Customer Review

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.
Help other customers find the most helpful reviews 
Was this review helpful to you? Yes No

Be the first person to comment on this review.

[Add comment]
Post a comment
To insert a product link use the format: [[ASIN:ASIN product-title]] (What's this?)
Amazon will display this name with all your submissions, including reviews and discussion posts. (Learn more)
This badge will be assigned to you and will appear along with your name.
There was an error. Please try again.
Please see the full guidelines ">here.

Official Comment

As a representative of this product you can post one Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
The following name and badge will be shown with this comment:
 (edit name)
After clicking on the Post button you will be asked to create your public name, which will be shown with all your contributions.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.  Learn more
Otherwise, you can still post a regular comment on this review.

Is this your product?

If you are the author, artist, manufacturer or an official representative of this product, you can post an Official Comment on this review. It will appear immediately below the review wherever it is displayed.   Learn more
System timed out

We were unable to verify whether you represent the product. Please try again later, or retry now. Otherwise you can post a regular comment.

Since you previously posted an Official Comment, this comment will appear in the comment section below. You also have the option to edit your Official Comment.   Learn more
The maximum number of Official Comments have been posted. This comment will appear in the comment section below.   Learn more
Prompts for sign-in

Review Details