Review: Conviction

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Rating: 3 Stars

Conviction by Denise Mina follows Anna McDonald as her life unravels one fine day. When she gets up early like always, relishing her “me time” before her husband and daughters wake up, she has no idea how things are going to go down on this particular morning. Engrossed in her new true crime podcast, it takes her some time to catch on with what is going on with her husband. Before long, she is alone in the house, desperate, and on the verge of doing something stupid. The only thing she can think of is to listen to the podcast, and try to forget her own troubles for a while.

As it turns out, the events of the morning are just the beginning of her troubles. As she listens to the podcast about a family murdered on board a cursed yacht, she realizes that not only does she know one of the victims, she has also come across another person mentioned in the podcast. Someone connected to the past that Anna has tried to delete from her life; a past that her husband, daughters and friends have no idea about.

Even though she is certain she knows what happened to the ill-fated family, Anna has no intention of telling anyone about it. Until Fin Cohen shows up at her door, and a nosy neighbour takes the choice out of Anna’s hands. Now Anna is on the run, determined to get to the bottom of the triple murders, with an all-too-recognizable ex-rockstar who has no idea about the nest of hornets that he has stirred up.

Mina’s book is fast paced and the murder mystery keeps the reader hooked to the book for a while at least. But then Anna’s past life starts intruding, and while it is commendable that the writer maintains the pace, it also becomes irritating that things are left up in the air where Anna’s past is concerned. All actions and everyone’s motivations are guessed at by Anna, and that too with a superficiality that leaves you thinking, why would anyone do that?

The book concludes with the same speed with which it started, leaving behind a lot of unanswered questions. For me, this open ended conclusion is not a negative point. I like books that leave things unsaid and unexplained; in other words I like things to be left to the reader’s imagination. Not all readers are like that, though. So if you like books that tie up all ends and solve all of life’s little mysteries, this book might not be for you. For people like me, pick it up, give it a read.

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