Denise Mina Exile (Bantam Press £9.99) at it
Poor lvlaureen O'Donnell Were she ever to spring to life and pay her creator a Visit, I’m sure the words ’gonnae gtes a break?’ wOuId be close to her lips For if Denise Mina put Mo through hell in her debut novel Garnet/rill (it opened With the discovery of her mutilated boyfriend strapped to a chair in the kitchen) then Exr/e sees her domg the 'and bd( k' bit.
Suffering terrible flashbacks, paranoia and deep insecurity, much of rt fuelled by her zealous taste for booze btit most of rt due to her father's abuse, she is ernbrorled in an investigation into the death of a former Glasgow Women's Shelter resident.
Once again, Denise Mina shows an at ute ability to create a perceptive, cruel and drny amusing account of murder, madness and mayhem. The only consolation for Maureen is that there is Just one more book in the series to go (Brian Donaldsom
NEW PURITAN FICTON Matt Thorne
Dreaming Of Strangers (Weiden eld & Nicolson £9.99)
Written in accordance wrth the New
Puritan Manifesto, Thorne’s third novel eschews narrative devrces and poetic language in favour of solid storytelling. This is a highly effet ttve way of writing a novel, which becomes even more successful when the plot is as good as this one.
Becca and Chris are both him bulls and, despite havrng mutual acquaintances, have never met. Chris has Just broken up With hrs girlfriend, while Becca is havrng doubts about her own relationship. When she rents out a flat to Chris through her estate agent, she develops a fascination With him, whit h eventually leads her to arrange a meeting. He, meanwhile, has no idea who hrs mysterious landlady is.
The various machinations undertaken by Betta, Chris and their friends whit h eventually bring them together are worthy of Shakespeare, and the plot unravels in sut h a way that you are compelled right tip until the final credits. (Kirsty Knaggst
Moon Unit Zappa
America The Beautiful (Review £7.99) ‘i‘ir it" "lIIi'
Sorriething gratuitously weird and self- indulgent might have been expe< ted of Moon Unit Zappa’s debut. Instead, the daughter of the key Mother Of
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Drowning in the Shallows (REVIEW it "it
Stewart Hennessey is a brilliant, intelligent and consuming writer. His debut novel, though, is marred by a too-lofty ambition to write the zeitgeist novel about an over- educated, under-employed alcoholic/chemical generation of late twenty/early thirtysomethings.
Rich and Denise are siblings; he is imprisoned to a lifestyle of drinking and fucking any girl he can shark while she wallows in a loveless relationship she plans one day to escape. Around these two, orbit various Edinburgh miscreants who have the money but not the innocence to enjoy life.
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R0 NING IN THE SHA L W TEWNART HENNEISSIET
Structurally, Drowning In The Shallows is similar to Irvine Welsh's debut Trainspotting but with intelligent, overly loquacious characters. Everything here is signposted; every apathetic shitty notion of personal freedom and fear of encroaching maturity is used as a very big stick to wave you through this hall of fools. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn't. Like a TV sketch aimed at a generationally-challenged diaspora, some scenes hit the mark but by the end of the novel you are no closer to caring about these cold hearts.
Hennessey's writing however, is consistently excellent; to borrow from his recurring water metaphors, things ebb and flow through a series of exquisite interior monologues while his control of pace and tone are remarkably mature. The main trouble is that novels about chronically immature commitment phobes have such strong precedents (Hermann Hesse's Knulp, Jerzy Kosinski's The Devil Tree) it is hard to see this as anything but atavistic
bloodsucking. (Paul Dale)
Invention has opted for straiglttforward observational (omedy But given that the heroine's world revolves around the kookter aspects of life in sunny California, her observations were never going to be that straightforward.
Damped by fax while still l(‘(‘IYli(] from the death of her writer father, America Throne seeks refuge in itirik food and ci(ilii‘.()lil()tiS phone (ails before taking the first tentative steps back to 'whoIeness'.
If Zappa ottasionally gets bogged down in the minutiae of daily life tdo we really need to know liow many lvl&lvls she's popped at one sitttng7r this is made tip for by deadpan wit and a talent for retreating hilarious ex< hanges and situations Zanpa's war ky world may not be instantly familiar, but her sharply observed depit tron of IliO-dftt‘T-INUdkcli) is bound to strike a (hor‘d (Allan Radtltffe‘
Marc Pye Waterstone's. I53 I57 Sattchiehall Street. 332 UIOS. 7pm. Free but ticketed. .\iarc I’_\ e launches his i‘it'st ttm eI Lollipop (Sceptre C Illi \sltich is set in (ilasgots.
Brian Jacques ()ttakar‘s Bookstore. [hit (3. Buchanan (iallet'ies. Bttcltanan Street. 353 I500. 3PM]. I‘ree. :\tliItol‘ oi lIlL‘ ‘Redu’all‘ series talks abotit his \sork \\ iiIi a book signing session.
Simon Inglis James 'l‘hin. (it-urge Street. 235 4495. 7pm. I‘t'ee. Sight/Ines: 5‘ Slur/tum ()r/_\'\\t'\ tYeIons .Ierse} I’ress
L'IS) is the next book from the author of I'DUl/Hl/l (imam/s 0/ Britain and l‘rrrrllru/l (imam/x Ullztrm/ti'. Ii\ identI) a Ian oi' l‘ootbaII. in particular ol' l'ootball grounds. he has no“ e\panded his interest to sports stadiums around [he \sorld. Those who think the} ma} share his passion cart Itear Simon Inglis read irom his amusing \sork.
Iain M Banks Borders Books. 233 Buchanan Street. 332 7700. lpni. Iiree. Wearing his sei it hat. Banks \\ ill be signing copies of the latest rim eI in the (allure sequence limit In li'irrr/ii'rm/ (Orbit How).
David Starkey ()ttakat‘K Bookstore. l'nit (i. Bttchanan (ialleries. Buchanan Street. 353 I500. opiti. I’ree. Historian “m M Stai'ke) discusses his book lillftl/it’l/l t('hatto ck \Vindtis C30). recentl) broadcast as a major series on ('hattnel -i.
Denise Mina “titer-stone's. 153 iii SattchiehaII Street. 333 ‘lltli 7pm. Free. Scottish crime \sriter Denise Mina launches her latest book little tBaittttnt I’I‘L‘ss £9.09). See l'L‘\ ic‘“.