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4.3 out of 5 stars
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4.3 out of 5 stars
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I'm really enjoying Mina's Alex Morrow series. Morrow is a believable DI, nagged by the real problems of work and life (and especially a half-brother who's a mid ranking Glasgow gangster) but not spiralling into police-novel burnout: sometimes she gets home in time to bath her kids, sometimes she doesn't, but whichever it is she's rooted, compassionate but never overwhelmed by the grim flotsam of urban policing.

And it is grim. Mina doesn't dodge that. Here, Morrow has to unpick what looks at first like a classic cerebral detective mystery - a set of fingerprints have turned up where they just can't be. However (despite going back to 1997) it's a puzzle with roots in the sort of sick child exploitation that's filling the headlines right now. Morrow's a good detective, but she feels her position is weak - she's not liked after she uncovered a bribery scandal in her station, and whatever the answer turns out to be - whether sloppy forensic work, corruption, or cover-up - it threatens a high profile case, and you feel that can't be good for her.

Mina constructs a perfect plot round the two timelines, swooping between 1997 and the present and tying everything up so you see just what the consequences of the earlier events were - good, as well as bad - and how high the stakes are for those involved. It's deftly done and repays close attention as characters come and go. In the end, the story is as much about why as what her characters did - acts of sudden violence, of unexpected compassion, of revenge and gratitude - and this is knotty to unpick, because none of these turn out as might be expected.

This is a great book, better I think than the last in the series, Gods and Beasts because more taut, focussed more squarely on a single(ish) mystery. It's at least the equal of The End of the Wasp Season, my favourite in the series so far. Mina also includes some nice vignettes on the state of the newspaper business and of the Glasgow police on the cusp of the new national Scottish force.
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Denise Mina is one of my favorite authors and I have many. It took me a couple of chapters to get into this book, but when I did I could not put it down. This can be a stand alone book, but it much easier to fall into the flow of the book to understand the intracacies of the family and police

DI Alex Morrow loves her job in the Glasgow CID. Her last big case ended up with her putting her ex-partner behind bars. That put a crimp in her career, but this new case may give her some momentum. She is testifying about the sale of arms to criminals in Pakistan and is brought into another investigation about her case involving her prisoner, Michael Brown. His fingerprints are found at a recent murder, and he was in jail at the time. This could not be, and Alex needs to figure this out. What a mess she finds herself in, and her brother becomes involved in this case. Alex has one year old twins, her husband is the caretaker, and it sounds like the poor man is becoming very tired at this role. Money is tight, and Alex is busy, a woman torn between her children and her job.

On the other end is the criminal group who have become the mastermind behind the on-going gun running, money laundering in this vicinity. Moving from 1997 to the present, we are given the history of some of the people involved in this group. Their real lives and loves, and it does not stop with the criminals, as you begin to suspect some legal and police minds are in this mix. This is a fast paced novel with many characters to get to know. On the whole this is a convoluted and complicated series, and, as the last page unfolds, we wonder, will DI Alex Morrow continue in her line of work?

Recommended. prisrob 03-17-14
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The Red Road is a police procedural murder story. It's Tartan Noir. I hadn't realised when I began reading that this is the fourth outing for DCI Alex Morrow and so I might have missed some of the backstory, but the book still stood up in its own right.

As so often in these Scottish detective pieces, the lead detective is an outsider with regard to office politics and has personal connections with the story that start to generate conflicts of interest. The plot itself is a little far fetched and relies on one big event that is revealed late in the piece - but seemed to be pretty obvious right from the first few chapters. The surprises as they come tend not to be surprising. The cast seems too large; everyone seems to be involved in some shape or form (I can't remember any red herrings) and seems to involve a lot of frenetic activity for fairly opaque reasons.

The depiction of the Red Road flats is evocative, if somewhat fleeting to have given the book its title. There are also atmospheric scenes on the Isle of Mull, and some of the grander houses in and around Glasgow. The characterisation is also better than average, particularly a hippy in a castle and an aristocratic defence counsel. The structure also works, with plenty of cliffhangers ending chapters to keep the pages turning quickly. But overall it is just a bit meh; you feel you've read books like it before and will read books like it again. It is too convoluted, too clever-clever and when it reaches its denouement it just feels a little bit too late.
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on 10 September 2014
Not a popular read. Most people found it a very confusing story that was difficult to understand. We all found it difficult to connect with characters and thought it was probably a book that needed to be read in a short period of time I.e a holiday read. "It was a bit like an episode of Taggart "was a fitting description .
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on 2 August 2013
I have been "auditioning" crime authors for years to find a worthy successor to the best ever, Ruth Rendell. Denise has long been neck and neck with a half dozen other gifted writers. With Red Road, she has pulled decisively into the lead. This heartbreaking story is breathtakingly well plotted, seeded with rich, broken characters and beautifully written. I've met Denise several times at the Theakston festival. Success couldn't happen to a warmer, more deserving gal.
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on 17 April 2014
Oh dear ....really did not enjoy this book at all. It was dreary to say the least . Very poor plot and unlikable character s. I thought the ending was terrible. Having read many of Denise Minas books would have to say this was the worst. Have no idea why she named it Red Road one wonder if she was just cashing in on the popularity of this iconic area as it barely touched on the area !!
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on 27 October 2015
I have just finished this, my fourth Alex Morrow book, and I'm about to start the next. Denise Mina is on to a winner with this gritty, well-plotted series graced with a powerful sense of place and populated by all-too-fallible characters. I've yet to find a dull moment here, but my enjoyment has been somewhat marred by poor editing - alas, all too commonplace these days. That includes simple typos and incorrect words (populous for populace), not to mention glaring contradictions and lapses in continuity. For instance, a character is first described as thin and reedy and later as big and sturdy; a suspect glares at the police camera in one place and looks down in another; and someone is supposedly standing in a dark street one minute and leaping out of a car the next. Most irksome, though, are the occasions when characters absorb salient details as if by telepathy. These are all slips that a half-decent editor should spot and correct.
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on 29 July 2013
This is the first Denise Mina novel I have read....it certainly won't be the last!!
Her precision engineered plotting, divergent, believable cast and a story resonating through two decades make for a riveting, psychologically complex and socially astute journey.
Crime here is merely the glass through which Glasgow, at all levels, is explored deeply and darkly.
Highly recommended....
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on 6 September 2013
DI Alex Morrow is an agreeably flawed character. She wears cheap suits. She gets things wrong. She loves her twins but is always working late. She wants to get on but she can't play the political game.

The Morrow novels are not whodunnits. The reader is often inside the head of the criminals, we see how they think, we are challenged to consider what we would have done in their place. In The Red Road, this is particularly true of Rose, a young girl who kills her abuser and whose life is transformed - but not in the way you might expect.

Because of the way the story is told, we always know more than Morrow, as she deals with a number of apparently unconnected cases. Our interest is in how the characters react to the unfolding investigations. The downside is that at times with this novel I felt I was treading water, waiting for Morrow to jump through the obligatory procedural hoops to catch up, but there is a further twist at the end.

Mina's novels portray a dark, morally ambiguous world. In The Red Road, we find ourselves identifying with people who we think of as bad, and unable to trust those who are supposed to be good. It is a page-turner that asks some satisfyingly complex questions. The crimes may be solved, but the reader has to decide whether justice has been done.
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I don't know quite what to say about this book as I found it deeply unsatisfying but, at the same time, extremely realistic. The root of my dissatisfaction lies in the fact that what the bad guys were up to was not spelled out and I like my ends tied up. I don't want to give away the plot but I found several aspects of it rather vague and indistinct which frustrated me, but that's life - it's hard to get to the bottom of things. So what frustrated me was actually a very clever depiction of the realities of police work. Sorry, this is a good piece of fiction, just not to my taste.
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