Confidence by Denise Mina #BookReview

Confidence by Denise Mina

Originally published: 7 Jul 2022 (Paperback 30 Mar 2023)

Author: Denise Mina

Published by: Harvill Secker

Genre: Crime Thriller

Page count: 304

Reading dates: 28 March – 1 April 2023

When amateur film-maker Lisa Lee vanishes from a Scottish seaside town, journalists Anna and Fin find themselves at the centre of an internet frenzy to find her.

But she may not be the hapless victim everyone thinks she is. The last film she made showed her breaking into an abandoned French chateau and stumbling across a priceless Roman silver casket. The day after Lisa vanishes the casket is listed for auction in Paris, reserve price fifty million euros, with a catalogue entry that challenges the beliefs of a major world religion.

On a thrilling chase across Europe to discover what happened to Lisa, Anna and Fin are caught up in a world of international art smuggling, religious zealotry, and murder.

But someone doesn’t want them to find the missing girl… and will do anything to stop them.

Anna and Fin are friends and also have a well respected and popular true crime podcast. While on holiday with their extended family, it comes to their attention that a young woman called Lisa Lee who makes You-Tube videos about her exploration of abandoned properties has disappeared. Her last uploaded video was of a large chateaux in rural France which was abandoned and left to ruin but with the owners things still inside like they had to leave in a hurry. Sometime after uploading the video, Lisa disappears and Anna and Fin decide to investigate her disappearance.

They meet up with a South African smuggler, Bram Van Wyck and his newly discovered son, Marco and together they end up on a bit of road trip around Europe. Their search for Lisa is centred around an artefact of deep religion significance which Lisa found in the house and is now being sold at auction in Paris.

This one was a bit of a miss for me I’m afraid. I found it a bit confusing and pretty much all the characters were unlikable. This is the second book to feature Anna and Fin, the first being Conviction and I wonder if I had read the first it would have made me connect to them more. We hear that Anna was raped several years ago and as a result had to change her name, something in this book her daughters have just become aware of thanks to Fin’s girlfriend who seems to think it is good dinner party conversation. And Fin seems like a weak character, bullied by his girlfriend and suffering from an eating disorder. I feel the author did that thing where she had to mention stuff that was covered in more detail in the first book, but left me wanting more in this one and didn’t really give anything extra to the characters.

I liked the way it was written, with the narratives from interviews and podcasts a big part of the story but I just didn’t engage with the story or the subject matter. But as we all know, we don’t all like the same books – Confidence has lots of fabulous reviews so if it sounds like your sort of thing, then please pick it up!

Many thanks to Harvill Secker and Graeme Williams for my proof copy.

About the author:

Denise Mina

Denise Mina was born in Glasgow in 1966. Because of her father’s job as an engineer, the family followed the north sea oil boom of the seventies around Europe, moving twenty one times in eighteen years from Paris to the Hague, London, Scotland and Bergen. She left school at sixteen and did a number of poorly paid jobs: working in a meat factory, bar maid, kitchen porter and cook. Eventually she settle in auxiliary nursing for geriatric and terminal care patients.

At twenty one she passed exams, got into study Law at Glasgow University and went on to research a PhD thesis at Strathclyde University on the ascription of mental illness to female offenders, teaching criminology and criminal law in the mean time.

Misusing her grant she stayed at home and wrote a novel, ‘Garnethill’ when she was supposed to be studying instead.

‘Garnethill’ won the Crime Writers’ Association John Creasy Dagger for the best first crime novel and was the start of a trilogy completed by ‘Exile’ and ‘Resolution’.

A fourth novel followed, a stand alone, named ‘Sanctum’ in the UK and ‘Deception’ in the US.

In 2005 ‘The Field of Blood’ was published, the first of a series of five books following the career and life of journalist Paddy Meehan from the newsrooms of the early 1980s, through the momentous events of the nineteen nineties. The second in the series was published in 2006, ‘The Dead Hour’ and the third will follow in 2007.

She also writes comics and wrote ‘Hellblazer’, the John Constantine series for Vertigo, for a year, published soon as graphic novels called ‘Empathy is the Enemy’ and ‘The Red Right Hand’. She has also written a one-off graphic novel about spree killing and property prices called ‘A Sickness in the Family’ (DC Comics forthcoming).

In 2006 she wrote her first play, “Ida Tamson” an adaptation of a short story which was serialised in the Evening Times over five nights. The play was part of the Oran Mor ‘A Play, a Pie and a Pint’ series, starred Elaine C. Smith and was, frankly, rather super.

As well as all of this she writes short stories published various collections, stories for BBC Radio 4, contributes to TV and radio as a big red face at the corner of the sofa who interjects occasionally, is writing a film adaptation of Ida Tamson and has a number of other projects on the go.

Website –


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