Conviction
A true-crime podcast sets a housewife's present life on a collision course with her secret past.The day Anna McDonald's quiet, respectable life explodes starts off like all the days before: packing up the kids for school, making breakfast, listening to yet another true crime podcast. Then her husband comes downstairs with an announcement, and Anna is suddenly, shockingly alone. Reeling and desperate for distraction, Anna returns to the podcast. Other people's problems are much better than one's own--a sunken yacht, a murdered family, a hint of international conspiracy, but this case actually is Anna's problem. She knows one of the victims from an earlier life, a life she's taken great pains to leave behind, and she is convinced that she knows what really happened.Then an unexpected visitor arrives on her front stoop; a meddling neighbor intervenes; and life as Anna knows it is well and truly over. The devils of her past are awakened--and in hot pursuit. Convinced she has no other options, she goes on the run, and in pursuit of the truth, with a washed-up musician at her side and the podcast as her guide.

Conviction Details

TitleConviction
Author
ReleaseJun 18th, 2019
PublisherMulholland Books
ISBN-139780316528504
Rating
GenreMystery, Fiction, Thriller, Mystery Thriller, Crime

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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  • Holly B
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 STARSAnna McDonald, is an ordinary wife, mom, and pod-cast junkie. One day her life gets turned upside-down when her latest episode titled "Death and the Dana" hits a little too close to home.Anna decides to investigate the unsolved crime herself. The crime involves a sunken yacht in the Mediterranean and multiple murders and a name that Anna recognizes. Someone from her past. What an interesting angle!I was immersed in the first half of the book. The suspense and the yacht mystery were both 3.5 STARSAnna McDonald, is an ordinary wife, mom, and pod-cast junkie. One day her life gets turned upside-down when her latest episode titled "Death and the Dana" hits a little too close to home.Anna decides to investigate the unsolved crime herself. The crime involves a sunken yacht in the Mediterranean and multiple murders and a name that Anna recognizes. Someone from her past. What an interesting angle!I was immersed in the first half of the book. The suspense and the yacht mystery were both strange and intriguing.  As her search for the truth expands, her past starts to surface and things get complex. This is where I felt the story became somewhat bogged down. I was losing interest (sadly).  I wasn't able stay fully engaged during the second half. There is a crime, some unsavory characters, and a haunted ship. I do feel like many would enjoy this type of double mystery, although it did fall a bit short for me.Thanks so much to NG/Pub for my review copy. Out May 16, 2019
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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 husband 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 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 husband 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Jessica Woodbury
    January 1, 1970
    I recommend Denise Mina a lot to people who are looking for a strong, reliable crime author to add to their reading. CONVICTION is a strong standalone with a tough female protagonist and a super twisty European spree of a plot, I think it's a good place to start if you haven't read her before.At the beginning of the book, it looks to the reader like Anna is at a low point. All she wants to do is listen to this true crime podcast and then she gets some very bad news. You'd think Anna is at a low I recommend Denise Mina a lot to people who are looking for a strong, reliable crime author to add to their reading. CONVICTION is a strong standalone with a tough female protagonist and a super twisty European spree of a plot, I think it's a good place to start if you haven't read her before.At the beginning of the book, it looks to the reader like Anna is at a low point. All she wants to do is listen to this true crime podcast and then she gets some very bad news. You'd think Anna is at a low point but it turns out she's had it much lower. Right off the bat we know that Anna is not quite who she says she is, and a lot of the journey of the first half of the book is actually two journeys: Anna's dive into the podcast, which details the death of a man she knew years ago; and our gradual discovery of who Anna actually is. This kind of layering goes on throughout the book, even when we know Anna's full identity, and just about everything is wrapped up in double-ness and mirroring. (The more I think about it, even more examples are piling up.) This is a book about having two identities, about hiding in plain sight, about the difference between what people see of you and who you actually are. This is all true of Anna, of course, but it also applies to her companion on this journey, Finn, a famous musician with an eating disorder, and Gretchen, the ultra-rich villain Anna suspects is behind everything. It's also a book where we get to dive into crime podcast culture. I kept trying to get a read on what the book was trying to say about it and ultimately I don't think it's saying one thing, it's saying about 50 things at once. On one page it calls out amateur sleuths, on the next it uses the work of amateur sleuths to solve a murder. You could say the book wants to have its cake and eat it, too when it comes to this subject. Or you could say that it is happy to see the layman's obsession with true crime as a complicated thing that isn't easy to pin down. I enjoyed Anna a lot, even as you learn more about her it doesn't really mean you get to know her better. She is fully herself from the first page, you just get to see the reasons for it as you go. The pacing was excellent, it has the twists of a thriller without making things move so fast that you feel jerked around. I listened to the audiobook. In the past I've been frustrated when Mina's books get narrators with English accents instead of Scottish (her books are almost entirely set in Scotland, much of this one is too) and this time I was pleased to have a Scottish reader who has to use a whole pile of accents over the course of the book and does them all splendidly.
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  • Nancy
    January 1, 1970
    Wow, one of the best books I've read this year. One of 4 to get 5-stars and now I'm having second thoughts on a couple of the previous 5'rs. This one truly was a gem of a read and I loved everything about the book.
  • Kasa Cotugno
    January 1, 1970
    A great standalone from one of my favorite crime writers who brings so much wisdom, humor, and here, an exceptionally unusually thrilling plotline. Read in two sittings, it was THAT good.
  • 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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  • Barb in Maryland
    January 1, 1970
    A really enjoyable romp of a book--not to be taken too seriously. I just had to keep reading to find out what happened next.I can already see this as a movie...More thoughts later.
  • debra
    January 1, 1970
    I have always enjoyed Denise Mina, and this book is no exception.
  • 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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  • Audrey
    January 1, 1970
    I’ve always enjoyed Denise Mina’s Alex Morrow series but have never read any of her stand alone books. This one was excellent. And I was entertained the entire way, without needlessly deducing where I was going. At first, the plot seems to be a domestic thriller. But, other mysteries develop with a who done it that unfolds via a podcast which leads to who the main character used to be. Two unlikely characters team up with an investigation and they go throughout the European Continent seeking ans I’ve always enjoyed Denise Mina’s Alex Morrow series but have never read any of her stand alone books. This one was excellent. And I was entertained the entire way, without needlessly deducing where I was going. At first, the plot seems to be a domestic thriller. But, other mysteries develop with a who done it that unfolds via a podcast which leads to who the main character used to be. Two unlikely characters team up with an investigation and they go throughout the European Continent seeking answers. If you are looking for a fun mystery/thriller, look no further.
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  • Craig Sisterson
    January 1, 1970
    Anyone who has read any of Denise Mina's books over the past 20 years knows that she's a highly talented crime writer. Her resume is packed with awards and accolades, and whether it's one her one of her three acclaimed series (Garnethill, Paddy Meehan, Alex Morrow) or inventive standalones like SANCTUM and THE LONG DROP, there's evidence aplenty that Mina is crime writing royalty. After celebrating the twentieth anniversary last year of her striking debut GARNETHILL, Mina now underlines her vers Anyone who has read any of Denise Mina's books over the past 20 years knows that she's a highly talented crime writer. Her resume is packed with awards and accolades, and whether it's one her one of her three acclaimed series (Garnethill, Paddy Meehan, Alex Morrow) or inventive standalones like SANCTUM and THE LONG DROP, there's evidence aplenty that Mina is crime writing royalty. After celebrating the twentieth anniversary last year of her striking debut GARNETHILL, Mina now underlines her versatile talents with this zesty new tale imbued with up-to-the-minute issues.The main character in CONVICTION is Glasgow wife and mother Anna McDonald, who lives a fairly domestic existence with her lawyer husband Hamish and two young daughters. The comfort and safe banality masks Anna's past and very public trauma she suffered years before. Now living under a new identity, Anna’s lukewarm reality is upturned in a single day when Hamish leaves her for her best friend, and she learns from a true crime podcast that an old acquaintance is dead. Even worse, a powerful woman who made Anna’s life hell could be involved in some way. Untethered and desperate for a distraction, Anna becomes obsessed with the true crime podcast, and starts picking at the case of a luxury yacht that sank in the Mediterranean, finding an unlikely ally in the form of the anorexic ex of her former best friend. Pandora's Box opened, together they follow a trail from the Scottish Highlands to continental Europe, hunting for some sort of truth while visiting the hideaways of the rich and the wretched and trying to stay ahead of some very dangerous people.There are so many things to love about CONVICTION. First and foremost for me, there's a real verve and sense of energy to Mina's storytelling, which blends gut-punch moments with great characterisation, a clever structure, and some nice touches of black humour. This fair hurtles along, and is one of those smile-inducing books even as its full of dark deeds. CONVICTION is a whirlwind, in the finest way. Recommended.
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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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  • Kathryn in FL
    January 1, 1970
    This fast paced story had me riveted from the start. I loved the interesting characters filled with unusual quirks, who propelled the story forward until its plausible and neat ending. I loved the mystery, which I found to be quite intriguing. Set in Scotland, Anna McDonald is heading for a nervous breakdown. Unhappily married with to young daughters, she rises early to listen to podcasts as a preparation to face her daily mundane tasks. She is shocked to learn that a man of means, whom she knew This fast paced story had me riveted from the start. I loved the interesting characters filled with unusual quirks, who propelled the story forward until its plausible and neat ending. I loved the mystery, which I found to be quite intriguing. Set in Scotland, Anna McDonald is heading for a nervous breakdown. Unhappily married with to young daughters, she rises early to listen to podcasts as a preparation to face her daily mundane tasks. She is shocked to learn that a man of means, whom she knew nearly a decade ago has been murdered but the person charged for his and his children's death had a solid alibi and many clues point elsewhere. Meanwhile, her husband and best friend announce, they are running away together! As she proceeds to fall apart, her bestfriend's beleaguered husband visits. He is none other than the famous rock legend, Fin Cohen. He has been in seclusion battling anorexia and depression. Fin's visit is observed by the nosy neighbor and soon they are trending on social media. Anna now has a bigger problem, the people, who tried to kill her a decade ago because she blew the whistle on her rapists, thought she was dead. Now, the know her new name and who she affiliates with and they are hot on her trail! Soon, her curiosity over her acquaintance's death and her own peril create a parallel the reader never sees coming. As she works to solve the mystery and keep from being murdered, some very surprising events occur as she and Fin try to complete their research. Throughout the reader wonders how and if these issues will be resolved before Anna is murdered. I immersed myself in this story until its conclusion. It had some humorous moments woven throughout, which added great delight to the experience. This was my first foray into Ms. Mina's, most certainly not my last.This will probably be a finalist for 2019 Goodreads Mystery and well deserving of it. Denise Mina has gotten numerous awards for her mysteries and this has whet my appetite for more! If you like mysteries please put this on your TBR list.
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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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  • Denise
    January 1, 1970
    The eternal companions of all clever women are mistrust and scorn."Anna McDonald has two daughters with her lawyer partner, Hamish. On the morning her life implodes, she's listening to a true crime podcast and is quite surprised that she knows one of the people featured in the story. "A sunken yacht, a murdered family on board, a secret still unsolved..."When Hamish walks out of their home with Anna's best friend and her two daughters, Anna briefly considers suicide. A knock on the door rouses h The eternal companions of all clever women are mistrust and scorn."Anna McDonald has two daughters with her lawyer partner, Hamish. On the morning her life implodes, she's listening to a true crime podcast and is quite surprised that she knows one of the people featured in the story. "A sunken yacht, a murdered family on board, a secret still unsolved..."When Hamish walks out of their home with Anna's best friend and her two daughters, Anna briefly considers suicide. A knock on the door rouses her from her shock and stupor. And thus begins the quest as Anna reclaims her life and tackles the mystery of the DANA. NO SPOILERSHow can it be that I've read thousands of books but never a title by Denise Mina?! I intend to rectify that omission because I really enjoyed the author's writing style. This was fast-paced and had an unusual style -- I especially enjoyed the podcast pieces -- with an engaging and deeply flawed female protagonist in Anna (Sophie Bukaran) and her equally messed up sidekick, Findlay Cohen. Their adventure was pure fun and I raced through the pages trying to figure out how the story would end. Their travels take them across Europe in cars, trains, and planes. I loved the descriptions of the places they visited in their efforts to quiet Anna's demons. Thank you to NetGalley and Mulholland Books for this e-book ARC to read and review.
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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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  • Shelleyrae at Book'd Out
    January 1, 1970
    Sharp, fast-paced, witty and vivid, Conviction by Denise Mina is a lively and engrossing thriller.Reeling from learning that an old friend, Leon Parker, is assumed to be responsible for the murder-suicide of his two children during her morning coffee on her favourite true crime podcast, Anna McDonald is further devastated when her husband announces over breakfast that he is leaving her, for her pregnant best friend. As she lies on the floor in her hallway considering ending it all, Anna is inter Sharp, fast-paced, witty and vivid, Conviction by Denise Mina is a lively and engrossing thriller.Reeling from learning that an old friend, Leon Parker, is assumed to be responsible for the murder-suicide of his two children during her morning coffee on her favourite true crime podcast, Anna McDonald is further devastated when her husband announces over breakfast that he is leaving her, for her pregnant best friend. As she lies on the floor in her hallway considering ending it all, Anna is interrupted by her best friend’s shattered husband, celebrity Fin Cohen and, in need of a distraction from the mornings events, she impulsively decides on a road trip, Fin in tow, with the idea of proving that the producer of ‘Death and the Dana’ has got it all wrong. It’s not the wisest of decisions, especially when a photo of her with Fin goes viral, and now Anna, who used to be someone else, is back on the radar of the woman she believes killed Leon and his family, the same woman who once wanted her dead.I found Anna to be an utterly compelling narrator for reasons I can’t quite define. Anna is, at least initially, not very likeable, she is unpleasant, rude, and an admitted liar, but well, we meet her on what we assume is probably the worst day of her life. As the story unfolds the reliability of Anna’s narrative remains suspect, but somewhere along the line she earns sympathy, admiration, and eventually trust.Conviction has more depth than one might expect, exploring themes such as privilege, corruption, mental illness, assault and identity. While the plausibility of the thriller plot may be stretched a bit thin, I found it easy to dismiss any inconsistencies and absurdities. I guessed where responsibility for The Dana’s fate lay fairly early on, but there were other surprises I didn’t see coming, and I was particularly stunned by the circumstances that forced Anna to hide her identity. I really liked the way in which Mina grounds the novel so thoroughly within modern society and she does an excellent job of exploring the double edged power of social media. The true crime podcast ‘Death and The Dana’ frames the mystery, as Anna and Fin google, tweet, Instagram, and ‘cast as they race across Europe, in their pursuit, and escape, of the truth.Conviction is a terrific read- entertaining, astute, and inventive. This is the first book I’ve read by Denise Mina, but on the strength of it I have every intention of hunting up her backlist.
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  • Lynn
    January 1, 1970
    Anna MacDonald begins her day with a cup of coffee and listening to pod casts. She has a lawyer husband and two little girls. She listens to the pod cast about the Sinking of the yacht Dana. She knows one of the victims of the sinking. He is being blamed for the sinking and the deaths of his two children and himself. She does not believe the scenario.Then her day disintegrates when she encounters her husband at the top of the stairs with a suitcase and her best friend at the front door waiting t Anna MacDonald begins her day with a cup of coffee and listening to pod casts. She has a lawyer husband and two little girls. She listens to the pod cast about the Sinking of the yacht Dana. She knows one of the victims of the sinking. He is being blamed for the sinking and the deaths of his two children and himself. She does not believe the scenario.Then her day disintegrates when she encounters her husband at the top of the stairs with a suitcase and her best friend at the front door waiting to leave with him. We find out that Anna is not her real name and she has been on the run for years. She has successfully been in hiding. As the story unfolds, we find out more about why she is running and hiding in fear of her life. Danger is following her when it becomes known she is with Fin Cohen. A photo of her with him, makes the wrong people know she is still alive and living under a different name. The hunt is on.I loved the book. It was different. It was a thriller but yet it had humor. One reason I enjoyed the book so much was the unlikely pairing of traveling companions. She ends up traveling with Fin Cohen, the husband of her best friend. He is recognized world wide as he was a famous rock star. He is anorexic and starting his own pod cast about the traveling they are doing together while investigating the sinking of the Dana. He stands by her even though at times she wishes he would return home for his own safety. I have read several of Denise Mina's books and I liked them. This one is my favorite of the ones I have read. It was a very good read.
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  • Barbara
    January 1, 1970
    Not your average mystery, but definitely worth the read! I was hooked within the first couple of pages and I didn’t want to put it down. There are mysteries within mysteries in this book, and the plot takes a few twists and turns along the way, some not as plausible as others, but it’s a fun ride. It gets a little gritty, it gets a little spooky, it gets a little funny, it gets a little sad, it gets a little desperate, it gets a little convoluted, but it all comes together for a good fun read.Yo Not your average mystery, but definitely worth the read! I was hooked within the first couple of pages and I didn’t want to put it down. There are mysteries within mysteries in this book, and the plot takes a few twists and turns along the way, some not as plausible as others, but it’s a fun ride. It gets a little gritty, it gets a little spooky, it gets a little funny, it gets a little sad, it gets a little desperate, it gets a little convoluted, but it all comes together for a good fun read.You do have to suspend belief a bit. There’s a lot going on, and it’s not all totally believable, but it comes together, you enjoy the ride, and want the best for the two main characters who were pretty much strangers before they set out to solve a podcast mystery, but as they take on this whirlwind mystery solving tour across Europe they develop a bond unlike any other amateur sleuth duo I’ve ever encountered.If you’re looking for a different style of murder mystery, or a different type of beach read, this is the book for you. Give it a chance!
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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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  • Pat
    January 1, 1970
    A timely murder story based on the main character listening to a podcast, recognizing one of the victims as a previous acquaintance, and wanting to get involved in solving the mystery.Denise Mina is a good and unique writer.
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