Gods and Beasts by Denise Mina

‘Gods and Beasts’ is my March reading group book. It tells of the reality of living in the corrupt world of Glasgow, Scotland where webs of lies and deceit entangle even the most innocent of characters.

I am somewhat ambivalent about this story, unable to decide if I thought it was brilliant or awful. It has several threads to the plot so that at times, remembering names is a pain and the narrative feels fractured. However, that may be a deliberate technique to illustrate the fissures in honesty and society in general.

With so many characters, none felt particularly well developed, but this might be my reaction as a reader not having read the earlier work involving DI Alex Morrow. I thought some of the sexual references were distasteful but probably served well to illustrate the setting of the text. I also found the use of direct speech didn’t sufficiently well signpost the speakers so that it wasn’t always clear which speaker had made which comment.

The narrative is well resolved, with enough left for future Alex Morrow books to pick up. I wouldn’t read this again and I wouldn’t go back to read earlier Alex Morrow books, but I would read the next in the series.

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