A few days before Christmas, a gunman walks into a Glasgow post office with an AK-47. With hardly a word, a grandfather, Brendon Lyons, hands his four-year-old grandson over to a stranger and helps the criminal stuff cash into bags, even carrying them to the door for the gunman.
Then the unthinkable happens: the gunman raises his weapon and shoots the grandfather, the bullets cutting him nearly in half. When DS Alex Morrow catches the case, she’s mystified. Evidently, the security system had been turned off the day of the robbery, and it seems obvious to some of the witnesses that the gunman and the old man knew each other.
Meanwhile, symbol-for-the-working-class-turned-politician Kenny Gallagher has been accused by a newspaper of having sex with a 17-year-old member of his campaign. He’s a so-called family man with much to lose, and his decision to sue the newspaper could be the beginning of his road to ruination.
Additionally, two officers under Morrow have confessed to taking a bag of cash at the prompting of a young thug during a traffic stop, leading Morrow to think that there’s something much bigger at work behind their story. At the center of this maelstrom is the enigmatic Brendon Lyons, the man who seemingly sacrificed himself during a simple robbery. Nothing is simple about this case, though, as Morrow will soon find out.
Alex Morrow is not only a cop, she’s a new mother to twins and doing her best to balance job and home. She’s deeply self-aware of how her coworkers view her as a police officer, and, especially, as a woman in her position. The author mainly goes back and forth between Morrow’s investigation and the story of beloved Glasgow son Kenny Gallagher’s inevitable media demise in the face of adultery allegations. We also get a glimpse into the life of Martin Pavel, the young bank customer that took charge of Brendon Lyons’s grandson during the robbery.
In the third novel featuring DS Alex Morrow (Still Midnight, The End of the Wasp Season), a seemingly simple, if gruesome, robbery and murder leads to a labyrinthine mystery involving political and moral corruption. The tendrils of this case run wide and deep, and for much of the novel I wondered how the individual plotlines would tie together. Mina’s writing has a very intimate, sometimes dreamlike quality that serves as a stark contrast to the more brutal aspects of the story, and I found myself pulled into the narrative, eager to find out how everything interconnects. All threads do indeed draw together, and the conclusion is far reaching, even shocking. Gods and Beasts is recommended for international suspense and Tartan Noir fans, as well as fans of Val McDermid.