Confidence is the sequel to Denise Mina’s Conviction.
Anna McDonald and Fin Cohen do podcasts. Confidence begins with Anna’s narrative of a YouTube film that she has been compelled to watch.
Shot, produced and posted by the relative novice Lisa Lee, the film follows Lisa’s customary posts of her sometimes dangerous pass time of exploring abandoned buildings.
It contains drone footage and Lisa’s narration of a tumbling down, fully furnished chateau in France, complete with interesting artwork and decor, stagnant water, collapsing floors and scary unexpected sights. She has discovered an intriguing silver box.
Since the video’s posting, Lisa has gone missing, and the box, known as the cursed Voyniche casket, is listed for sale at a prestigious auction house. With it’s serious religious significance, it could be the most important and revered artifact in history.
Intrigued, amidst a raging storm, Anna and Fin abruptly depart–actually, escape–from an intense, blended, and quite dysfunctional family vacation that nobody is enjoying.
What follows is a multi-country thrill ride with Anna and Fin accompanying Bram, a shady, volotile antiques dealer who is hell-bent on acquiring the casket, and and his newly-acquired angry young son, who is more of a thorn in his side than a cherished offspring.
This reader found Confidence to be a messy hash of politics, religion, dysfunction, mysterious characters, murder, more than one chase, with more than one target. As it became increasingly complicated, it expanded in so many directions that none tracked easily or were terribly satisfying.
Priorities shifted back and forth, from finding Lisa who may or may not have been murdered, to locating the casket, to another mysterious and valuable item, to family dynamics, dark pasts, and characters with deep psychological issues.
This reader failed to understand why Anna and Fin continued their involvement when they were clearly in danger–yes, at times they had no choice. Apparently their podcast was enough motivation for them to desert their families, risk their lives and be swept along?
Plus, some serious background information on Anna’s previous life was revealed which would have benefited from further explanation and detail.
I found that the mountain of details was difficult to sort out, so I may have missed some important information that would help wrap everything up.
It felt instead, that some questions were left to speculation. Maybe they will be delved into further in the next book.
Never a dull moment, Mina’s latest could be a fun and exciting, albeit unfocused glued-to-your-seat movie, especially with its unpredictable and dramatic conclusion.
Although I imagine that it will appeal to others, especially die hard Denise Mina fans, unfortunately, Confidence did not work for me.

Denise Mina
Mulholland Books 2022
304 pages

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