Denise Mina is an author I keep on my watch list so when a chance to read the first chapter of her new stand alone novel was dangled in front of me, I lunged.
The story takes place in 1950's Glasgow, before the facelift that would clean up its soot covered buildings & mean streets. On a damp December night, Wiliam Watt & his lawyer Laurence Dowdall meet notorious criminal Peter Manuel in a bar. They've been lured by Manuel's claim to have information on something called the Burnside Affair.
Watt's entire family was murdered & if not for the brilliant Dowdall he might still be in prison. But despite his release, there are whispers about Watt's possible role in the horrific crime & he jumps at the chance to hear what Manuel has to say.
The excerpt does exactly what a first chapter should....get your attention & leave you wanting more. The setting is dark & atmospheric lending the story a gritty, noir-ish feel. All 3 characters are already easy to picture. There's the dapper & refined Dowdall who seems strangely apprehensive about the meet. Watt comes across as a social climbing wanna-be with an inflated sense of his ability to handle the situation. He may have met his match in Manuel, a slippery & dangerous opportunist with an agenda.
The prose is terse yet descriptive enough to provide you with a seat at the table. By chapter's end Dowdall has quit the scene, leaving the other 2 men to hash out a deal. I'm willing to bet neither is exactly what they seem & there are disturbing revelations ahead.
Well Ms. Mina, you got me. I'm in. Now begins the looong wait for this book's 2017 release.
My thanks to Random House UK for the teaser.