The End of the Wasp Season by Denise Mina
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Actually, it is 4.5 stars. I just can't give away five stars for a very good yet not completely perfect book. This book does not rise to the greatness of the author's "Garnethill" or "The Dead Hour", but it still is a highly recommendable work, in no small part part due to Ms. Mina's outstanding writing. Alex Morrow is a more completely developed character than in the previous novel ("Still Midnight"). The story is extremely interesting, even if we think we know, from the very beginning, what exactly happened (not that I care much about the "whodunit" aspect).
What I value most in this book is Mina's scrutiny of mental illness. There is not much of socio-economic observation, but psychological insights almost make up for it. Writing is not as uniformly stellar as in most Mina's previous books; it almost seems she did not spend enough time writing this one. However, I found the beginning of the book totally engrossing, in particular observations of school life as seen by Thomas reminded me a little of Joyce's "Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man". Also the ending reads great, and Ms. Mina's attempts to write from the point of view of a mentally disturbed person are fascinating.
One more thing - although I read the book pretty thoroughly, taking delight in the language, I must have missed something because I do not understand the very last sentence of the book (and one sentence half a page above it). Well, it probably makes me like the book even more.
August 22, 2012 update: Well, my wife read the book, and explained what I missed. She is a more careful reader. She liked the book too.
View all my reviews