Book Review

CSC x Vintage: Conviction by Denise Mina

Conviction by Denise Mina is narrated by Anna McDonald. It is also not narrated by Anna McDonald.

This is the first of many contradictions, secrets and double identities that make this crime novel so enticing. Anna-who-is-not-really-Anna wakes up one morning and listens to a true crime podcast before the day begins. At this point, I’m sure many of us can relate. The podcast investigates an unsolved murder of three family members on board a luxury yacht. Who doesn’t love a murder story?


But suddenly, she hears an old friend’s name mentioned in it. Before she can truly take it in, Anna’s podcast is interrupted by her best friend turning up at her front door to leave with her husband, whom she had been having an affair with. At this point, our narrator realises that both her relaxing morning and her normal little life have been permanently disrupted. All this happens within the first few pages, so one can only try and imagine the ensuing chaos and drama. The adventure begins.

Without succumbing to page-turner clichés, the suspense in every chapter of this book is palpable. The farfetchedness of this tale is interspersed with issues that are all too real. Or perhaps it’s the other way round. It is a perfect balance of murder mystery, hitmen, hauntings and concealed backstories mixed with entirely realistic heartbreaks, addictive true crime podcasts and tragic themes (think #MeToo). But there is a dark humour underpinning this novel which allows for a story that reels you in and that you simply must know the end to. It’s honest, it’s funny, it’s tragic and it’s exciting all at the same time. I can’t recommend it enough. 


Denise Mina is a Scottish author. She has written 14 crime novels and was inducted into the Crime Writers’ Association Hall of Fame in 2014. She is truly a master storyteller and Conviction was no exception. A tale which is so human in its exploration of emotion, tragedy and the role of the press in the development of trials and public opinion, but also so exciting in its suspenseful and intelligent puzzle-piece plot, Conviction is your next 5-star read.


Want to meet Denise Mina? Join us on 16 February from 6-8pm in our Edinburgh shop, where she will be discussing her work and signing copies of her book, The Less Dead. There will also be discounts on selected Cambridge Satchel Co. products as well as refreshments at this event in collaboration with Vintage Books. RSVP by dropping us a message!

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Have you read Conviction? Are you a Denise Mina fan? What should we review next? We are always eager to hear your thoughts - tag #CSCVintage to join the conversation, and find out more about our collaboration with Vintage here


You can find out more about Conviction here.