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Read Garnethill (2001)

Garnethill (2001)

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3.89 of 5 Votes: 3
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0786708395 (ISBN13: 9780786708390)
carroll & graf

Garnethill (2001) - Plot & Excerpts

Wow. Just wow. This is enough to make you use some silly acronym like WTF when you’re rather more someone who would just like to use the explicit phrase. It was all going so well, I was thinking Wow just wow in an awesome way & then I got to the literal last page of this book & my head kind of exploded.If you're not into spoilers for this book, I am going to tell you what the last page says, so you know, consider yourself warned if you continue reading my fist-shaking fury.“’Far be it from me to say this,’ said Leslie, ‘but Siobhain’s a prick.’ Maureen scratched her head miserably. ‘Leslie,’ she said ‘You’re right.’‘To be honest,’ said Leslie ‘I liked her better when she was scared shitless & couldn’t talk.’‘She thinks we’re big mates now. She said she knew she’d be safe because she’s got us to look after her.’ ‘Oh fuck,’ said Leslie & bit her lip. Maureen sighed. ‘I wanted to make a single heroic gesture. I didn’t want to be her mum.’”Wow. The setup here is that Maureen is an incest survivor who’s got a history of psychiatric hospitalization. Her boyfriend has been murdered in her house, so, intrepid little egg that she is, she’s trying to investigate these crimes herself. Leslie is her friend who works in a battered women’s shelter & is all for women taking it back for themselves, saying lovely explicit things like, “‘Just that when we act so powerless, like there’s nothing we can do, they smack us and we say please stop, they smack us and we say please stop. We should smack them fucking back.’” Siobhain is a victim of sexual abuse perpetrated by her psychiatrist in the same mental hospital that Maureen was in, a woman who was already mentally damaged & then betrayed in the absolute worst way by a person she was supposed to be able to trust implicitly. Now I ask you, is it actually possible for a woman who works in a battered women’s shelter to actually say about another woman, “I liked her better when she was scared shitless & couldn’t talk.”? What the hell happened here? In the course of the story, Maureen goes to visit Siobhain several times in her day care center & watches tv with her while she brushes her hair. When Siobhain is actually so traumatized by having to discuss her rape with the police that she can’t speak, Leslie muses how she wishes she could hear Siobhain’s voice & Maureen say it’s “lovely.” The two friends stay with Siobhain in her house & then in Leslie’s for several days so they can keep her safe when her rapist doctor starts coming after her again. Then Maureen does something absolutely excellent to the killer (her "single heroic gesture"), Siobhain is safe, and all of sudden it’s “’. . . an effective technique for dealing with needy people like that . . . tell them to fuck off.’” I had the second book on this series on hold & I was really looking forward to reading it because up until this the book was quite good & Maureen was a wonderful protagonist & I was calling everyone “hen” and thinking in a Scottish accent after I set it down, but now? No fucking way.

Garnet Hill is the first book in a trilogy, it won the John Creasey Award for Best First Crime Novel. The story is set in Glasgow and Millport, Scotland. A woman named Maureen O'Donnell finds a body in her living room, it is Douglas Brady, her married boyfriend. Maureen is a child abuse survivor and had spent time in a psychiatric hospital. The police suspect her and her drug dealing brother; Liam. Maureen launches her own investigation to clear her name and begins to question who her real friends are and the kind of man Douglas was. I really liked this book, the writing style drew me and kept me interested. The pacing was excellent. The author left many threads in the first 25% of the book, and then took the story in a different direction. In the end, was able to bring all the threads together and wrap up nicely. I guessed wrong who the perpetrator was , it was not until the last 25 pages that I got it right. The character of Maureen O'Donnell was smart, believable and made you care about the outcome. I enjoyed this book more the Field of Blood, book 1 in the Paddy Meehan series. Both books had a strong, female character who took on the "system". The other characters in the book were better drawn as well.This book was similar in some ways to The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson. Maureen and Lisbeth were both abuse survivors and were institutionalized. They were outsiders who were able to solve a crime before the police force. Both had sex, violence and profanity. This is not a police procedural or cozy mystery. My only negative comment is interactions with the police force. The whole story is narrated by Maureen and we only witness her interviews with police and her thoughts about the police investigation. Some of the interactions with the police seemed unreal. The author presents the police as either incompetent or corrupt. She used the same technique with the Paddy Meehan series. At times I had to suspend belief.I recommended this book if you like a book were an outsider takes on the system and are not deterred by violence and profanity. Read this book if you had read either the Paddy Meehan series or the Alex Morrow series by the same author. Many similar themes are explored.

What do You think about Garnethill (2001)?

Wow--what a book. I was, as usual, torn by what to rate this. It is a breath of scary fresh air. Mina's view of Glasgow is a dark one as is her view of families and relationships between the sexes. I love the damaged protagonist, who despite all ravages against her, fights for herself. Not only does she survive, she wins. The book was hard to read at times. It deals with incest and abuse of women, and horrible violence done to men and...yet somehow, while horrible, Mina doesn't dwell on the bad. I would not put this as part of "sick lit." I am pretty certain I will read her next book in this trilogy. Boy is this a different take on Scottish society from the Isabel Dalhousie books that I treasure.
—Katherine Clark

Maureen O'Donnell comes from a dysfunctional family. She is dealing with a history of sexual abuse and trying to find her own way in the world. Maureen has a relationship with Douglas, a therapist, wh she has just learned is married and so she is going to end the relationship. Then Douglas is found murdered in Maureen's flat, and Maureen becomes a suspect. The investigation into the murder raises a number of issues from Maureen's past, and for a number of other people as well.Who murdered Douglas and why? There seem to be plenty of people with sufficient motive, but who had the opportunity? This novel deals with the uncomfortable world of victims of sexual abuse and how they relate to a world which has already let them down. So Maureen who is not trusting of others feels compelled to try to solve the question of who murdered Douglas herself - much to the chagrin of the local homicide detectives
—Linda Branham Greenwell

Garnethill is a book that was chosen as a group read for my Kindle English Mystery Book Club on Goodreads. I have never read anything by this author, Denise Mina before this book. Probably should be 3.5 stars, but since that wasn't a possibility I gave it a 3.Garnethill is about an incest survivor who wakes up and finds her married boyfriend murdered in her living room. She was institutionalized briefly in the past and the book is as much about her attempt to hold onto her sanity as it is solving the murder.The positives about this book are that it has a well done mystery, with enough characters to keep you guessing and twists and turns throughout the plot. The pacing is good and it kept me turning the pages in a race to get to the end. The setting is particularly well done, in description and in setting the mood of the book. It has a well developed sense of place as the reader follows Maureen to institutions, her family home, the police station, and day centers.I found the portrayal of Maureen O’Donnell, incest survivor, mental health patient, and adult child of an alcoholic to be extraordinarily perceptive and full of the nuances necessary to make it real. Maureen is a study in contradictions, doubting herself and unable to trust others. Distrustful of authority figures, morally “flexible” – yet with a sense of right and wrong, intelligent yet with no ambition, craving independence yet feeling lonely…all of the things that come from being violated as a child and not having your emotional needs met in childhood. This is the best part of the book for me.The main negative that I could find about this book is the portrayal of the police. It is a very stereotypical, cartoon-like characterization. It seemed we were supposed to side with Maureen in the interviews, but I could definitely see the police’s perspective. The body is found in her flat. Her behavior is odd, to say the least, she lied time and again (and got caught), and she came across as manipulative or even criminal. This part of the book is not up to the standards of the rest of the book. It seems like an adolescent take on authority – they are authority figures, hence they must be bad/incompetent/uncaring.A final word to the wise, as I was not aware of this when I read the book, it is book one in a trilogy, so there are some things left unresolved. The good thing is that there was enough great stuff here that I will probably read the next two books anyway.

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