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Field of Blood Mass Market Paperback – July 1, 2006

58 customer reviews
Book 1 of 3 in the Paddy Meehan Series

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. If this novel were a movie, filmgoers would tag it the one to beat for the Oscars. Beyond creating sweaty physical tension, the brilliant Mina may have invented a subgenre: moral suspense. Patricia "Paddy" Meehan, a copygirl at Glasgow's Daily News, has struggled with issues of goodness since childhood. "I knew I was lying when I made my first communion," she confesses to fiancé Sean Ogilvy the night she delivers other shockers. She won't marry him. And she wants his help interviewing his 10-year-old cousin, Callum, who's been charged with murdering a toddler. Scots are deemed legally responsible at eight, but Paddy sees Callum as another victim. Paddy, who shares a nickname with a career criminal wrongfully imprisoned for murder, can't tolerate injustice. At the heart of the plot is her decision pose as colleague Heather Allen when she makes dangerous inquiries, a choice that spells death for the real Heather, who's everything Paddy isn't: slim blonde whistle bait—and ambitious enough to steal a story from Paddy. After Heather's murder, the reader writhes, not just because Paddy's in danger but because a moment of awful truth awaits her. Mina spins the complexities in the rough music of her working-class Scots, unsparing of brutal details, but unfailingly elegant in her humanity.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Booklist

Scottish hard-boiled writers like Ian Rankin, Val McDermid, and Denise Mina are the literary equivalents of post-Calvin church architecture: spiky, gray, grim. In her Glasgow novels, Mina, especially, finds the emotional equivalent of what her characters endure and what some inflict on others in the unrelievedly bleak tenements and back ways of the wrong side of town. She introduces a new heroine here, a young woman, Paddy Meehan, who works as a gofer at a Glasgow daily in 1981. The story centers on the horrific killing of a little boy by two other boys. Paddy gets drawn into the case through her recognition that one of the boys charged is related to her fiance. Although the connection and Paddy's involvement are a bit of a stretch, the novel offers a fascinating look at sexism and newspaper politics--and a reminder of how tough it is to be poor and ambitious. Connie Fletcher
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Mass Market Paperback: 456 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; First Edition edition (July 1, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031615458X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316154581
  • Product Dimensions: 4.1 x 1.1 x 6.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #193,784 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

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.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By tregatt on August 10, 2005
Format: Hardcover
Over the past few years, Denise Mina has earned herself the reputation of being one of the best suspense writers currently published. With "The Field of Blood" she's done something very different from her previous books, and something slightly more ambitious. So that while "The Field of Blood" may not be her best mystery offering, ("GarnetHill" was definitely the best one so far) -- mainly because this is not a very suspenseful read --it was a very absorbing and emotionally charged read, and one that gave readers not completely familiar with the social history of Scotland in the '60s, '70s & and the '80s, an idea of the prejudices that somone from a poor, working-class Irish-Catholic background would have experienced in Scotland during that period.

Young "Paddy" Meehan longs for the day when she will be a real journalist, writing articles and being taken seriously by the male journalists she works with, feeling quite dismal about her current status as a glorified gofer for the Scottish Daily News. But she never expected that it would take the brutal murder of a child, and the ostracism of her family and her fiance, Sean, in order for her dreams to be realised. For when the body of Brian Wilcox is found, and two other children are arrested for the murder, Paddy realises that one of the suspects is Sean's young cousin. Unwittingly, Paddy confides in the wrong person, and the story is splashed all over the news. Her family and Sean are furious with her, but that's the least of Paddy's problems. For Paddy refuses to believe that the two boys were solely responsible for Brian's death, and begins to do some investigative work on her own, and in doing so makes a very dangerous and determined person very, very nervous...
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Michael H. Jones on November 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I own a country store and am a serious book junkie. I put all my stuff on the shelves, free for the taking, and encourage others to do the same. I just happened upon this book in this fashion, a dog-eared paperback left by a stranger.

For reference I am a Michael Connoly, Robert Crais, James Lee Burke sort of a person. Denise Mina is right up there with the best of them.

I always feel like apologizing for the time I give up to mysteries...but I have to say that I love the writing, the characters, the insights these authors bring to the is not just plot and action.

Denise Mina writes about Glasgow. Her heroine is an Irish Catholic girl from a working class family....not an upwardly mobile LA male. Her heroine is quiet, self deprecating, subtle...and so is the writing. This was something completely different.....but I loved the characters, the insights, the writing.....Enough to drop everything and go out to Borders and buy the hardback of her new book.

Highly recommended.
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Jennifer Cameron-Smith TOP 1000 REVIEWER on January 25, 2008
Format: Mass Market Paperback
While this is the first of Denise Mina's novels featuring Paddy Meehan it is the second that I have read. No matter: it was nice to make her acquaintance again.

Ms Mina writes tough, uncompromising crime fiction and Paddy Meehan, aspiring journalist is on one level a most unlikely hero. Of uncompromising blue collar Catholic stock in a time and a place where such things matter, Paddy dares dream of a career. Her chance comes after an horrific crime in which three year old Brian is murdered and one of the suspects, a young lad, is part of her extended family circle.

Follow the twists and turns of this novel and a linked but secondary story about the 'other' Paddy Meehan which, while it forms part of the rich backdrop is not directly relevant. Or is it?

I'm delighted to read that Ms Mina intends to write five books about Paddy Meehan. The third is available now, and I'm off to hunt it down.

Highly recommended to those who like rich, gritty crime fiction.

Jennifer Cameron-Smith
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Laurie Fletcher VINE VOICE on May 18, 2007
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Denise Mina is without peer in her detailed portrayal of the underbelly population of England's cities. Hers are the bluest-of-blue-collared people with whom we avoid eye contact if we notice them at all. And if we do notice, we look quickly away, likely without any curiosity. She uses our stereotypes of the underclass to introduce us to her stories and then smacks us down with brilliant characterizations. Unlike a previous reviewer, I think it is absolutely essential that her settings are British and that she doesn't always provide a regional thesaurus for our ease of comprehension. In fact, there isn't any pandering to the audience in any of Mina's books; she seems to write for herself without a shred of coyness or trickery and if she catches us unawares, it may be because we weren't paying attention.

In "Field of Blood", Mina uses a sensational true murder as her departure point: In 1993, two 10-year-old boys murdered a toddler in Liverpool and the resulting trial was predictably sensational, even by British standards. In her similar story, Mina delves into the background of not only the boys and their families but also the community from which they arose. Our guide is Paddy Nelson, the new copygirl at the Scottish Daily News who has visions of a life as a tough, incisive reporter but a reality that is much drearier, even in its complexity. The story weaves through the official investigation, Paddy's hit-and-miss investigation, and Paddy's fractured personal life. Perhaps this would be a good time to mention that I was initially repulsed but then truly captivated by the slobby, sophomoric girl who grew and matured over the course of the book.
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