Two young men, cloaked in balaclavas burst into a non-descript residence in suburban Glasgow in a home invasion. When the attack is over, they have kidnapped the elderly grandfather, terrorizing the family and demanding a huge ransom. The police who investigate the crime are baffled - did they have the wrong house? It would appear that the family is of modest means and could only manage to scrape up a fracture of the millions of pounds demanded. The answer to this question is not made clear till very near the end of this character-driven novel, although the reader is teased with small hints from time to time.
DCI MacKechnie, DS Bannerman and DS Alex Morrow of Strathclyde CID are assigned the case, but it is the latter who is the most interesting of these. The reader is told little of her backstory, although similarly teased with occasional small hints. We are made aware, early on, that her career has been and is affected by office and societal politics of class, race and sex, but her personal problems appear to have put up somewhat of a buffer against much of the anger and resentment thus aroused. She is a careful and clever detective, and is determined to find the kidnap victim before the kidnappers' threats are made good.
I have read and loved the Garnethill trilogy written by this author, and found this standalone an engrossing read. Ms. Mina captures even small roles eloquently: A college professor whose "office and personal appearance spoke of a man who lived for pretentious obfuscation and all things dusty," an automobile showroom where "the cars were even shinier inside, their lines beguiling and the colours bright, like perfect children lined up for adoption." Despite an ending that was unexpected in its suddenness, I very much enjoyed this book, and recommend it.