The Garnethill books are a series of novels from author Denise Mina. Denise has been writing novels since 1998. The first book in the Garnethill series was actually Denise’s first novel. It set the author on the path to becoming a renowned writer of crime dramas.
Denise Mina was born in 1966. Her father was an engineer and his work allowed Denise to live a rather contradictory life. Her parents belonged to the working-class. However, because of her father’s work, Denise lived a middle-class life, traveling all over Europe and going to schools of privilege.
The author was always attending parties at ambassadors’ houses and getting into trouble. Denise isn’t afraid to admit that she was quite the naughty child, boasting a bad attitude and an unhealthy smoking habit. Thankfully she grew out of it and, despite abandoning education in her teens the author was able to return to her studies, setting her sights on a law degree.
Denise Mina began working on the idea for Garnethill while taking a forensic science course at university. The course required Denise to examine forensic evidence. Among other things, this involved looking at corpses that had been destroyed by weapons of one sort or another. In studying these images, Denise found that she was noticing a lot of details and creating interesting tales around them.
More importantly, Denise found that she enjoyed thinking of the best ways to describe these scenes on paper. It wasn’t long before some of these musings began to take the shape of an actual story. By the late 1990s, the author had formulated all her ideas into a book that was finally published as ‘Garnethill’, the first novel in the Garnethill series.
The Garnethill books tell the story of Maureen O’Donnell, a woman that was sexually abused in her past. Because Maureen has known suffering, and still suffers, she enters into situations that allow her to help other people that are suffering, typically women that have been victimized.
Maureen isn’t the nicest person. Her problems have made her a little unpleasant and Denise Mina doesn’t make her so easy to like. However, that is what makes her a unique protagonist. The first book finds the heroine struggling to make sense of the death of her therapist boyfriend and the fact that she has become the prime suspect.
Denise Mina always intended to make the Garnethill books a trilogy and she has refuted any suggestions that she might go back into that world and continue Maureen’s story. Not only does she think that that would be a betrayal to the story she wrote, but Denise doesn’t relish the idea of returning to such a dark story.
The first Garnethill novel received a New Blood Dagger Award in 1998.
Best Garnethill Books
Denise Mina’s Garnethill novels are very dark; however, they have a horde of fans who appreciate Denise’ dark sensibilities, with some of the best books in the series including:
Garnethill: Maureen O’Donnell is in trouble. Not only was her boyfriend murdered but she woke up one morning to find him in her living room. It only made sense that she would become the prime suspect in the case.
However, Maureen refuses to take the fall for a crime she did not commit, and she determines to investigate the case herself and find the true murder.
The first book in the Garnethill series begins when Maureen O’Donnell passes out after a drunken night and wakes up to find her boyfriend’s corpse tied up in her living room. This book explores the lives of women who have been victimized in some way.
Exile: When Maureen’s father makes his presence in Glasgow known, Maureen O’Donnell finds it hard to focus on the trial of the man that murdered her boyfriend, this despite the fact that she is the star witness.
With her father’s abusive actions against her fresh in her mind, Maureen finds her world further complicated when she becomes embroiled in a family feud.
The final book in the Garnethill series tries to bring closure to the many plot threads surrounding Maureen O’Donnell, this including the emergence of her abusive father and the dangerous decisions her pregnant sister keeps making.
Other Book Series You May Like
The “Inspector Rebus” Series by Ian Rankin. Rebus is a competent detective working for the St. Leonard’s Police station in Edinburgh. An Old fashioned man who’s always bottling up his feelings, Rebus keeps trying to maneuver the politics of his job even while struggling to find balance in his relationships with the four women in his life.
The “Dr. Tony Hill Series” by Val McDermid. Tony Hill is a clinical psychologist with a developmental coordination disorder. Despite his poor social skills, Tony works as a profiler for the Bradfield Police, often partnering with the gutsy DCI Carol Jordan.