The Alex Morrow series of books are a series of crime fiction novels written by the Scottish author Denise Mina. The hero of the series, Alex Morrow, is a police detective working in the Scottish city of Glasgow, and the books focus on how her work life and her private life can, at times, merge into one. Mina has won the Theakston’s Old Peculier Novel of the Year Award in 2012 and 2013 for two books in the Alex Morrow series, The End of the Wasp Season, and Gods and Beasts. The fourth book in the Alex Morrow series, The Red Road, was also nominated for the award in 2014, but lost out to Belinda Bauer’s Rubbernecker.
Order of Alex Morrow Series
|2||The End of the Wasp Season||2011|
|3||Gods and Beasts||2012|
|4||The Red Road||2013|
|5||Blood Salt Water||2015|
The name Alex Morrow refers to a series of novels written by Denise Mina. The books have been referred to as Tartan Noir. They take place in Glasgow, Scotland, which is a fitting setting because Denise is Scottish.
Denise was born in 1966 in Glasgow to an engineer for a father. Because of his work, Denise and her family were constantly moving. By the time she was 18, the author had lived in Paris, London, Bergen and The Hague to mention but a few. Denise never had much patience for school and eventually dropped out in her mid-teens to take low-level employment.
She has been a cook and a barmaid. She also once worked as a kitchen porter, not to mention spending some time in the meat processing industry. After a stint as a nurse, Denise Mina eventually returned to school, got her law degree and even went on to pursue a Ph.D. Denise always harbored a fascination for crime, and even went to Strathclyde University where she taught criminology and criminal law.
A playwright and an author, Denise’s foray into the crime genre wasn’t completely unexpected and she even won an award for her first novel.
The Alex Morrow books aren’t exactly Denise Mina’s strongest series. They started out relatively strong but then began to falter by the third book, though later books seemed to reinvigorate the series.
The Alex Morrow books revolve around Detective Sergeant Alex Morrow. Morrow is a tough and determined Female Detective that goes to some serious lengths to serve justice. As the child of a working class family, Morrow is written to have very little sympathy for the rich. She also shows a lot of empathy for the downtrodden and the hurting, and this only drives her to work even harder to seek justice for them.
‘Still Midnight’ was the first book in the Alex Morrow series and it saw Morrow try to deal with a botched kidnapping.
The first book in the Alex Morrow series, Still Midnight, introduces us to the character of DI Alex Morrow, a high-ranking policewoman working on the streets of Glasgow. She is called upon to investigate the case of a ransom request gone wrong, which turns into the kidnapping of a elderly man when the family are unable to pay the millions demanded by the raiders. While Morrow starts by looking into who the men are, she also questions why they have targeted a seemingly normal family for a seemingly absurd amount of money. The more she delves into this case, the more secrets she starts to uncover, not just in the lives of the victims. Still Midnight was released in 2009 and was published by Orion Books.
Mina followed up the success of Still Midnight with the release of the second book in the Alex Morrow series, The End of the Wasp Season, in 2011. We are reintroduced to the character of Alex Morrow, now DS Alex Morrow, as she is pregnant with twins. She is called to a violent crime scene in a posh suburb of Glasgow, where a wealthy woman has been found murdered. Elsewhere, a loathed banked is found dead after apparently committing suicide by hanging himself from an oak tree. Morrow ends up investigating both cases, as they start to intertwine, and as she does so, she realises that her home live is about to become tangled up in her work life. As well as winning the Theakston’s Old Peculier Novel of the Year Award in 2012 for The End of the Wasp Season, Mina also picked up The Martin Beck Award, which is awarded by the Swedish Crime Writers’ Academy for the best translated piece of crime fiction.
In 2013, Mina released the third book in the Alex Morrow series, Gods and Beasts, which again won her the Theakston’s Old Peculier Novel of the Year Award. Again, Morrow must delve into the murky Glaswegian underworld, this time investigating the death of a grandfather in a post office raid. In 2014, Mina continued Alex Morrow’s story with The Red Road, which sees her looking at an almost improbable murder scene, and a case which reaches back over two decades. In 2015, the fifth book in the Alex Morrow series was released, Blood, Salt, Water, which sees Morrow leave the streets of Glasgow and head to Loch Lomond and Helensburgh as she investigates the murder of a woman.
Best Alex Morrow Books
While the Alex Morrow books can sometimes elicit mixed reviews, they are recommended reading for anyone who loves Denise Mina’s work, with some of the best books in the series including:
Still Midnight: A group of armed men disrupt the peace of a Suburb in Glasgow when they smash into a house and command its inhabitants to hand over a large sum of cash. The family is astounded because they do not have access to sums of that sort.
Unsatisfied, the men take the grandfather and disappear.
Alex Morrow is the senior policewoman that has been assigned the case.
The first Alex Morrow novel throws Alex into a rather juicy case. Pat and Eddy are two seemingly incompetent criminals who barge into a house looking for Bob. However, when the family in the house claims ignorance about an individual called Bob, Pat and Eddy do not believe them.
After shooting the daughter (by accident), the thugs kidnap the elderly grandfather and promise to return him when the family parts with a heavy ransom.
Alex Morrow is the detective who should have been assigned the case. However, circumstances find that her sexist associate Bannerman is permitted to investigate the situation instead. Because Alex knows that she is the smartest detective around, she isn’t happy with the way the situation unfolded.
She also knows that the kidnapping case makes very little sense. The story that eventually unfolds is told from the perspective of numerous characters, and it delves into psychological issues.
The End of the Wasp Season: When a notorious banker kills himself, no one really mourns his passing. However, his selfish legacy eventually becomes a burden to the family he left behind.
On the other side of things, a community in a wealthy suburb is shocked when a woman is brutally murdered. DI Alex Morrow is summoned to lead the investigation, even though she is heavily pregnant. Alex’s investigation soon reveals a trail of lies that winds through the local community and even leads back to the dead banker.
This book is written like any other police procedural but it introduces a number of psychological aspects. The ending might be a little difficult to interpret and understand for some people.
Other Book Series You May Like
“Garnethill” Series by Denise Mina. These books explore the life of a former Psychiatric Patient by the names of Maureen O’Donnell. Maureen survived a sexual assault situation and now she uses her newfound courage to help others.
“Paddy Meehan” Series by Denise Mina. These books follow the exploits of an aspiring reporter working for a fictional newspaper in Glasgow. Paddy makes a habit of digging up hidden secrets and crimes and exposing them to the public.
Alex Morrow FAQs
Q: Who writes the Alex Morrow series?
A: The Alex Morrow series of books are written by Scottish author Denise Minra.
Q: What is the first book in the Alex Morrow series?
A: The first book in the Alex Morrow series is called Still Midnight, which was released in 2009.
Q: Where is the Alex Morrow series set?
A: The Alex Morrow series of book are, for the most part, set in Glasgow, although the fifth book in the series, Blood, Salt, Water, is set around Loch Lomond and the town of Helensburgh.