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on 21 September 2012
I read this book with some friends as part of a book club. I really enjoyed it as I love murder mysteries and this is a bit different as you know who was involved with the murder from the start and some of the characters are portrayed in enough detail to make them believable. The murder is really secondary to the exploration of the impact of family life on children - for the good and bad! When we discussed it at the book club we came to different conclusions about who had actually committed the murder. Several of us read parts of it again and still couldn't really tell who did it. This was a bit annoying and, for me, it moved the book from a 5* to a 4*. I wish the author had made it a bit clearer - or maybe I am missing the point and it is like this on purpose - still annoying though.
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on 27 April 2017
good story lines with twists and turnd
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on 9 January 2015
Thank you
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on 7 January 2015
Got this from the library as I was looking for new writers. What a stupid book, and what an irritating writer. I really don't care for writers who have so little in terms of 'plot' that they have to use 'literary' devices like suddenly switching topic in the middle of the crime scene. Who cares whether the baby in her stomach gave a twinge or six? I'm not reading a maternity manual. I want to read a fast moving detective thriller. Every single time she gets to a point where the book is getting interesting, she inserts her private s***ty life. If there was that much going for the plot, she wouldn't have to do that. In addition, what a load of pretentious rubbish. How on earth the end hung together with the beginning, I have no idea. It appears that she didn't either.
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on 26 September 2011
The police procedural really isn't my favorite slice of crime fiction pizza. Probably because it's usually more about puzzles than people. Denise Mina's The End Of The Wasp Season, however, while being a fairly straightforward police procedural, is all about character, which may or may not be a good thing, depending on what you look for in a crime novel. It certainly worked for me.

The End Of The Wasp Season has a brilliant, blistering opening. A young woman returns to her late mother's home and is woken from a deep sleep to be confronted by a couple of intruders. The scene is fantastically tense and the resulting murder is no less shocking despite it's inevitability.

The murder is investigated by D S Alex Morrow, heavily pregnant with twins. Morrow is a no nonsense streetwise cop, with criminal connections in the family. Morrow's investigations reveal a connection between the woman's murder and the recent suicide by hanging of a wealthy industrialist whose dodgy business schemes have ruined the lives of hundreds of people. A man whose actions have also deeply damaged his own family.

And this is really what The End Of The Wasp Season is about. The consequences of those actions. The sins of the father. The stains of those sins. The novel's plot is good, if not particularly different. But Mina's strength is her cast of full blooded, perfectly drawn characters and how she lets them lead the story.

This is the first of Denis Mina's novels that I've read and it certainly won't be the last.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I have never read a Denise Mina book before, and I understand this is the second in a series featuring DS Alex Morrow. However, it is a book that can be read quite well as a standalone novel.

Alex is investigating the brutal murder of a young woman in Glasgow and how it may be linked to the suicide of Kent banker, Lars Anderson. Early on, the story seemed a little confusing and I kept wondering if I had missed something, but it was all explained later on and I realised I just needed to go with it and all would become clear.

I really liked the character of Alex and her relationship with her colleagues. I also thought it was an interesting storyline and it unfolded very well. I'd certainly consider going back and reading the first in the series to find out more about Alex's back story.

This is a very good example of a crime novel. Denise Mina is quite a hard-hitting writer, and is not really for the faint of heart, but I found myself wanting to pick up this book and find out what would happen next.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 28 November 2014
This is the first novel by Denise Mina that I have read. It opens dramatically with Sarah Erroll being woken by teenage boys who have not broken into her home by chance. When she tells one of the boys that she recognises him her fate is settled. This scene is made all the more chilling by the author’s revealing Sarah’s thoughts as she strives to find an way of escape. This police procedural story is intertwined with the suicide of a corrupt financial speculator, Lars Anderson, and a description of how his precocious son, Thomas, and his damaged family begin to come to terms with this tragedy.

In the course of investigating Sarah’s murder, DS Alex Morrow, 5 months pregnant with twins, meets an old school friend, Kay Murray, now a single mother of four who works as a cleaning lady. Kay had been looking after Sarah’s mother during her last year’s while suffering from Alzheimer’s and she and her two teenage sons will become intimately involved in the investigation. Morrow has just lost her father, an unlamented figure through whom she is connected to a criminal brother, Danny, who does not hesitate to put pressure on her to help sort out his own family problems. In addition, she finds herself sandwiched between unsympathetic police team and a petulant boss who has been promoted beyond his abilities.

Morrow, Murray and Thomas dominate the book, the procedural element of which is not overly developed. The other peripheral characters are less memorable and, in some cases, rather unreal. When it emerges that Sarah has been working as an high-class escort, Morrow’s male team members lose sympathy for the victim and it is up to her to motivate them to track down the killer. DC Tamsin Leonard, a new recruit to the squad, shares Morrow’s intelligence and motivation. She warns Leonard ‘When you get promoted over their heads, they’ll say it’s because you’re female. You’re smart, that’s against you, so’s being a bird and being English.’ In later books, perhaps these two will offer mutual support but here the difference in seniority and experience make this impossible.

I had some difficulty in following Morrow’s personal and professional stories which, perhaps, might have been minimised had I read Mina’s first novel featuring this character, ‘Still Midnight’, 2009; for example, only late on did I realise that she and her husband had lost their first child which puts a different perspective on her reflections on her pregnancy. Mina is generally sympathetic to her characters and examines reasons why they are psychologically damaged. However, a full understanding of Thomas’ attitudes and behaviour requires a much better understanding his relationship with his father, a character who comes across as little more than a pantomime villain.

The author does much better describing the tense family relationships between Kay and her children, and Morrow’s balancing of the frustrations and enjoyment of her pregnancy. Despite having a supportive husband, he is almost completely absent, with the result that Morrow is presented as a woman alone in a man’s world, having to position herself between the attitudes and opinions of her boss and her murder squad team, and frustrated because ‘They made ludicrous suggestions that her pregnancy might make her forgetful, emotional, incapable.’ Sarah’s relationship with her increasingly remote and difficult mother is cleverly but obliquely described through the comments of other characters.

The author is very accomplished and I will certainly read more of her books. Perhaps my difficulty with this book centres on the rather straightforward plot and the absence of any major surprise is not compensated by the depth of her overall characterization and description. The book, gloomy in the extreme, did garner a number of literary prizes so I may be out of step in not finding it even more compelling.
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on 14 September 2014
not read yet
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on 31 July 2013
A hugely disappointing book. The prose is okay and the first chapter is gripping, but after that the weight of cliches becomes overwhelming. It reads like it was written with TV in mind as all the familiar themes beloved of the current crop of cop dramas came rushing in - the tough, determined woman surrounded by idiot men, the Taggartland Glasgow of tower blocks and gangsters (not even relevant to the plot) and a cartoon villain from a make believe financial services industry.

What really killed the book for me though and moved it from a three star average to a one star "why did I pay £7.99 for this" was that once the opening chapter was passed, all tension and interest was lost. We quickly know "who did it" and "why" and there is little doubt that the perpetrators will soon be picked up. According to the literary critics, this gives the book a subtle depth beyond the average whodunnit. Well, maybe so, but only in the hands of a better writer.
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on 26 September 2012
I'm not a great reader of detective fiction but I found Denis Mila's book both fascinating and literate. She skillfully brings us into very different worlds: the family of the super rich disgraced financier; the harassed pregnant detective with her shifty family background; the struggling but proud single mother living in Glasgow's tough Castlemilk estate and the in-fighting world of the Glasgow police station. All are lightly but very evocatively drawn and pulled toghether by the shocking murder and its investigation. A very satisfying read and I look forward to reading more by this author.
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