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Still Midnight

(Alex Morrow #1)

3.58  ·  Rating details ·  5,561 ratings  ·  600 reviews
Armed men invade a family home, shouting for a man nobody's heard of. As DS Morrow tries to uncover one family's secrets, she must protect her own.
Paperback, 342 pages
Published March 1st 2010 by Orion (first published 2009)
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Average rating 3.58  · 
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James Thane
Feb 21, 2014 rated it liked it
This novel features a cast of tortured characters, some good, some bad, and others somewhere in between. It opens when two relatively incompetent thugs named Pat and Eddy burst into a home in Glasgow, intent on kidnapping some guy named Bob. But there’s no Bob there, and the panicked family in the home insists that they don’t know anyone named Bob. The thugs refuse to believe them and, since Bob isn’t available, they kidnap the family’s elderly father instead, this after Pat accidentally shoots ...more
Sep 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Mina's work is not for everyone. Her vicious, visceral style spews and spills across the page, messy as a first draft until you notice the control and subtlety hiding under the anger and violence.

Alex Morrow is a Glasgow police detective coping with a crumbling marriage and her shame at growing up on the wrong side of the tracks. When her commander assigns the lead in a volatile kidnapping to her loathed male colleague, she feels slighted about that, too. As the case gets more complex, she deci
I thought this was fairly decent up until the end when it all fell apart for me and I was left feeling like I'd eaten something that was fine at the time but left an unpleasant aftertaste.

The reader was cracking me up, though not intentionally. She sounded like she'd burnt the tip of her tongue and was trying to work around saying words that would cause her pain. At least, that's what I imagined had happened and it amused me greatly for absolutely no reason at all. I'm just weird, sometimes.

Thomas Strömquist
London Road Police Station was down the road from Bridgeton Cross. Bridgeton was pretty, near the vast expanse of Glasgow Green, had a couple of listed buildings and a museum. For years it had been mooted as an up and coming area but Bridgeton stubbornly neither upped nor came. Drunken fights were vicious and hourly, streets were graffiti-declared Free States, and the children's language would have made a porn star blush.

Much in Alex Morrow's life is, like parts of the Glasgow she sees, a bit on
Jun 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
This was my first exposure to the author, who apparently scored much praise for her debut novel. This one I have to say disappointed sufficiently to perhaps put me off attempting another. Certainly it captured the hopeless, gray, damp and seedy Scottish underworld. Wonderfully graphic images of council tenements, flaking paintwork and dead flowers in the garden but where was the story? The devil as they say is in the detail and to me the detail was misplaced. Of the numerous threads through the ...more
Mar 08, 2010 rated it really liked it
I'd heard Tartan Noir thrown about and found this definition from the Double Tongued Word Wrester Dictionary: "Scottish detective fiction, or Tartan Noir as it’s called, with its brooding sensibility, brutal humor and fixation on the nature of guilt and punishment, has more in common with the Russian novel than it does with traditional detective writing." Set in Glasgow, Still Midnight falls within this umbrella of Tartan Noir with the flawed detective hero, Alex Morrow.

Alex Morrow, is prickly,
I read this book in 2009 and remembered none of it. Not that it was immemorable but I tend to forget most mystery/police procedural plot details. This is the first Alex Morrow novel by Mina. I love the gritty Glasgow these novels portray and the character Morrow as well.

A group of Glasgow thugs invade the home in a modest neighborhood. When they don't find the person they are looking for, they snatch the father, a 60 year old Muslim shopkeeper. A family member is shot in the melee and Morrow com
Feb 03, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Transcending the genre" implies something backhanded about "the genre" and i am a big fan of the genre. Denise Mina is a big star of the genre and I'm a big fan of hers so I expected something great with this book. What I didn't expect was how great it was going to be. It starts off very straightforward but as it progresses the spotlight of the story seems to pull back and illuminate the depths of all the characters tangled in the plot. It's here that Mina shines even brighter with writing that ...more
Apr 06, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: mystery, scotland
I've really enjoyed Mina's previous books but this one disappointed me. I found the shifting narration to be jarring. The characters were flat and unconvincing, and the vast majority of them were unlikeable, including the lead detective, Alex Morrow. The story just didn't seem to have any meat on its bones; parts (Pat's infatuation with the kidnap victim's daughter) were unbelievable, parts were extraneous (the entire side story about Alex's half-brother served no discernible point), and much of ...more
Jul 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed Mina's Garnethill trilogy in the early 00's, but then let her fall off my radar. Why, Jannie, why?!? Still Midnight is the first of what are now five (I think) crime novels starring Glasgow detective Alex Morrow, and it is everything I want in a mystery, including a complex (and, OK, troubled) protagonist and a character-driven plot that pays more attention to family & sociopolitical dynamics than serial killers and gore. I'm definitely in for more of Mina. ...more
Jessica Woodbury
I realized a few months ago that I'd missed several releases from Denise Mina. But I mistakenly thought the Alex Morrow series was the Paddy Meehan series and started about 3 books in. Luckily you can do any Alex Morrow book as a standalone, but I've gone back and read them all out of order, with this first one as my 4th. I actually think I did read this one before, it felt familiar, but I had forgotten basically everything so I got to enjoy it all over again.

Definitely one of the strongest Alex
I really hate to add another book to my "can't finish 2014" shelf so soon, but I have no interest in this book. It's rather clumsily written and I'm not interested in the crime, the police officers, anything. Some of the problem is the point of view switches between the criminals and the main officer, Alex Morrow. Since I already know who did the crime (if not exactly why), I'm not so interested in watching the police find the culprits. If an author is going to tell me right up front who did wha ...more
Aug 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, scotland, mina
London Road Police Station was down the road from Bridgeton Cross... The door was always open to the public, welcoming them into an empty lobby with freestanding poster displays of friendly policemen and women chortling happily. For safety reasons the front bar wasn't manned. The duty sergeant could see the lobby through a one-way mirror and CCTV. He came out in his shirtsleeves if the member of the public didn't look tooled up or mad with the drink, but if they had as much as an air of melancho ...more
I listened to the audiobook as well as had the written book and this was just a confusing book. I can say that now that I'm done with the book that I really have no idea why the events happened nor understand the ending. The audiobook is read by a narrator with an extremely heavy Scottish accent which was very difficult to understand. So because I don't understand the book, plot, or ending I have to give this book 1 star, and that's even reading along in the actual book when things got really co ...more
Dec 27, 2016 rated it liked it
3 storylines: crime, romance, workplace — l-o-n-g novel, a writer you like or not, no mid-ground. Profanity, torture scenes (crime and workplace - I wanted to tell her coworker a thing or two!). Narrated well with a heavy accent so keep reader at normal speed till you get accustomed.
Sharon C. Robideaux
Oh, to write this well!

One book by Denise Mina, and I am a fan. Delightful juxtapositions of humor and despair, with uncanny characterizations, and an absolutely wicked way with words--Mina has everything I want in a police procedural. The descriptions of the city are so detailed that I felt as if I could see, hear, feel, taste, and smell each room. Protagonist Alex Morrow is intriguing. Mina wisely feeds readers pieces of the Morrow puzzle, leaving us eager to discover more in the next installm
Apr 28, 2020 rated it really liked it
I'm looking forward to reading more in this series. One strange is as if someone made a bet with the author that she couldn't mention "toast" in every chapter, and she said, "hold my beer". Honestly. Toast is mentioned constantly. Maybe that's a Scottish thing?
Oct 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
4 for its kind. It's like comfort food. She pivots every book/series; quite a range.
May 31, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: own-h, mystery, 2013
I received this book from Hachette publishing as a participant on the book club at

Initially I had difficulty with this book. Upon reflection, I found that the chapters that held the character of DS Alex Morrow and the investigation really held my interest. However the chapters that was from the point of view of one of the criminals, Pat was less engaging. After finishing the book I saw that this was a shame as his story and that of his family was part of a intere
Craig Sisterson
Denise Mina is one of the new generation of exciting Scottish authors who’ve stood on the shoulders of Val McDermid and Ian Rankin to push ‘Tartan Noir’ even more to the forefront of contemporary crime fiction in recent years.

Detective Sergeant Alex Morrow is summoned to investigate a bizarre case where armed men in balaclavas burst into a suburban Glasgow home, held a family at gunpoint while asking for a million pounds, and then kidnapped the elderly patriarch when the family protest they don
Mar 15, 2013 rated it really liked it
I really enjoyed this book! It's a mystery set in Glasgow with a grumpy police woman as the main character. It reminded me of books by two other mysteries from across the pond-Tana French and Kate Atkinson. But while both French and Atkinson's main characters and their personal stories tend to dominate the books, this one alternated between Alex Morrow, the policewoman, and some of the people involved in the crime. I liked knowing what was going on with the criminals, one of them I thought was p ...more
Aug 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I really loved Denise Mina's 'Paddy Meehan' series and was not disappointed by this first in a new series featuring Alex Morrow. Like Paddy, Alex is a disenfranchised, lower class, independent-thinking female who is trying to make her way in Glasgow, bastion of sexist men. Alex is a detective, however, and battles against the prejudices of her squad members while hiding her underworld roots as well as the hidden pain of a lost child. She becomes second in command of a kidnapping case involving t ...more
Daniel Sevitt
Jan 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: part-of-a-series
Excellent, cinematic start to a new series... which is lucky because I bought the first four in one go. Mina is super sharp on gender politics. The spirit of a younger Jane Tennison hovers over DI Alex Morrow as she navigates her way through a complicated case. There is real police work and actual detecting here as well as some good (and bad) luck and coincidences. Good stuff.
Nicole Bonia
Jun 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Told through the frame of a home invasion gone wrong, Mina's complex narrative is a less crime story than it is an intricate and thoughtful probing of family life, workplace politics,and the inescapable organizing structure of the past on identity and life choices.
Sep 03, 2017 rated it liked it
Bit grittier than I normally read. It took me awhile to warm to the heroine but eventually liked her. Same with mystery, toward the end it was really intriguing. But the convoluted 'romantic' ending was hard to believe. I was most impressed by how Glaswegins take cursing to a whole new level.
Dec 03, 2017 rated it it was ok
Still Missing by Denise Mina is a very current feeling police procedural. You have a family, who seems to be targeted for some “unknown” reason. They receive some poor treatment initially from the police due to concerns of radicalization. Threads of religion, family, and culture intertwine with the plot of this mystery. The most interesting parts of the story to me are Aahmir’s reactions to his kidnapping and thoughts during the events.

The police are battling without and within. This is a high m
Regina Lemoine
Sep 29, 2020 rated it really liked it
Still Midnight is a solid novel with an engaging storyline. It is a slow burn, with much of the focus on the protagonist, Alex Morrow, and Pat, one of the kidnappers. I liked the way Mina explored the psychology of her various characters and that depth pushed the novel a bit above many thrillers that are more strictly plot driven. That said, the end of the book felt somewhat plausible, but not fully believable. Still, I will definitely continue with this series and will look into others by this ...more
Liz Mc2
Jul 04, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook, mystery
Audio mystery binge continues. I hadn’t read Mina before. She is good at creating sympathy/engagement with some very flawed and in some cases unpleasant people. Alex Morrow, the detective, is very abrasive; you do learn why (and it’s pretty plausible) but she’s one of those detectives where you wonder if in real life someone like this could possibly be effective at the job. The end had some very implausible elements and I wasn’t really sure the plot all hung together, but it moved at a good clip ...more
Oct 31, 2020 rated it it was ok
Shelves: 2020
I love a story with multiple strands told as the assorted pieces interweave, where something suddenly become clear because some piece of the story just dropped a detail. But then THIS STORY JUST ENDS!!! I was listening to it so grabbed up my tablet to press the play button - but it was just over. This author is new to me so will try another... with skepticism. I really dislike when a book cuts off about 4 chapters short of making sense. I'm still half convinced that the ending was missing from t ...more
Gavin Simms
I wanted to give this 3.5 stars. I agreed with a few of the reviews I read - some promising strands, enough to make me want to read the next book in the series. The book was structured well, starting focused in on the crime and the detective, and gradually pulling out to reveal a bigger canvas. But some of the plot felt silly, some of the family relationships felt forced and cliched. But the book was well-written. All-in-all, a flawed but not unsuccessful first book in a series.
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Denise Mina was born in Glasgow in 1966. Because of her father's job as an Engineer, the family followed the north sea oil boom of the seventies around Europe
She left school at sixteen and did a number of poorly paid jobs, including working in a meat factory, as a bar maid, kitchen porter and cook.
Eventually she settled in auxiliary nursing for geriatric and terminal care patients.
At twenty one sh

Other books in the series

Alex Morrow (5 books)
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