Sanctum Paperback – 16 Feb 2012
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"One of the finest crime writers of her generation." -- "Express"Praise for "Resolution" "It's studded with images that stick in the mind long after the book is closed.... Denise Mina is set to carve a niche for herself as the Crown Princess of Crime." -- Val McDermid"From the Trade Paperback edition."
A respected forensic psychiatrist is convicted of the gruesome murder of a serial killer ... but is she innocent?See all Product description
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I thought the plot clever & original, but found its various convolutions quite confusing, though that may be my failing rather than Mina's. I did like the format, a mix of various documents: diaries, court proceedings, newspaper reports, medical reports, even though I found it hard to follow at times.
In general the writing is of her usual high standard & the characterisation spot on. I particularly enjoyed the narrator's family, the mother especially; which is to say I found her bossiness, complacency & insensitivity almost comically infuriating. (But why are mothers in fiction always so awful?)
Mina's prose is rarely less than superb, robust, lively, streetwise, she evokes scenes & characters, tough or tender, crude or poignant, with great immediacy. Certain of her descriptions stayed with me: 'She's a sullen little gremlin with a flat nose covered in blackheads'. And, elsewhere, ' when she wears those thin trousers her bum looks like two jumbo plums quivering in a silk hankie'.
Enough to put you off your dinner, but oh, to be able to write like that.
If it weren't for the fact that a fair proportion of others were less than enthusiastic about this book, I'd think my failure to enjoy it fully was down to my lazy reading. But although it seems to have all the right ingredients, it doesn't quite work as a whole.
The story she tells is fascinating, told in beautifully compelling prose laced with the raw emotions felt by a man whose wife has been sent to jail for the brutal murder of a serial killer. (The story is told as the diaries of Lachlan Harriot, husband of the woman who is accused and imprisoned over the killing of five-times killer Andrew Gow.) The way the story is gradually unfolded through the diaries is absolutely fascinating, and propells the reader through the book in search of the next twist, the next bit of information.
The characters are drawn really well, often a hard task when writing in the first-person. Lachlan Harriot is very likeable, and it is very enjoyable to follow the story through his eyes and perceptions.
The issues Mina tackles are handled well, and she makes their exploration fasinating.
the plot is very strong, and refreshingly original, and the final solution is completely unexpected, and some of the revelations are rather shocking, in fact.
Overall, this is a fascinating, excellently written, compelling book which i would reccomend to absolutely anyone. Denise Mina's talent is growing and growing, to the extent that this book is one of the best things i've ever read.
Lachlan Harriot’s wife, Dr Susie Harriot, has been convicted of murdering a notorious serial killer; she’s also been accused of having sexual relations with the man prior to the murder taking place.
Lachie is convinced that his ‘darling wife Susie’ is completely innocent and is determined to uncover evidence that will help to overturn the murder conviction.
The book is written from the point of view of Lachie through a series of diary entries that he composes in Dr Susie’s secret study each night. He documents his progress (or lack of) in coming up with evidence to make an appeal possible; he has as his disposal a plethora of information as his wife was actually the psychiatrist of the man whom she was accused of murdering. Lachlan is also struggling to come to terms with the forced changes in his life: he has a young daughter to look after with no mother around to help; the press are taking photograph’s that make him look fat & ugly; and horror upon horrors – his Mother and Father are coming to stay.
As the story progresses, Lachlan is forced to examine the fact that things at home have never been quite the way he always assumed them to be. Maybe Susie did commit the murders after all. But what reason could she possibly have to do so?
“Sanctum” is far removed from Denise Mina’s Garnethill trilogy: although murders have taken place and there are a few shocks and surprises as the story unravels, the atmosphere of the book is nowhere near as dark and disturbing as Mina’s previous novels.
The writing is wonderful – as we have come to expect from the author – and it’s quite possible that reading a shopping-list written by Denise would be a rewarding experience. One particular description of the Selfridges sweetie department had me salivating at the mouth; my plain old dairy-milk chocolate bar didn’t taste so good that night.
Overall: top quality plot, characterization and prose make this book a welcome addition from an exceptionally talented Scottish writer.
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