couldn't put the book down until it was finished. The book is described as 'a thrill-a-minute ride across Europe' and it doesn't disappoint. When Anna wakes up one morning, intent on carrying out her normal routine, she doesn't know that her whole world is about to change. But Anna is keeping secrets of her own. What follows is an absolutely gripping story which will inevitably win awards. 4 fantastic stars
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  • Mary Picken
    January 1, 1970
    The overwhelming feeling I got from Conviction – one of my must read books of 2019, was of deliciously enjoyable light and shade. This is a writer having fun and there’s a delicate touch to the writing that allows Mina to deploy her dark humour while wrapping us in an engrossing story that carries us on journeys across Europe (thank goodness there’s no Brexit here yet) in search of a stunning denouement.Anna McDonald is our protagonist. She lives well in Glasgow’s comfortably corniced West End w The overwhelming feeling I got from Conviction – one of my must read books of 2019, was of deliciously enjoyable light and shade. This is a writer having fun and there’s a delicate touch to the writing that allows Mina to deploy her dark humour while wrapping us in an engrossing story that carries us on journeys across Europe (thank goodness there’s no Brexit here yet) in search of a stunning denouement.Anna McDonald is our protagonist. She lives well in Glasgow’s comfortably corniced West End with her husband, Hamish and her two daughters, Jess and Lizzie. A light and uneasy sleeper, Anna loves having the early mornings to herself when she uses her solitary time to listen to true crime podcasts.Death and the Dana is her current listen. A six-episode series about the sinking of the Dana, a yacht moored on an island off the west coast of France, near La Rochelle. One night, the ship slipped out of the harbour with its navigation lights off and using no and radio communication. It crossed the shipping channel, suffered an explosion below decks, and sank in the Bay of Biscay. Aboard were a father and his two grown children, Mark and Violetta. The crew had been paid and sent ashore, and the chef had boarded a plane to Lyon. Yet she was charged with and convicted of the murder of al three. Podcast producer Trina Keany is having trouble making sense of this judgement. The sinking of the Dana and the deaths of these three are surrounded by intrigue and have all the hallmarks of a great story; a tragic event, money, a reclusive heiress, ghosts and too many secrets to uncover in one episode.As the novel begins, Anna’s life is about to be turned upside down. Her best friend, Estelle arrives at the door and as she does so, husband Hamish leaves with her, taking her daughters and leaving her without so much as a backward glance. Hamish and Estelle are off to Portugal with the girls, generously allowing Anna a week to get used to her new situation, and then they’ll be back to live in the house. Hamish generously leaves Anna a wad of cash – ‘re-settlement money’ – so that she can find somewhere else to go. He’s a peach, isn’t he?Overwhelmed by shock and struggling to understand what has been going on under her nose, Anna’s hold on reality is obtained by her focus on the true crime podcast, mostly because she recognises a name from her past in connection with the crime. Anna met Leon Parker years ago, when she was working as a maid at the chic and exclusive Skibo Castle, where Parker was a guest. They used to chat over a clandestine cigarette by the bins and Anna liked the way that Leon neither patronised nor pawed at her but simply enjoyed sharing stories and the odd joke.When Fin Cohen, Estelle’s husband, turns up on her doorstep, it’s clear he is in a worse state than Anna. Fin is a rock star, one who had a meteoric rise to fame and then couldn’t handle the pressure; now he is an anorexic and quite fragile. Estelle’s decision to leave him has hit him hard.Anna and Fin launch decide to take a trip to get away from the wreckage of their lives. As they travel, Anna plays the Dana podcast and Fin, too gets caught up in the mystery. The two set off to work together to solve the mystery behind the sunken Dana – as much a diversion therapy as anything else, but why not? After all, Anna has this wad of cash burning a hole in her pocket.It isn’t long before we realise that there is more to Anna than we were at first led to believe. Mina spins a compelling first person story narrative – a web within a spider’s web, where the threads are intertwined and to solve one set of murders we will first have to understand what lies behind Anna’s own story and to conquer the dragon that has been breathing fire on Anna’s heels for years.Anna is stronger than she knows and her resilience will inspire Fin to create their own podcast, a narrative on solving the Dana crimes. Fin’s celebrity status means their podcast jumps high in the ratings from the outset, attracting not only fascinated listeners but also agents of destruction bent on stopping Fin and Anna.Denise Mina has written a brilliant, character driven, edgy and relatable crime thriller that combines the best characterisation with compelling story telling. There’s so much too this exceptional, layered crime thriller that the reader will be captivated and enthralled by the deft plotting, stunning secrets and rich characters that populate the pages.Inside this true crime podcast is an even truer story. An everyday story of rape, trauma, persecution and privilege prevailing. A shocking, unhinging tale of how money talks loudest of all.In Anna, Mina has given us an astonishingly rich character. Anna is a resilient sharp and focussed protagonist whose clear sight and determination can move mountains, when you thought you were getting a story about castles and ghosts. She ought not to be likable. From the beginning of this novel she has been clear that she’s no big fan of the truth. ‘Lie and lie again’ is her motto. Yet despite her penchant for lying and her deceitful behaviour, there’s something about Anna you can’t help but like even before you know her story.Mina takes her readers on a fascinating journey across Europe in search of the truth. In doing so she articulates the power in speaking the truth and in being heard. Amidst this undeniably gripping crime story there is another story that stands true and proud and calls out its name unashamedly.This is the power of Conviction, a novel with two stories and two meanings. Amidst the luxury yachts of France’s coastline and glamorous European locations taking us into the world of international finance, Mina spins her pacey tale with dark humour, sordid deeds and fabulously described characters.Verdict: There’s enough here for every reader with twists and turns to delight and confound. What lingers, though, is the impact of Anna’s ability to finally stop sheltering behind the lies. To feel the impact on her relationships of being able to come out and speak the truth. To finally hear her own story in her own words, told with conviction. That’s a story to be proud of, too.
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  • David Harris
    January 1, 1970
    I love Denise Mina's books. Just when you think you know what's coming, she wrong foots you with a move sideways, shifting from crime series to true life based crime to - as here - a chilling standalone psychological thriller.This was a grabby book - the sort that keeps you sitting up into the small hours, just to see what's next. Following a gripping road trip undertaken by two lonely, desperate people who start hating one other, but each of whom gradually comes to trust and support the other, I love Denise Mina's books. Just when you think you know what's coming, she wrong foots you with a move sideways, shifting from crime series to true life based crime to - as here - a chilling standalone psychological thriller.This was a grabby book - the sort that keeps you sitting up into the small hours, just to see what's next. Following a gripping road trip undertaken by two lonely, desperate people who start hating one other, but each of whom gradually comes to trust and support the other, it's a marvellously convoluted, tricksy read."There has to be a reason to tell the truth. I stopped some time ago..."Anna is the happy mother of two girls, partner to Hamish, a seemingly dull (but rich) Scottish lawyer and living a quiet life in Glasgow. The most exciting recent event in her life was the campaign for a new laminator at the school. It is clear, as she narrates this story, that there's something a little odd about her - Hamish resents her habit of getting up early to wander the house alone, and the two are going through relationship counselling. Perhaps a life of cosy domesticity is grinding her down?There are secrets in this book, things Anna has pushed into the unswept corners of her mind, people she's hiding from. She knows they must never, never come to light. But there's no reason why they ever should - is there?Conviction launches on an ordinary day, but an ordinary day when everything goes wrong. Anna's world collapses that morning and there's nothing she can do but run again - accompanied by anorexic musician Fin, who's been shipwrecked by the same storm that's left her adrift. Thrown into each others' company, what can the two do but get in a car, bickering, and set off into the Scottish night, still bickering, to solve a notorious mystery, the sinking of luxury yacht the Dana?Ricocheting between locations such as a ghastly tourist trap haggis restaurant, an upmarket Highland hotel, an exclusive French resort and a Venetian slum, while running down a pile of Hamish's cash, the pair take as their guide a podcast series about the sinking of that yacht, and follow up the leads. In the course of this we learn more about the ghastly events that sent Anna into hiding, about the origins of Fin's anorexia, the notorious Sophie Bukaran - and the truth behind the Dana. The book is strong stuff in places, with references to rape, to eating disorders, and to a real sense of mental disintegration. Anna is at times very scary - forgetting bits of certain episodes, driving like a fiend, all the time running from something that not only destroyed her faith in justice but left her at the mercy of baying mobs - in real life, and online.She starts, then, low on trust and the very gradual thaw between her and Fin (not a sexual thing, it's mush more interesting than that) is a deeply moving theme of this book, even more interesting and enthralling perhaps than the solution to the mystery (although that is itself a complex, twisty and satisfying crime story in its own right.Oh, and did I mention, someone is trying to kill Anna and Fin?So there's a lot going on in this book, which is never less than deeply, deeply readable, and often brilliant. It's also frequently grimly funny - as with the scene where the pair, drunk on a train, encounter a hitman who telegraphs his intentions through a grim fairytale, or when Anna refers to "the beige uniform of American money"or describes her time working in that hotel for the super-rich (sacked, in the end: she didn't have the "personality for service"). Fin's fame also produces some funny - if frustrating - episodes: it's hard to go under the radar when people keep spotting and Instagramming you.As you'd expect, Anna is something of an unreliable narrator ("It's an odd out-of-the-way place for odd out-of-the-laypeople, often incomers pretending to be Scottish. The whole area is awash with fictions. I loved it there.") She has of course edited her own past, giving her unreliability a solid narrative justification - rather than just deriving from an unexplained character quirk. She's few illusions left about life (for example, saying, of men "When [they] talk about a daughter it's often a coded way of saying they are not planning to attack you" or commenting on the less celebrated moments of Andrew Carnegie, often celebrated for his philanthropy: "It didn't show him ordering Pinkerton men to shoot at strikers... [or] mutilating accidents in smelting plants." Indeed, that last points to a general theme in this book - the ghastliness of the super rich, variously benefiting from wealth gathered by Nazi forebears, committing murders to cover up other crimes or just showing ghastly taste.This is a pacy read, covering lots of ground - literally, emotionally and conceptually. At its heart it has - well, lots of heart, in that central relationship between Anna and Fin. Both are damaged, and the book doesn't promise that everything will be or can be "fixed" for them. But they do find something.Strongly recommended.
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  • Vivienne
    January 1, 1970
    My thanks to Random House U.K. Vintage Publishing for an eARC via NetGalley of Denise Mina’s ‘Conviction’ in exchange for an honest review.Double thanks are due as I also participated in The Pigeonhole’s group read and was able to share my thoughts and comments with other readers as we read the daily chapters. One morning as she prepares her daughters for the school run, Anna McDonald’s life takes an unexpected turn. At the front door is her best friend, Estelle, and Anna is shocked to learn tha My thanks to Random House U.K. Vintage Publishing for an eARC via NetGalley of Denise Mina’s ‘Conviction’ in exchange for an honest review.Double thanks are due as I also participated in The Pigeonhole’s group read and was able to share my thoughts and comments with other readers as we read the daily chapters. One morning as she prepares her daughters for the school run, Anna McDonald’s life takes an unexpected turn. At the front door is her best friend, Estelle, and Anna is shocked to learn that her husband is leaving her for Estelle and taking their daughters on holiday right now with their new Mummy! Well that was a corker of an opening. Anna is in shock and distracts herself by listening to a true crime podcast about a sunken yacht in the Mediterranean. Then she realises that she knows one of the victims, a man she met in another life.From here the plot certainly takes a surprising direction as she and Estelle’s fading rock star husband, Fin, become unlikely investigators into the sinking. As they are about to leave a star-struck neighbour takes a selfie with Fin and Anna is also in the shot. Once it is posted to social media Anna’s past is revealed and she is on the run for her life with a bewildered Fin. The reasons for this is slowly revealed as they bounce around Europe.Anna proved such a compelling narrator: her voice immediate with a very dry wit. ‘Conviction’ is fast paced with lots of unexpected twists and dark humour. This is my first book by Mina though certainly not my last. I immediately ordered her graphic novel adaptation of ‘The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo’ and will be looking out for more titles.Highly recommended.
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  • Danelle The Librarian
    January 1, 1970
    I must confess off the top- I am a huge Denise Mina fan. I wish she was more well known in the US! Conviction doesn’t disappoint and continues her perfection streak in my eyes. This is a departure from some of her books like her Paddy Meehan series.The book weaves together today and the past in Anna’s life. Anna’s husband walks out with the kids for her best friend in the beginning of the book. Anna, to stave off madness or suicide, listens to a podcast. Not just any podcast- one that helps deve I must confess off the top- I am a huge Denise Mina fan. I wish she was more well known in the US! Conviction doesn’t disappoint and continues her perfection streak in my eyes. This is a departure from some of her books like her Paddy Meehan series.The book weaves together today and the past in Anna’s life. Anna’s husband walks out with the kids for her best friend in the beginning of the book. Anna, to stave off madness or suicide, listens to a podcast. Not just any podcast- one that helps develop the whole plot. Enter Fin Cohen- his wife was Anna’s best friend- the one who left with Anna’s husband. Fin shows up and he and Anna embark on an unlikely journey to solve a mystery and help Anna with her past. One of the things I love about Denise Mina is the characters she writes. They are always flawed, often a mess in some way, and usually have a great dark sense of humor. They’re relatable. I suspect Denise Mina is dark and funny in real life too. Anna has some fantastic thoughts- as she reflects on being fired from a job,”He said I did not have the ‘right personality’ for service, which I considered a great compliment.” This cracked me up.When Anna talks about wealth- “even rich people can only stand in one room at a time.”I want to discuss others but they might have spoilers so I won’t-but if you read chapter 25- it’s the quote that ends with “I am fucking amazing.” I want to put the whole paragraph before it on a poster and post it in clinics everywhere.You will know what I mean when you read it.I am just sad I finished the book. Denise Mina’s books are like an awesome meal, show, or movie: when you finish you wish you ate slower.
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  • Caroline Kerdouci
    January 1, 1970
    Meet Anna McDonald, a woman with a troubled marriage living an ordinary suburban life. This is all about to change when she starts listening to a true crime podcast called Death on the Dana. So begins this fast paced thriller as Anna discovers she knew one of the victims aboard the ill fated boat. I love the way this novel initially centres around a podcast as this is such a popular way now to explore,discover and learn about all manner of things going on in today’s world both past and present. Meet Anna McDonald, a woman with a troubled marriage living an ordinary suburban life. This is all about to change when she starts listening to a true crime podcast called Death on the Dana. So begins this fast paced thriller as Anna discovers she knew one of the victims aboard the ill fated boat. I love the way this novel initially centres around a podcast as this is such a popular way now to explore,discover and learn about all manner of things going on in today’s world both past and present. The use of the podcast is a clever way to introduce the reader to the wider story of how Anna knows the deceased victim and what may have happened in her previous life prior to becoming a housewife/mother. This author takes the reader on a rollercoaster of a journey alongside Anna and her sidekick Finn,a once famous pop star, now battling anorexia. The relationship is strange but the author has drawn Finn’s character in such a way that this odd coupling is brilliant, turning Anna and Finn into amateur detectives. Their sleuthing takes them on a whirlwind road trip traversing a few countries with scary but sometimes hilarious results in their pursuit of the truth relating to Death on the Dana. I enjoyed the way the podcast element was used throughout to update ‘listeners’ and to highlight what a powerful tool it can be in bringing issues to light. There is a clever twist to the ending which I didn’t see coming. I thoroughly recommend reading this as it had me gripped and intrigued right from the start. I would have given this four and a half stars if I could!!
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  • Nuala Ward
    January 1, 1970
    With thanks to Random House and NetGalley for the ARC.Denise Mina is a phenomenon. Book after book she continually raises the bar. She is undoubtedly one of the finest writers working today in any genre.This book opens with Anna McDonald, middle class mother of two and podcast addict being dramatically dumped by her lawyer husband. As if that's not bed enough her best friend is the other woman.Anna is not the most emotionally stable of people and we soon learn that this relates to a dark, secret With thanks to Random House and NetGalley for the ARC.Denise Mina is a phenomenon. Book after book she continually raises the bar. She is undoubtedly one of the finest writers working today in any genre.This book opens with Anna McDonald, middle class mother of two and podcast addict being dramatically dumped by her lawyer husband. As if that's not bed enough her best friend is the other woman.Anna is not the most emotionally stable of people and we soon learn that this relates to a dark, secretive past.The lastest podcast she is listening to has details of the death of someone she knew in her past life and she is compelled to try and solve the mystery of his death.She is joined in this quest by her best friends dumped husband, Fin, an anorexic ex rock star.Their quest takes them from Scotland to Italy and France in an action packed, and frequently very funny, adventure.Anna and Fin are a brilliant, if very offbeat, team. Funny, captivating and I'd love to spend more time with them. Their interactions are funny and touching and totally believable.An absolute rollercoaster of a book and I was very saddened to reach the end. Hopefully Denise can find an reason for them to work together again. I'd be the first in the queue.One of the best books of 2019.Go buy it.
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  • Karolyn
    January 1, 1970
    This book got me hooked as soon as I started reading it and I found it hard to put down, I wanted to know what happened next!Anna was just an ordinary housewife with a husband who was a lawyer and two girls who she loved dearly. She loved listening to podcasts early in the morning when she got up early and had a bit of me time before the day began and got busy with being a mum. On this particular day she was listening to a true crime podcast about a sunken yacht but it was owned by someone she h This book got me hooked as soon as I started reading it and I found it hard to put down, I wanted to know what happened next!Anna was just an ordinary housewife with a husband who was a lawyer and two girls who she loved dearly. She loved listening to podcasts early in the morning when she got up early and had a bit of me time before the day began and got busy with being a mum. On this particular day she was listening to a true crime podcast about a sunken yacht but it was owned by someone she had known previously years ago. It turned out he had been murdered on the yacht with his family by a young woman who had a cast iron alibi but still found guilty and was still serving her sentence and hadn't lodged an appeal. From there, her day just went downhill......This book is so absorbing, you get into the story as well and want to know what happens next and follow the true crime story too, just like Anna as she follows her instincts. Such superb writing you feel you are in the story, it's well written with lots of detail and has been well researched. There is a lot of detail about travelling and foreign travel too. Thoroughly loved this book and read it over 2 days, could easily be read in 1 day if nothing else on though! Will be looking in to more of this author's work. A big 5 out of 5 stars from me!
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  • Fay Flude
    January 1, 1970
    I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book. I still wasn't sure when I started reading it.Didn't know if a sunken ship and a mystery surrounding the deaths of the people on board, which included a ghost, was really my thing.However, at some point my view changed and I actually ended up reading the book in one sitting.It is an unusual thriller with a strange cast that made me feel mostly unsettled throughout the book.The main protaganist has changed her identity and for much of the book you a I wasn't sure if I was going to like this book. I still wasn't sure when I started reading it.Didn't know if a sunken ship and a mystery surrounding the deaths of the people on board, which included a ghost, was really my thing.However, at some point my view changed and I actually ended up reading the book in one sitting.It is an unusual thriller with a strange cast that made me feel mostly unsettled throughout the book.The main protaganist has changed her identity and for much of the book you are left wondering what on earth she has done to necessitate this and her sidekick, Fin, is an anorexic man whose wife has left him for another man. (Can't reveal more as it will spoil the plot.)A book about money and power and how both these things lead to a distortion of the truth and a quest to silence anyone who dares speak out about the unspeakable.It was well written and readable and I would now search out other material written by this author but I wouldn't necessarily be desperate to do so.
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  • Sarah
    January 1, 1970
    Hell yes!!! All the love for this book. Anna is an amazing character; she has a tragic back story, one that doesn't define her, but unfortunately dominates her life when her husband deals her a gut wrenching blow at the start of the book. Armed only with her wits, an envelope full of cash, a chic designer ensemble, a hapless male anorexic sidekick and an unerring obsession with a true crime podcast, she sets out to free herself from the ghosts of her past (who have come to shut her up once and f Hell yes!!! All the love for this book. Anna is an amazing character; she has a tragic back story, one that doesn't define her, but unfortunately dominates her life when her husband deals her a gut wrenching blow at the start of the book. Armed only with her wits, an envelope full of cash, a chic designer ensemble, a hapless male anorexic sidekick and an unerring obsession with a true crime podcast, she sets out to free herself from the ghosts of her past (who have come to shut her up once and for all thanks to a nosy neighbour posting a photo on instagram). This involves a violent escapade across Europe that had me laughing out loud, cringing and fist punching the air. Seriously, if Anna were real I would be demanding that she comes out for a drink with me. Hopefully it will be a fun night out, not one of those where you end up getting pissed with a mercenary assassin and have to flea to Lyon. ! My huge thanks go to Net Galley and the publishers for the advanced copy in return for an honest review.
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