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Slip of the Knife [Hardcover]

Denise Mina
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 340 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1st North American Ed edition (13 Feb 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 031601558X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316015585
  • Product Dimensions: 2.9 x 15.6 x 23.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,021,591 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, her family moved twenty-one times in eighteen years from Paris to the Hague, London, Scotland and Bergen. After leaving school at sixteen and a run of poorly paid jobs, she went on to study Law at Glasgow University and researched a PhD thesis at Strathclyde.

Misusing her grant, she stayed at home and wrote her first novel, Garnethill, which was published in 1998 and won the Crime Writers' Association John Creasy Dagger for best first crime novel.

Since 1998 she has written seven further novels, including most recently, Still Midnight. She also writes comics and in 2006 wrote her first play, 'Ida Tamson'. As well as all of this she writes short stories and is a regular contributor to TV and radio.

Author photo (c) Colin McPherson

Product Description


When an ex-boyfriend and fellow journalist is found murdered, reporter Paddy Meehan is shocked to learn that the victim has left her his home, where she discovers suitcases filled with incriminating notes.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
By Ariane5
This is "The Last Breath", with a different name. I hate when retailers sell both the UK and US versions of a book, under different titles, often with different blurb and they don't tell you. Which is why I've written this! If already have "The Last Breath", you don't need this.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thank you 22 Oct 2008
Only wanted to say 'thank you' to Ariane5 for pointing out that this book is actually The Last Breath - which I have just finished reading. Could Amazon themselves point out (preferably right beside the US title) what it has been sold as in the UK? Many people who enjoy a particular author will buy their next book without reading reviews.
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5.0 out of 5 stars I LOVE Denise Mina 18 May 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ms Mina writes crime stories that are way more than just crime stories. These are multi-layered tales of Glasgow: the politics, the class structures, the religious influences....and when Paddy Meehan is her leading lady, she also explores the decline of traditional journalism, complex relationships and the way that women perceive themselves in society. Denise Mina writes for intelligent readers...be warned!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mystery Lovers: You Could Do Worse 11 April 2010
By Stephanie De Pue TOP 1000 REVIEWER
"Slip of the Knife," (2007) is third in the Paddy Meehan series of British mysteries, following on The Field of Blood; (2005), and The Dead Hour (2006), by increasingly well-known Scottish-born author Denise Mina. She must now be considered a leading practitioner, in company with Ian Rankin and Val McDermid, of the Scottish crime writing school that has come to be known as "tartan noir," for its high level of violence, sheer bloody-mindedness, and grisly, witty humor. Mina burst on the scene with her debut novel, Garnethill that won the John Creasey Memorial Award; she was born in the vicinity of Glasgow, where all her novels have so far been set. As a child, her father's work took her all over the world: she has since, since her return to that city, worked in the field of health care, studied law at the University of Glasgow, and taught criminal law and criminology.

"Slip," as all of Mina's production so far, is set in Glasgow, her home town, in 1990. It picks up the story of Patricia (Paddy) Meehan, erstwhile girl reporter, now successful, locally famous girl columnist in the shrinking newspaper business. She drinks too much, eats too much unhealthy food, and is unable to give up smoking: that just makes her a Scot, along with her countrymen. But she's doing fine, has a son, Pete, and a loving roommate/friend, Dub, some family troubles.
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Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  42 reviews
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Glasgow grit and a mother's love 27 Feb 2008
By Lynn Harnett - Published on Amazon.com
I have only one complaint about Scottish author Mina's terrific Paddy Meehan series - her heroine is getting older way too fast.

In her first appearance, "Field of Blood," set in 1981, Paddy is an ambitious, working class, insecure teenage copy-boy at the "Daily News;" in "The Dead Hour, three years later, she's a 21-year-old rookie reporter.

Now, in her third appearance, it's 1990, she's a successful and controversial columnist and the single mother of a five year old boy, Pete. She's still independent, prickly and self-conscious about her weight, but now she's the one pushing aside the rookies.

Mina sets her stories in the ugly thicket of sectarian conflict between Catholic (Irish) and protestant, which is nearly as volatile in Glasgow as in Northern Ireland. Though Paddy's background is as Irish and Catholic as they come, she has never been a believer and aligns herself strictly on the side of justice.

The story opens with the murder of an old boyfriend - and former mentor and colleague - Terry Hewitt. Terry, middle class, educated, and coolly confident, had left the paper to become a hotshot foreign correspondent. Now, found naked in a ditch, shot through the head, Terry's murder has the hallmarks of an IRA hit.

Though things ended rather badly with Terry, he has named her as his executor and left her a crumbling house in a smart area. As the story proceeds and Paddy delves into his life and work, she begins to understand Terry's defensive personality in a way that was beyond her as a young girl. As her sympathy grows, so do her suspicions.

As the number of deaths mount and Paddy's son is threatened, her determination grows in proportion with her fear. As always Mina is subtle, developing the grit and politics of the city and her characters along with the mystery. She perfectly captures the thrill and desperation of a mother's love, Paddy's growing comfort with herself, the anguish and joy of her family ties, and the roil and backbiting of her professional life.

Though it's not necessary to read the Paddy Meehan novels in order, Mina's character development is so nuanced and thoughtful that it enhances the enjoyment to start at the beginning.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gritty, gripping new Paddy Meehan novel 2 April 2008
By Gloria Feit - Published on Amazon.com
Denise Mina's newest book opens with the shocking murder of Terry Hewitt, former boyfriend of her protagonist, Paddy Meehan. They had known each other since they were both in their teens, eleven years ago, but it had been six months since they had seen each other. Paddy is now 27, and has graduated from her lowly position at the Daily News to her present celebrity status with a regular column of her own, in addition to being a published author. Terry, in turn, had just signed a book deal of his own, and Paddy is told by the police that his killing "had all the hallmarks of an IRA hit...his body found stripped naked in a ditch, single shot to the head." He had been a journalist as well, later "went to war zones, conflict zones, did hard reporting on a world stage...the last of a dying breed...had witnessed corruption and brutality, women raped and murdered, children mutilated, whole villages put to the torch...a fifteen-year-old Angolan boy, shot between the eyes right in front of him." But in the moments before he is killed, after thinking that he "had been arrested in Chile, seen a woman necklaced in Soweto, stood on the edge of a riot in Port-au-Prince," he has no idea why he is about to be murdered on a road on the outskirts of Glasgow, Scotland.

In many respects Paddy has changed little over the years since she first appeared in Ms. Mina's books, of which this is the third: She still hates her appearance, believing she is too fat; still feels she has to prove herself to the misogynistic men around her; though she attends Mass, she still rebels against her family's Catholicism--her sister is a nun, "wasn't even prepared to take communion and had had a child out of wedlock," a son, Pete, now nearly six years old, who she adores. When she is told by the police that Terry had listed her as his next of kin, with her new address that she didn't even realize he had known, she has no choice. When the effects of that investigation threaten not only Paddy but her son as well, the stakes are raised all the way around.

A parallel story line deals with the release after nine years in prison of young Callum Ogilvy, who with another boy had been found guilty of the brutal murder of a toddler, following Paddy's investigation - she had been engaged to Callum's cousin, Sean - described in an earlier book.

Ms. Mina's descriptions conjure up her characters precisely, e.g., someone's wife is "blond, tall, and so thin she could have opened letters with her chin;" in a photo she sees "a woman of eighty, arms crossed, grinning, the folds in her skin deep enough to lose change in;" and, of her editor: "Nature, time and his temperament had conspired to perfect McVie's glower. His face and posture fitted around misery as neatly as cellophane over a cup." The author maintains an undercurrent of menace. Paddy is a gutsy, slightly vulgar and very human protagonist, the characters and the setting very well drawn, the writing and the story taut with a hold-your-breath quality. Highly recommended.
16 of 20 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A bit of a disappointment... 18 Feb 2008
By Tracy L. - Published on Amazon.com
I've read all of Denise Mina's books and believe she's one of the best mystery writers out there. She's the kind of writer Karin Slaughter wishes she could be. But, I have to say I was somewhat disappointed in SLIP OF THE KNIFE.

I think one of the problems with this book is that too much time has passed in between the last book in the series and this one. At the end of THE DEAD HOUR we find out that Paddy is pregnant. As SOTK begins, we find that her son Pete is approaching six years old. In TDH, Paddy still has a supreme lack of confidence. Here, she's a tough as nails, respected journalist that already has one book to her credit. The gap of time between the two books left me feeling somewhat lacking.

Also, I admit I had a difficult time following the story. I was two-thirds of the way through the book when it finally occurred to me what was going on. Although I never felt like giving up, it made for a slow read. The amount of Scottish dialect in the book didn't help matters, but I recognize that was my own difficulty and should not be interpreted as a complaint against the author.

Still, a sub-par Denise Mina book is better than most. A reluctant 3-star review for this one.
12 of 15 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars "Hope was the assassin's accomplice." 3 Feb 2008
By Luan Gaines - Published on Amazon.com
A successful Glasgow journalist for the Daily News, Paddy Meehan is the unmarried mother of a son, Pete, daughter of a strict Catholic family and overweight, pleased with the direction her life has taken of late. Paddy has few regrets, save the loss of a long relationship with fellow journalist Terry Hewitt; but when Terry's nude body is found in Glasgow, a bullet in his head, execution style, Paddy is shocked, dismayed to find herself the recipient of all of Terry's worldly goods. Recently traveling the world as a correspondent, Terry has been to the dark side, but why he should be murdered is a mystery, despite the suggestion that it is an IRA hit. Approached by a cold-eyed man who reeks of threat, Paddy's first instinct is to protect herself and her son, her second to learn the identity of the stranger and the part he plays in this eerie drama.

Clearly, Paddy Meehan has grown into a larger-than-life personality, her quirky predilections as charming and unpretentious as ever. But in her latest incarnation, Paddy's plate is full: the responsibility and blind love of motherhood; the release of baby killer Callum Ogilvy, himself only a child when imprisoned; Paddy's sister, Mary Ann's moment of reckoning with her vocation; the unfinished business of the original Paddy Meehan, who spent years paying for a crime from which he was later exonerated; a new love interest, flat-mate Dub; and the shocking murders of Terry Hewitt and his photographer friend, Kevin Hatcher.

It is the menace behind the killings that overshadows everything else, delivering violence to Paddy's doorstep, threatening the safety of her child. Wild to protect five-year-old Pete, Paddy is driven to extremes, willing to do anything to stand between her son and harm. And with her usual deftness, Mina manipulates all of the issues confronting her spunky protagonist, weaving disparate threads into a complicated web that brings Paddy closer to the edge of the acceptable than ever before. Motherhood has changed this ambitious young journalist, eliciting a vulnerability that is both unnerving and affecting. Walking straight into the lion's den, Paddy invades the male-only drinking spot of old guard IRA members, their natural hostility untempered by age.

While the police and a competing reporter look elsewhere, Paddy follows her gut instinct in search of Terry's killer, the man's cold eyes burned into her consciousness. In a surprising twist, Paddy is challenged by the past in the form of Callum Ogilvy, the press snapping at his heels. It is Callum's dilemma, in a changed environment, that brings Paddy to the precipice, weighing the future safety of her son against an assassin's determination. A fateful and shocking denouement delivers Paddy into another dimension, as irrevocable as Terry's death. Luan Gaines/ 2008.
6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars How far would you go? 15 Mar 2008
By K. L. Cotugno - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is the third book in a series, and the first two (FIELD OF BLOOD and THE DEAD HOUR) really need to be read to get the full flavor of Paddy Meehan's story. Her situation has changed since her last appearance. She is better off financially, and now has a 5-year old son, and that fact fuels everything for her. The earlier Thatcher-era setting was more definitively used in the earlier books. But motherhood has intervened, and all bets are off. Mina crafts a fine mystery and adds nuanced psychological under- and over-tones with both parts of this well written novel. Her former protagonist in the Garnet Hill Trilogy only had three books to examine her life. Let's hope that Mina doesn't limit Paddy Meehan to a trilogy, but continues -- her character is too fascinating not to followup on.
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