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by Denise Mina
Carroll & Graf, May 2002
368 pages
ISBN: 0786710101

Buy in the UK | Buy in Canada

Denise Mina concludes the Garnethill trilogy with her latest work called Resolution. In Garnethill the reader is introduced to Maureen O'Donnell, an incest survivor, living in the Garnethill section in Glasgow, Scotland. She was found hidden inside a cupboard while the body of her married lover lies dead in her living room. Nobody believes she is innocent and she has trouble coping with that fact. The police and the reporters are constantly hounding her. She discovers that someone she trusted betrayed her and learns the identity of the person who killed her boyfriend, Dr. Douglas Brady. Maureen takes matters into her own hands and uses unconventional methods in bringing the killer to justice. Maureen's actions will have serious repercussions in the near future.

In Exile, Maureen closes all ties with her family with the sole exception of her brother Liam, who always stood up by her. No one in her family believed in Maureen's innocence or her accusations of incest against her father. She decides she does not need this and tries to start her own life. She starts to work at a women's shelter where she feels that she is making a difference. At the end of the novel, she learns that her father Michael has moved near her neighborhood and that her recently divorced sister Una is pregnant. Has their father changed after all these years?

Mina takes the loose ends of the previous novels in Resolution. Dr. Douglas Brady's killer is ready to stand trial and he may get off because of Maureen's past actions to bring him to justice. The defendant will use that as an excuse to prove that he was not responsible for his own actions. Maureen is also spying on Una and Michael. She will not let her father harm the unborn child and do the same things she had gone through during her childhood. She will be involved in bringing justice for a dead friend and take drastic measures in dealing with her father. She will not be happy about how things turned out but by the end of the book, Maureen will resolve most of her issues and start recovering from her past. She will learn how to forgive and trust people again. It will not be an easy road for her to follow but she will recover.

It is not necessary to read Garnethill and Exile in order to appreciate this novel. The author provides enough details in the book in order to catch up with the story without feeling lost. Most of the characters are deeply flawed and we get to see them warts and all. There are no saints in this book and the characters make no apologies for it. The story is dark, bleak and disturbing. We see the dark side of the human soul in this book and it is not pretty. Mina is able to realistically provide a somber atmosphere throughout the book by the use of her own experiences in psychology and criminology. It will be interesting to see what new story she will develop with her next novel, Sanctum.

Reviewed by Angel L. Soto, September 2002

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