Excerpt from Conviction by Denise Mina, plus links to reviews, author biography & more

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Conviction

by Denise Mina

Conviction by Denise Mina X
Conviction by Denise Mina
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  • First Published:
    Jun 2019, 384 pages
    Paperback:
    Apr 2020, 384 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Kim Kovacs
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Excerpt
Conviction



The day my life exploded started well.

It was early morning in November and I woke up without the use of an alarm clock. I was pleased about that. It was a concession to our couples counselling: I wouldn't wake Hamish at six with my alarm clock and he wouldn't play Candy Crush on his phone all evening while ignoring the children.

I was looking forward to my day. I had a new true-crime podcast series waiting on my phone and I'd heard good things about it. I planned to listen to the first episode, get a taste for the story before I woke the kids for school, and then binge on it while I trawled through a day of menial tasks. A good podcast can add a glorious multi-world texture to anything. I've resisted an Assyrian invasion while picking up dry-cleaning. I've seen justice served on a vicious murderer while buying underpants.

I lay in bed savouring the anticipation, watching light from the street ripple across the ceiling, listening as the heating kicked on and the grand old dame of a house groaned and cracked her bones. I got up, pulled on a jumper and slippers,

and crept out of the bedroom.

I loved getting up before everyone else, when the house was still and I could read or listen to a podcast alone in a frozen world. I knew where everyone was. I knew they were safe. I could relax.

Hamish resented it. He said it was creepy. Why did I need this time alone, sneaking around the house? Why did I need to be alone so much?

Trust issues, the couples counsellor called it.

I tried to reassure Hamish, I'm not planning to kill you or anything. But that was not reassuring, apparently. In fact, Anna, it might sound rather hostile to Hamish, if you think about it from his point of view. Really? (I said it in a hostile way.) Does that sound hostile? Then we talked about that for a while. It was a stupid process. We were both hostile and sad. Our relationship was in its death throes.

I tiptoed across the landing, skirting the squeakiest floorboards and looked in on both of the girls. They were fast asleep in their wee beds, school uniforms laid out on chairs, socks in shoes, ties under collars. I wish I had lingered longer. I would never see them so innocent again.

I went back out to the landing. The oak banister curled softly from the top of the house to bottom, carved to fit the cup of a hand, grainy to the touch, following the wind of the stairs like a great long snake of yellow marzipan. It led down to a grand hallway with marble pillars flanking the front door and a floor mosaic of Hamish's ancestral coat of ar ms.The house was bought by Hamish's great-grandfather. He bought it new from Greek Thompson.

Hamish was very proud of his background. He knew nothing at all about mine. I must emphasise that. I'm not just saying that to protect him, now that everything has come out. He was a senior member of the Bar, hoping to be appointed to the bench like his forebears. He wouldn't have risked that just to be with me.

When we met I was Anna, the new office temp from Somewhere-Outside-of-Aberdeen. I chose Hamish quite carefully. I did love him, I must say that, and I still do, sometimes. But I deliberately picked an older man with money and status. A declamatory man, full of facts and opinions. He was the perfect hide.

Hamish was born in that house and had never lived anywhere else. His family had been on or near the Scottish judiciary for two hundred years. He didn't much like foreign travel. He read only Scottish writers. That seemed so weird to me. I think I found it a little exotic.

It was cold in the hall that morning. I walked through into the white-gleaming, German-designed kitchen and made a pot of strong coffee. I picked up my phone. The true-crime podcast series was called Death and the Dana. The description read 'A sunken yacht, a murdered family on board, a secret still unsolved ...'

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Excerpted from the book Conviction by Denise Mina. Copyright © 2019 by Denise MIna. Reprinted with permission of Little, Brown and Company. All rights reserved.

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