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3.7 out of 5 stars
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 25 April 2006
I loved this book and can't wait for the future installments. I found it totally compulsive to read and was forever sneaking a page here and there when supposedly doing other things like the dishes - wife not impressed. To those who say the 'real' Paddy Meehan story spoils it, I say it couldn't be further from the truth, it enhances this novel. I had never heard of Paddy Meehan before but Field of Blood inspired me to find out more about him. Her telling of his story strays very little from the truth which makes it even more interesting. As to the main tale, Mina's Paddy Meehan is a wonderful character who i felt very sympathetic towards. All I would say is read this book, you will not be disappointed and thank you Denise for following up Garnethill with another wonderful novel.
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on 7 February 2012
Much as I feel I should agree with Ian Rankin, who (according to the blurb) thinks that Denise Mina is 'one of the most exciting writers to have emerged in Britain for years', I'm afraid that this book just didn't do it for me.
But if you like crime novels that are all about what the investigator is thinking and doing rather than the crime itself, then you might like this.
Set in the early 1980s, it's the story of Patricia 'Paddy' Meehan, a lowly 'copyboy' and aspiring reporter on the Glasgow Daily News, who decides to investigate when two young boys are charged with the kidnap and murder of a toddler (the parallels with the Jamie Bulger case are shameless).
Mina is good at conjuring up the dour and dirty streets of 80s Glasgow, the smothering atmosphere of a working class Catholic community, and a typically sexist, alcohol-soaked newsroom of the time.
But as this is a crime novel without much to solve (it's an obvious villain) it all rests on the shoulders of young Paddy, and that was this book's main problem for me. I neither liked her nor found her to be very convincing. We're constantly being reminded of her insecurities (she tells us how fat she is on nearly every page) so all those smart remarks she manages to deliver sound very unlikely. There are far too many repetitive scenes with her boyfriend and family, talking about Paddy and Paddy's problems, when I needed to know more about the crime and the suspects.
I also couldn't understand why the narrative is interrupted at random points to give us episodes in the life of the real Paddy Meehan, a career criminal wrongly jailed for murder and the subject of a miscarriage of justice campaign in the 1970s. Yes, they've got the same name, but it seemed both gimmicky and clunky. Why not just put in an appendix directing readers to the book written at the time by Ludovic Kennedy?
I like crime novels of the character-led, analytical sort, but they've got to have a much more interesting and credible protagonist than this. It's readable, and I'd try another one of these books (this is the first in a series) if I saw it in the library, but I didn't think that it was anything special.
I found the whole thing to be a little off, a little false, she was trying too hard. Once again I'm a bit bemused by a blurb's glowing reviews - 'touching, funny and truthful' - have I missed something?
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on 21 February 2006
I am half way through this book at the minute and am enjoying it enough to make me want to finish it.... depsite the amount of time Mina is spending on Meehan and NOT on the case!!
However, is it just me or is there an uncanny resemblence to the Bulger case of 1993? Does anyone know if this was Mina's intention? Surely there can't be so many similarities for her not to be basing her book on the James Bulger killing?!!!
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on 17 June 2011
Until recently I had'nt heard anything about this author or book but decided I would borrow it from the library this week and I have to say initially I did'nt think it was up to much but I was soon drawn into the plot and charcters.

The story itself is set in 1980's Glasgow and mainly centres around a teenager named Paddy Meehan who is a very driven young girl who's dream is to escape the Catholic ways of her family and be a Journalist. When news breaks about a missing toddler named Brian Wilcox the city is shocked and even more so when the police finally find Brian's body and discover his killers who turn out to be 2 young boys. At this point I will say that there are so many similarities (if not straight out copy-cat) between this tragedy and the murder of little James Bulger that it becomes almost impossible not to imagine his little face in place of baby Brian and I found myself projecting the image of his killers onto the boys in the story too, which made it all terrifyingly real but set the book back a little!

The thing that struck me most was the graphic and brutal account of what happened to baby Brian on the first few pages, I found this quite harrowing and difficult to read but when the chapter moved on I realised it was quite necessary to depict the emotion of it.

As Paddy learns more about the story she realises that someone close to her was involved but she knows is not quite as it seems so she sets out to prove that the boys did not act alone on this story making many enemies along the way, some rightfully some wrongfully.

It does make for an interesting read and being from Glasgow (although I am only 24) I found I could relate to a lot of the language and charecterisations throughtout the book but I also have t admit I had neer ever heard of 'The real Paddy Meehan' before this book. This again is a rather odd side line but it does break up the rather grim (but interesting) story with a few chapters here and there about his life and crimes and it does work with the story as it ties in with and proves the flawed and sometimes politically motivated justice system that the story speaks of so often.

Overall I thought it was a compelling story and will be looking out for more by Dina.
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on 28 November 2007
Mina tells a story well, as evidenced by her previous books. Here, she introduces a new character who will appear in a series. Paddy Meehan is not a detective, but an assistant in a newspaper, which allows the introduction of a character who is young, Catholic, female and working class to run up against several cultural themes from Glasgow in the 1980s. Those who see the discussion about the character as irrelevant miss the point in my view. Paddy appears before power dressing was invented, and it shows. I hope Mina continues to explore these themes in her books beyond this series.
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"Field of Blood," a British mystery, is penned by a fast-developing young writer Denise Mina, who has been enthusiastically welcomed into the tartan noir school of British mystery writing. And what's that? A mystery that's darker, more bloody and violent than the usual, lightened, now and then, with that dark Scottish sense of humor, praises be, and written, of course, by a Scot. At any rate, Mina here introduces us to a new detective, Paddy Meehan. A Glasgow native, and an ambitious young woman, as is her author, Meehan differs from her in some other, important ways: she just hasn't the best education, and you'd have to consider her fat. But she's smart, and determined to rise from copygirl at "The Scottish Daily News." That means taking on a mystery that nobody wants to touch. Two ten year old boys have tortured and killed a toddler: who wants to think of those implications? (This case, actually, is based on a similar, notorious, 1993 crime in Liverpool, England.)

So Meehan takes the case on, and it costs her, as its implications spread into her own, already troubled, personal world. The Glasgow presence is palpable; the life of the city is on every page. And the author has produced a harrowing, hard-driving book. Eventually, Paddy Meehan discovers the truth behind the mystery she's set herself to investigate, though it isn't the truth she wished to find.
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VINE VOICEon 19 September 2008
This is my first Denise Mina novel and my expectations were high when I noted the location - Glasgow - murder of a small child, an overweight would-be teenage investagative journalist and a back-drop of the real Paddy Meehan.

It is just as much the story, really, of the reality check the reporter - another Paddy Meehan - takes when her friend is murdered in mistake for her. That she doesn't realise this until about three-quarters of the way through the book is a little off-putting but probably shows up as much the naivete of the girl as it does her social fight with her own upbringing in a catholic Glasgow.

For me, there is just a little too much detail surrounding her day-to-day life which tends to slow down the pace. That she overcomes most (well, some) of the problems facing her means there are more stories to follow as 'Paddy' climbs the crime reporter's greasy pole. That this takes place, so far, in the 1980s is an interesting take on the modern thriller but it tends to lack the grittiness of MacBride's Logan or the absorbing stubbornness of Rankin's Rebus.

None the less, I'll be reading Paddy's next 'triumph' soon, I hope.
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on 5 January 2008
I enjoyed this book, but felt the story of the real Paddy Meehan was shoe-horned in and did not add anything positive to the novel. I found it odd that Mina skimmed over the nature of the crime in the story and was very thin on motivation etc, but was very detailed about all aspects of Meehan's life. The exploits of the young protagonist, the fictional Paddy Meehan, were enjoyable and Mina is very adept at describing Glasgow and Scottish traits.
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on 19 August 2006
I love Denise Mina's writing and this is the first in a new series which promises to be a cracker. Set in 80s Glasgow (when many still held values more akin to the 50s) it follows Paddy as she battles against the establishment, gender prejudice, her boyfriend, sectarianism, her own family and even seemingly random people she meets on the street to get to the truth of a truly brutal child murder.

A real gritty Scottish thriller which captures the period in which it is set perfectly. Brilliant for the beach or a rainy day!
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on 16 November 2008
I enjoyed this book, not quite as much as Mina's earlier works, but enough to want to go on to read the other Paddy Meehan books. It is a good yarn with good characterisations. I must take issue with other reviewers who felt the real Paddy Meehan story slowed the action and added nothing, and that there was too much detail about the life of Mina's Meehan. This book is about Miss Paddy Meehan, and without the detail, and the real Paddy Meehan background her reactions and feelings towards the last quarter of the book would have no context.
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