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The End of the Wasp Season    by Denise Mina order for
End of the Wasp Season
by Denise Mina
Order:  USA  Can
Reagan Arthur, 2013 (2011)
Hardcover, Softcover, CD, e-Book

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* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

Detective Inspector Alex Morrow (introduced in Still Midnight) is back in The End of the Wasp Season, on the job despite being pregnant with twins (she has clearly reconciled with her husband Brian). The story opens on her father's funeral. She keeps it - as well as her relationship to her criminal half-brother Danny McGrath - secret from her colleagues.

The story reveals a horribly dysfunctional family, whose abusive patriarch (millionaire banker Lars Anderson) hangs himself. There are two entitled and angry schoolboys, the stronger (Squeak) influencing the weaker (Thomas Anderson). And there's the crime whose investigation Alex leads, the home invasion and harrowing murder of Sarah Errol, who had worked long and hard to pay for the care of her elderly mother and had just come home for the funeral and to sell the family home in a wealthy suburb of Glasgow.

Complicating matters for Alex is the involvement in the case of her schoolfriend Kay Murray, a single mother of four, who used to date Danny McGrath and who had a special relationship with the elder Mrs. Errol. And Danny is asking Alex to speak to a psychologist about the background of his son JJ who is in jail for raping and knifing a fifteen-year-old girl. Alex wants to keep their connection a secret. Danny knows his son is guilty but still tries to do what he can for him.

The police have all kinds of questions about Sarah Errol, first and foremost the origins of the close to a million quid they found hidden in her home. She took frequent trips to New York - what were they about? And what was her connection to Lars Anderson? Then Alex's sleazy boss Grant Bannerman (who finally gets what he deserves in this episode) sets his sights on Kay Murray's boys as the killers.

Of course Alex sorts it all out, in her usual forthright and uncompromising style. But the resolution makes her see her own life and decisions a little differently. Once again I enjoyed spending time with Alex Morrow and look forward to more of this thought-provoking series.

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