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Gods and Beasts    by Denise Mina order for
Gods and Beasts
by Denise Mina
Order:  USA  Can
Reagan Arthur, 2013 (2013)
Hardcover, Softcover, Audio, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I love Denise Mina's mysteries for her idiosynchratic and flawed (yet so real) characters as much as for her well executed, unusual plots. Gods and Beasts follows The End of the Wasp Season and Still Midnight in her excellent series starring the forthright and uncompromising Detective Inspector Alex Morrow in Glasgow, Scotland.

Life seems much better for Alex, now a mother of twins. She loves her husband Brian. She's no longer constantly angry and she's disclosed to her superiors her relationship to her criminal half-brother Danny McGrath. The resulting thorough investigation cleared her of any wrongdoing. There's mutual respect between Alex and her boss, DCI MacKechnie.

The episode opens, as always, on violence - the shooting of a grandfather at a post office with his grandson. In the aftermath, the child clings to tattooed American Martin Pavel, who knows a lot about guns and turns out to be somewhat of a mystery to both readers and police. When Alex interviews him along with DC Harris, they learn that the grandfather recognized the gunman.

In parallel with that investigation, we see two police officers deliberately tempted with a trunk load of cash - when they take it, they're recorded. After the driver contacts and threatens them, DC Tamsin Leonard realizes that this must be part of a bigger plan. She comes clean to Alex and takes the consequences.

We're introduced to charismatic Kenny Gallagher, a Labour politician whose once promising career is on the downslide, and whose brief relationship with a young staffer is in the news. Pushed by his wife Annie, he decides to sue, despite the reports being true. And Kenny knows Danny McGrath from way back.

The plot steadily thickens. Pavel gets closer to the family of the boy he held during the shooting, and his own relatives show up. Kenny digs himself deeper and deeper. Alex links her case to the airport taxi business and money laundering, and is deeply shocked by a colleague's involvement.

I love the series and recommend it to you. The conclusion of Gods and Beasts left a few plot threads hanging that will likely come back to haunt Alex in future episodes. I look forward to them.

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