BOOK REVIEW: The Less Dead by Denise Mina

Publication Date: August 18, 2020
Format: Paperback
Genre:  Fiction

Publisher: Mulholland Books
354 pages
Buy:  Kindle Paperback 


Dr. Margo Dunlop is at a crossroads. Her adoptive mom just passed away, and Margo misses her so much she can't begin to empty the house-or, it seems, get her brother on the phone. Not to mention she's newly single, secretly pregnant, and worried about her best friend's dangerous relationship. In an effort to cheer herself up she goes in search of her birth mother. Instead she finds Nikki, her mother's sister. Aunt Nikki isn't what Margo expects, and she brings upsetting news: Margo's mother is dead. Worse, she was murdered years ago, and her killer is still at large—and sending Nikki threatening letters.

Margo is torn. Should she stay out of this mess, or try to find justice? But then Margo receives a letter, too. Someone out there has been waiting and watching, and in Margo sees the spitting image of her mother . . .


Denise Mina has the uncanny knack of taking something serious and adding some humor to make it more palatable.  Margo's mother has just died, she just left her boyfriend and found out she was pregnant.  Her brother lives overseas and wants her to clear their mothers house but Margo is finding it difficult to go through her things.  She has also decided to seek her birth family, what she finds is a looney Aunt a murdered mother and a story about sex workers who went missing only to wind up dead. Then she starts receiving threatening notes, written in the same hand as the person who has been writing to her Aunt for years since her mothers murder.  

There is so much to this story.  How poor women or those with drug issues, and unconventional ways of making money are brushed aside.  The cops consider them The Less Dead.  They don't count, and not much effort is put into finding anyone who may have wronged them.  Its also a story of circumstance, how being poor is so difficult to overcome, to create a better life, and how generational poverty can be. Mixed in with this is Margo's overwhelmingly crazy best friend Lilah, Lilah's ex-boyfriend who is stalking her for some cash she stole from him, Margo's ex-boyfriend, baby Daddy and still frequent lover and the looney Aunt who Margo isn't sure if she can trust. 

The Mystery is fantastic, the characters are fun, and the issues very relevant.  I really enjoyed this book. 

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