by Denise Mina

Saturday, April 5, 2003

Featured image for Sanctum

After the superb Garnethill trilogy I couldn’t wait to see what Denise Mina would come up with next and I had my fingers, toes and every other extremity I could find crossed that I wouldn’t be disappointed by Sanctum.

On some levels this book explores the same areas as the previous books, we’re still in Glasgow and we’re still dealing with the mental health system one way or another. But this is a very different style of book than before.

This book is written as the diary of Lachlan Harriot, an unfortunate twenty nine year old ex-Glaswegian who’s psychiatrist wife “Dr Susie” has just been convicted of murdering a serial killer and his wife. One thing that really bugged me about the book was the way it was bookended with prologue and epilogue that wrap it up as a true crime style of story. I don’t like authors using themselves as characters in their fiction though it does work pretty well and the story is obviously fictitious. I just find it a bit creepy, but maybe making me feel that way is good storytelling.

I really enjoyed this read though I didn’t think it was as moving as Garnethill, but if every book was that moving I’d be an emotional wreck. I’m not really being fair holding this book up to be judged by the trilogy that preceded it, it’s a good read and I enjoyed it very much, and if this had have been written by nearly anybody else I’d be praising it no end. Garnethill is a hard act to follow, but this doesn’t do badly.