4.5 our of 5 starsI recieved this book from Hachette Publishing as a articipant in a book club at www.devourerofbooks.com. This did not impact the content of this review.This is the second book in Mina's Alex Morrow series. Her first, [b:Still Midnight|6389743|Still Midnight|Denise Mina|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1348096067s/6389743.jpg|6578134] was my first experience with this author. Although billed as crime mysteries, I find the real pleasure of both of these books is in the observations the author makes on members of the families and their relatinships with each other. Her characters are rich and complex and even first impressions are often revised as we learn more about the characters.Thomas Anderson, a 15 year old boy from a wealthy family, and Squeak, a mate from his prestigious boarding school break into the home of Sarah Erroll. Thomas is angry and confronts her. Asking her where her children are, Sarah is confused asking what they want. Kay Murray, a single woman with 4 children, works cleaning other people's houses. She was also a friend of Sarah's mother Joy, helping to take care of her once it was discovered she had alzhiemers. She was also once of friend of Alex's when they were in school.We first see Alex at the funeral of her father. She is uncomfortable being there and being in the presence once again of her half brother Danny, a criminal. At the end of the ceremony Danny asks Alex for a favor, sould she talk to a social worker about his son JJ? JJ has been convicted of raping a young girl and the social worker want to do an evaluation on him. Not wanting to be any more involved with Danny, she refuses.Alex is called to the scene of a crime while leaving the cemetery. She arrives at Sarah's home where she finds Sarah sprawled at the foot of the stairs. Where her face should be is a mass of blood and cartiledge. The real mystery in this series of books is not the who but the why and how. How did thesepeople come to be the persons they are. What amkes them tick. Who are they in relations to their family and friends. As the characters move through the story Mina adds more information moving us closer to better knowing who these people really are. When the denouement comes there is a strong emotions attached. There are no simple answers. It's a rich reading experience. Thank goodenss there is another book [b:Gods and Beasts|14781160|Gods and Beasts (Alex Morrow, #3)|Denise Mina|http://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1356078725s/14781160.jpg|19213687]. I can't wait to find out what Mina has in store for us next.