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The Less Dead de Denise Mina

The Less Dead (edição: 2020)

de Denise Mina (Autor)

MembrosResenhasPopularidadeAvaliação médiaMenções
12612173,238 (3.51)20
Título:The Less Dead
Autores:Denise Mina (Autor)
Informação:Harvill Secker (2020), 384 pages
Coleções:Sua biblioteca

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The Less Dead de Denise Mina


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Mostrando 1-5 de 12 (seguinte | mostrar todas)
Good - caring and intelligent. Ending maybe a bit abrupt??
  MiriamL | Aug 5, 2021 |
This was very well written, but odd somehow. It definitely made you think about the lives of sex workers and about middle class preconceptions and prejudices. There were some very funny lines, and I enjoyed Lilah and Margo's relationship. I didn't really get Margo though - was she struggling with grief or is she always like this? Why didn't she just pull herself together and clear Janette's house and get back to work? Why was she so unkind to Tracey and Nikki and poor Joe?

The ending was sort of inevitable as the pool if suspects was so small, but at the same time (unless I am missing something) the identity of the main culprit was left unconfirmed. I have preferred other books by this author. ( )
  pgchuis | Jul 13, 2021 |
Depressing & Grim
Review of the Little, Brown & Company audiobook edition (August 2020) released simultaneously with the Mulholland Books hardcover

Perhaps I should have known what I was getting into with this latest from Denise Mina, who is tagged as the "Queen of Tartan Noir," but early signs had been encouraging. The Less Dead was the 1st book in talk show host/comedian Graham Norton's Book Club Podcast (2021). Most Reviews and Ratings for Mina's previous book Conviction (2019) were positive. Finding this as a quick borrow from the Toronto Public Library's audiobooks on Overdrive was the next sign (several holds would have been ahead of me on the paperback edition).

Mina's examination of the deaths of Glasgow sex workers is set off by her protagonist Dr. Margot Dunlop seeking out her birth mother after her adoptive mother's death. She discovers that her mother Susan had been a sex worker and learns all this from her birth aunt Nikki, also a prostitute. This then appears to trigger the original murderer who proceeds to taunt them both with misogynist messages and threats. A subplot has Margot's friend in an abusive relationship. It all repeats ad infinitum with some predictable conclusions and an 11th hour revelation with little satisfaction or hope.

I don't know if I would have found this more intriguing or dramatic under better circumstances, but as it was I had only recently read a more impressive and compulsive variation on a similar plot in Ivy Pochoda's These Women (2020) which also examined serial cold case murders of sex workers (although in set in Los Angeles, USA). Pochoda's portrayal of survivors, victims, relatives, exploiters and authorities was so much more compelling, even if it was on a similar grim topic. Mina's account in contrast became simply tedious and depressing. I know it's not fair to compare books in this way, but just as chance put Mina's book on my radar, it was also chance that I had read Pochoda's only several weeks ago. Perhaps I'll still give Mina's Conviction a try at some point.

Trivia and LInk
Mina based her fictional story on a true series of Glasgow sex worker murders from the 1990s/2000s, which are still mostly unsolved. ( )
  alanteder | Jun 1, 2021 |
Margo waits in the office of the adoption agency to meet her birth family, but they are two hours late for the meeting. Not her mother: Margo knows that her birth mother Susan is already dead. But when her aunt Nikki finally arrives the first few minutes of the meeting provides more information that Margo can cope with. She discovers that her mother Susan was a heroin addict and a prostitute who was brutally murdered only months after Margo was born. Nikki tells Margo that she knows Susan’s murderer was an ex-policeman who she believes was also responsible for the murders of several other women. A man who in the thirty years since Susan’s murder has been sending Nikki threatening and abusive letters .... This is not what Margo expected when she decided to contact her birth family. Still grieving for her adoptive mother, and pregnant with her first child, Nikki is not the sort of person that she wants to get involved with. But then Margo starts to receive threatening letters of her own and is forced to become involved whether she wants to or not ...

This really isn’t my usual sort of book, and I wouldn’t have read it at all if it hadn’t been for reading the Costa novel shortlist with my RL book club. It fits firmly into the category of ‘tartan noir’ and does a good job of setting the scene for the seamier side of Glasgow. And it does a good job also of depicting the huge difference in life experiences between Margo (as a middle class GP) and her aunt Nikki (an uneducated ex-heroin addict and retired sex worker). But I’m not convinced about the plot which does not make a lot of sense at times, and Margo can be an intensely irritating character ...

I’m surprised this book was shortlisted for the Costa prize to be honest, as I’m not sure what there is about this one that sets it above other well-written crime fiction. A little bit too graphic for me at times, so I won’t be looking out for anything else by this author ( )
  SandDune | Mar 19, 2021 |
Denise Mina is one of several Scottish crime novelists I keep coming back to after having first discovered her via her three Paddy Meehan novels (2005-2007). Mina is also author of the Garnet Hill trilogy (1998-2001), the five-book Alex Morrow series (2009-2014), four standalone novels, and three plays. She even had a run as writer of the Hellblazer comic books in which she brought the action to Scotland. The Less Dead is one of Mina’s standalones.

“Fifteen years of our lives, important years but people just want the sad bits or the dirty bits or the Christ-saved-me-bits but not the whole of it, the whole messy truth of it. Just the bits that fit their agenda.”

As The Less Dead opens, Dr. Margo Dunlop is grieving the recent loss of her adoptive mother. Now, part of the grieving process in which Margo is so deeply immersed makes her want to learn more about her birth mother and the family she never knew. What she turns up instead of her mother, though, is Aunt Nikki, a woman whose manner and appearance initially scare Margo half to death about the can of worms she may have inadvertently just opened up. And as it turns out, for good reason.

Margo learns that her nineteen-year-old mother was murdered when she was just four months old, probably by a serial killer believed over a number of years to have claimed multiple victims from the city streets. Particularly vulnerable were women like her mother who sold themselves on the streets in order to support their out-of-control drug habits. Nikki even thinks she knows who the killer is - and she wants Margo to use her medical connections to help her finally prove it. Margo’s first inclination is to make it as difficult as possible for Nikki to ever find her again. But then, something strange starts to happen: the more she talks with Nikki and her friend, the more she admires the women and the strength it took for them to survive those years on the street. She likes them and starts to enjoy their company.

Someone else is watching, though, and they are not happy to see that Margo and Nikki are spending so much time together. When Margo starts to get the same threatening letters that Nikki has been getting for years, she fails to take the threats as seriously as she should, preferring to believe that whoever is writing them just wants to scare her away. Bad move, that.

Bottom Line: The Less Dead is exactly the kind of dark, mean-streets novel that I’ve come to expect from Denise Mina over the years. In this one, Mina builds the suspense level so slowly that when it finally reaches its boiling point, it’s a huge relief to finally get some answers. The reader knows things - important things - throughout the novel that Margo Dunlop doesn’t know, things she refuses to recognize even as the evidence continues to mount. That’s my one criticism of the Margo-character. For a doctor, a woman supposedly sophisticated in the ways of the world, Margo does not have a lot of common sense when it comes to repeatedly putting her life in jeopardy. If The Less Dead were a horror movie, Margo would be the girl everyone keeps yelling at not to open the door or go into the dark room to see what the noise she heard was. In the end it all works, of course, because Margo’s recklessness causes the villain of the piece to expose his identity by doing things he wouldn’t have otherwise done. ( )
  SamSattler | Feb 7, 2021 |
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