It’s just a normal morning for Anna McDonald. Gym kits, packed lunches, getting everyone up and ready. Until she opens the front door to her best friend, Estelle. Anna turns to see her own husband at the top of the stairs, suitcase in hand. They’re leaving together and they’re taking Anna’s two daughters with them.
Left alone in the big, dark house, Anna can’t think, she can’t take it in. With her safe, predictable world shattered, she distracts herself with a story: a true-crime podcast. There’s a sunken yacht in the Mediterranean, multiple murders and a hint of power and corruption. Then Anna realises she knew one of the victims in another life. She is convinced she knows what happened. Her past, so carefully hidden until now, will no longer stay silent.
This is a murder she can’t ignore, and she throws herself into investigating the case. But little does she know, her past and present lives are about to collide, sending everything she has worked so hard to achieve into freefall.
Conviction manages to be dark and twisted but humorous too – it’s a wacky blend and I hugely enjoyed this brilliant crime thriller.
Our main character is spiky Anna, obsessed with reading and true crime podcasts. Following the raw and upsetting break up of her marriage from Hamish, with whom she had two daughters, Anna becomes absorbed in Death and the Dana, a podcast about a yacht that sinks in the Mediterranean with a wealthy family on board. It turns out that it involves someone from her past, which only draws Anna in further – along with Fin, the ex-husband of Estelle, who Anna’s husband left her for!
It soon becomes apparent that there are other elements from Anna’s past that put her in danger, so the pair travel across Europe to get some answers. Things get wild and there are plenty of tense moments in the action that takes place. The plot is well structured and kept me intrigued, though at times it slowed down a little and I felt I started to lose interest – but before long something else would pull me right back in. I enjoyed the character development and how the reader slowly unearths more about Anna’s history and the chapters where we ‘hear’ the podcast itself. Often chapters like these in books are the ones I’ll pay less attention to, but in Conviction, they’re written so well that I devoured these chapters just like the rest of the book. I also liked the way the book brings in something that’s very current and popular – podcasts – and builds the plot around this.
There are surprises and shocks, and the conclusion was just right for me. I’m already looking forward to reading Denise Mina’s follow-up, Confidence!