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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mina's trademark investigative thriller…
Two Paddy Meehan 's are the central protagonists in Field of Blood and although they both live in different times, they are inextricably linked, even though they never actually cross paths. Alternating between 1969 and 1981, author Denise Mina skillfully tells the story of Soviet spy Paddy Meehan who was wrongly convicted of murder. Paddy's trial and subsequent...
Published on 10 Nov 2005

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing special
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...
Published on 7 Feb 2012 by Bookwoman


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Nothing special, 7 Feb 2012
By 
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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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Mina's trademark investigative thriller…, 10 Nov 2005
This review is from: The Field Of Blood (Hardcover)
Two Paddy Meehan 's are the central protagonists in Field of Blood and although they both live in different times, they are inextricably linked, even though they never actually cross paths. Alternating between 1969 and 1981, author Denise Mina skillfully tells the story of Soviet spy Paddy Meehan who was wrongly convicted of murder. Paddy's trial and subsequent incarceration sent shockwaves through Scotland.
In 1981, Patricia "Paddy" Meehan is working as a copygirl at the Scottish Daily News, much to the chagrin of her Catholic working class parents and Sean, her fiancé, who scorns her ambition and mocks her desire for feminine independence. Indeed, Paddy hopes someday to become a journalist; she's overjoyed to be working with some of the hottest reporters in Scotland, even if they are misogynists.
The chubby young neophyte finds it hard to fit in with the newsroom boys; they're hard drinking, hard cussing men, who pick on her for being overweight, and who spend most of their time hanging out in the local press bar. Paddy's constantly jealous of her coworker Heather, who is thin and blond and college educated; Heather simultaneously strikes the admiration and fear in all of the men.
The chance opportunity to ride along with law enforcement puts Paddy in close proximity to one of the paper’s biggest stories, the murder of three-year-old Brian Wilcox, his body found beaten to death near the local train station. Brian's murder sends shockwaves through the community and even raised eyebrows within the jaded newsroom. When Paddy learns of a previously unknown personal connection to the case – one of the accused is actually Sean's cousin - she takes this chance of confiding what she knows to Heather to gain status in the office.
Heather, however, is not to be trusted, and publishes the story under her own name. Consequently, Paddy loses the trust of her own family, who blame her for the news report. Becoming an outcast, she wonders the snowy, rain soaked streets, becoming ever more obsessed with the crime, even her beloved Sean will have nothing more to do with her.
Faced with a police force that ignores and refutes her newfound evidence, our intrepid protagonist, pushes on with the case, sure that the elements are there, even when her unpracticed mind can't seem to tease sense into them. As Paddy's investigation unfolds, so do her diet of hard-boiled eggs, her engagement to Sean, and her sense of security and safety.
Author, Denise Mina ambitiously describes her beloved Scotland, painting a realistic picture of a working-class landscape that’s gray, bleak and solemn, yet also remarkably vivid. This is the early 1980's when Scotland's Catholic-Protestant conflicts are taking place and when Northern England is reeling under Margaret Thatcher's new economic policies. Old factories are closing, and the old ways of deep religious conservatism are starting to give way.
Even Paddy admits that everyone she knew who had suffered a terrible tragedy in his or her life offered it up to Jesus; and she admits that she's had enough of this. Paddy yearns to be surrounded by helping hands that would encourage her ambitions instead of being afraid of them.
Part murder investigation and part diatribe on newspaper and media politics, Field of Blood manages to be a taut thriller, with the pace of the novel remaining constant throughout. There's a slow building toward the inevitable, a perfectly executed finale, as Paddy investigates in all the wrong places, and makes some savage enemies along the way.
Although it reads like a thriller, Field of Blood is also a finely wrought tale of a single-minded and determined young girl who seeks to make an independent life for herself, hoping to break away from the stifling misogyny and working class conservatism that surrounds her. Mike Leonard November 05.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absorbing and compulsive, 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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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars an uncanny comparison, 21 Feb 2006
By A Customer
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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4.0 out of 5 stars A good read where fact and fiction collide!, 17 Jun 2011
By 
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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4.0 out of 5 stars Meet Paddy Meehan; She Might Not Know It, But She's Going to Go Far, 11 July 2010
By 
Stephanie De Pue (Wilmington, NC USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
"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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4.0 out of 5 stars Two for the price of one, 19 Sep 2008
By 
Michael Watson "skirrow22" (Halifax, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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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4.0 out of 5 stars One Paddy Meehan too many, 5 Jan 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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14 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Field of Blood, Denise Mina, 27 April 2005
By 
RachelWalker "RachelW" (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Field Of Blood (Hardcover)
As much a fan of Mina as I am (the Garnethill trilogy is excellent, especially Resolution), this new venture did not wholly live up to my expectations, and I don't really know why. Maybe it's because, as a journalist, Paddy Meehan is too distanced from the actual crime to make it fully engaging and immediate, coupled with the fact that the secondary real-life Paddy Meehan story seems, most of the time, entirely irrelevant and adds nothing much to the main plot at all. Indeed, I got quite annoyed by it and was SO very tempted to skip it entirely. I get the sense that Mina just really wanted to write about it, so did, whereas in fact the book would survive perfectly well with it.
That said, it's still a very good crime novel. 18-year-old Paddy Meehan is an excellent character, a slightly naive and confused young lady, rather struggling with the world, its expectations of her and her expectations of it, not to mention her deeply Catholic family. Her ambitions clearly don't sit comfortably with the mould tradition would deem Paddy grow into. Mina's evocation of 80's Glasgow is absolutely excellent (really - it's superb), and life at the Daily News is really brought to life. It's a very atmospheric and effective writing piece of writing in this sense, a claustrophobic and sometimes dark piece.
However, it's not as good a book as it could be, which is the problem. Mina spends SO much time on Paddy Meehan that the plot suffers, and seems to be more in the background than it should. Because of this I never felt as interested in it as I should be, because Mina's own concerns clearly lie elsewhere. And I SHOULD have been very interested in it: two young boys killing a toddler should really grab my attention and not let go.
Nonetheless, Paddy and her concerns and conflicts (internal and external) were enough to keep me reading, and the resolution of the crime itself is indeed very satisfying and surprising. Basically, it's a good book, written as adeptly as Mina's shown herself capacle of. But there's just a slight bitter disappointment that it's not as good as it really, really could have been.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Minority detective in culture clash, 28 Nov 2007
By 
Dr. J. Baird - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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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