Still Midnight by Denise Mina. Reagan Arthur Books, 2010.
Still Midnight is the first in Denise Mina’s DS Alex Morrow series. The novel opens with the crime. The culprits are looking for someone named Bob. When no one in the house they attack is called Bob, they take the father, a simple Ugandan shop owner, for ransom. The police must figure out why the family was targeted and race against the clock to save the father. DS Alex Morrow is, of course, the one to figure it all out even though she is passed over as head of the case for the boss’ protégé, DS Grant Bannerman.
Still Midnight is a classic story of bumbling criminals except that there is nothing comical about the situation. I found myself cringing at both their actions and their stupidity, especially the ringleader, Eddy. The character of Alex Morrow is reminiscent of the great Jane Tennison from Prime Suspect. DS Alex Morrow is a woman in a man’s world. She is disliked by her male colleagues for being a female officer -- and for being a good one. There is also underlying tension in her personal life, which remains unexplained for a large portion of the novel.
I was fully engrossed in the narrative and was taken off guard by the twist that pulls all the strings together. In my book, these are hallmarks of well-constructed crime fiction. If you are a fan of strong, female characters in crime fiction, Still Midnight is the book for you.