Learn more Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn More Shop now Learn more Click Here Shop Kindle Amazon Music Unlimited for Family Shop now Shop Women's Shop Men's



on 20 August 2017
Good continuation of series. Not as exciting as first in series. But still good. Character of Paddy well explored. Will read next one.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 22 August 2017
Good. Paddy is moving on with her life. A good tale overall full of domestic concerns as well as crime and violence.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 11 July 2010
Glasgow's own Denise Mina, whose latest book is "The Dead Hour," is one of the hottest new stars in the galaxy of "Tartan Noir." That is, mysteries as currently written by several Scots. More ferocious and bloodthirsty than most, sporting that black Scottish sense of humor, macabre and sly.

"The Dead Hour" again stars Paddy Meehan, who was introduced in The Field of Blood. It's still the 1980's, Margaret Thatcher's bleak regime. Paddy is still working at the "Scottish Daily News," but has been promoted from copyboy. She's now a reporter, 21 years old, last and least of the pack, who'd better get herself some ink soon. Or else. She's still Catholic, fat, poorly dressed and sporting a spikey hairdo: the girl really can't trade on her looks. She's trying to succeed in a rough and tumble environment. Her coworkers are Protestant, sexist, hard-drinking, hard-bitten older men, sprung from the working class, as is she. But, although Paddy isn't particularly well-educated, she's smart, insightful and conscientious. She has her instincts and intuitions. And she is, in fact, determined to stand on her own two feet, at the job and in her world. She'd better, as her father and brothers have been laid off, and she's now sole support of her family.

Paddy, least senior reporter, is on the night shift, assigned to chase the police radio wherever it takes her as "The Dead Hour" opens. One night, the radio takes her to a prosperous suburb on a domestic violence call. Two BMWs are parked behind the house. There's a bloody-faced woman visible inside: she doesn't seem to want any help. And there's a handsome, pleasant, well-dressed man at the door: he doesn't want any help either. He gives Paddy a 50 pound note to go away quietly. We're to assume he bribed the cops as well. By next day, the woman has been tortured and murdered. A little preliminary investigation tells Paddy that the cops on call with her seem to have been at a different crime scene. Thus is the plot set in motion. That 50 pound note would do a lot of good at Paddy's house, but she shouldn't have taken it.

Unfortunately, I didn't find the unfolding plot very rewarding. It all devolves into that old devil ruthless drug dealer with friends in high places. And Mina continues that distracting subplot from "Field of Blood."

The element of "The Dead Hour" that I found most appealing is its two pair of sisters. Paddy and Mary Ann, who seems to be bound for the convent. The victim, Vhari Burnett, prominent attorney, and Kate, beautiful cokehead.

Mina continues to use Glasgow as her setting, catching it on the page. As "They were cruising along empty roads to the south bank of the Clyde where a body had been seen floating in the fast-moving water. A cold mist began to descend on the midnight city, a stagnant exhalation that clung to the tops of passing cars. Yellow street lights jostled hard against the thickening dark."

Mina's also still got that old black magic, that audacious sense of humor. Coke addict Kate kills a man with an everyday object never used before in this way, I swear. Then Kate finds cocaine has leveled her nose, as it will. "She took a deep breath and looked in the mirror. Her nose had flattened at the bridge. A glacial deposit of scarlet and white skin sat on her top lid, dried and hard. She prodded it with a fingertip. Solid. No wonder she couldn't sniff or breathe out of her nose. She turned sideways and looked at her profile. Flat as a wall. She took a deep breath and squared her shoulders. She'd get a nose job later, when things got ironed out. They could do amazing things now."

At one point, Mina writes," Paddy felt the pull of the town and really wanted to go to work, wondering what her city was throwing up tonight." Many of us would really like Mina to keep working. We too wonder what her city will throw up tonight.
0Comment| 5 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 9 June 2013
love all books paddy Meehan is a great and sometimes funny great to read about Glasgow and all the places I remember as a child.
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 16 August 2009
I enjoyed this book enormously. It has taken me a while to get round to Denise Mina and this is the first book of hers that I have read. It certainly won't be the last.

For those unfamiliar with Mina's work, the book is set in Glasgow in 1984 and the time and place are extremely well evoked without ever being intrusive, which gives a real solidity to the book. Another of its great strengths is the believable and well-drawn characters. In particular, the main protagonist, a young, struggling woman journalist called Paddy Meehan, is very well portrayed. She is an ordinary young woman from a poor background, slightly insecure and worried about her weight. She has no spectacular character traits or flaws to make her "interesting" nor does she have a particularly Complicated Personal Life - just the normal situations one might expect her to have to deal with - and yet she is a very engaging and interesting character. I thought her a really excellent creation by Mina, and the other characters are similarly well drawn and plausible.

Meehan works the night shift, and Mina creates a fine "film noir" atmosphere throughout the book. The plot is gripping and (praise be!) both plausible and comprehensible, and the narrative is well constructed, well written and entertaining. It builds the tension very nicely and I was completely enthralled. All in all, this is one of the best crime novels - indeed one of the best novels - I have read for some time. Very warmly recommended.
0Comment| 17 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 13 January 2010
I read the first two Paddy Meehan stories with enjoyment and looked forward to this, the third and last installment of the young Glaswegian journalist's encounters with crime. It was a disappointment. The right elements seem to be there: couthy Scots characters, a murder in chapter one, a subplot involving Paddy's ex-fiance, humour on the right side of dark - all present and correct. Somehow it doesn't hang together this time.

Let's start with Paddy herself. The character has developed from a young girl at the beginning of her career and hungry for success, to an established hack with a regular column in a substantial daily newspaper. There's the first problem. Paddy Meehan has turned into someone I would cross the street to avoid: a journalist paid for her scathing opinions and turn of phrase - a Caledonian Julie Burchill if you like. And success for Meehan means much of the tension drains away. True she has a young son to support and her love life is still far from ideal, but now she's well paid and respected, it's hard to root for her in the same way as before. And it means that her sharp tongue and wrong headedness become irritating instead of refreshing.

Then there's the plot. An old boyfriend of Paddy's is murdered. He leaves her the contents of his flat. Of course, the reason for the murder forms part of those contents, but instead of torching the place, like any sensible criminal would, the killer decides to go after Paddy. I'm tired of plots which make people do daft things for the convenience of the story. Worse still is the subplot about a young cousin of Meehan's ex, convicted of murdering a child (think James Bulger here) and about to be released into the care of said ex. What? Pardon? This guy would last two minutes on the outside before the lynch mob came calling and yet the authorities make no attempt to hide his identity or whereabouts. Again, it's a case of twisting reality to fit the plot and like a shoe that doesn't fit, there's a limit to how long I can wear this stuff.

I put it aside half finished and can only hope the next Mina is better.
0Comment| 14 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 18 May 2014
The first two Paddy Meehan books were excellent and set a very high standard - a standard that this book fails to maintain unfortunately, but it's still a decent read.

The first two books were realistic and believeable and you cared about Paddy. This book has a nonsense plot (it would have been sorted at source in US by taking camera) and falls into so many cliches - a renegade IRA man, shadowy and unexplained secret service, a corrupt senior policeman that no-one exposes, dead bodies disappearing, a mother that will do anything to protect her son (yawn), a pathologist who strikes up an immediate friendship during a corpse identification to give a piece of plot development and then is never mentioned again, and so on. As soon as the young priest was mentioned it was obvious that yet another cliche was going to be used - and this was the most disappointing one of all.

However, it is still a decent read and keeps the attention. It was interesting to see what happened the characters from the earlier books and the continuity and interlinking of the previous books was good.

The ending was particularly disappointing and very similar to the previous book - just how many times can Paddy be involved in similar incidents?

I hope there will be another book to continue Paddy's journey - but back to original standard please.
0Comment| One person found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 11 April 2010
"The Last Breath," (2007) is third in the British reckoning of the Paddy Meehan series of British mysteries, what Americans call Slip of the Knife. It follows 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.

"Last Breath," 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. Until the police suddenly notify her that her old beau/friend/colleague/newspaper rival Terry Hewitt has been brutally murdered, in an execution style that hints of the Irish Republican Army, who have not been previously active in Scotland. Hardened crime reporter that she has been, Meehan begins investigating. At the same time, Callum Ogilvy, cousin of a former beau of Paddy's, who has been and is a close family friend, is to be released from prison. Newspapers are agog. Callum has had the misfortune of becoming internationally famous as the result of the notorious case that forms the core of "Field." Two young boys, of nine and ten, have tortured and beaten a toddler to death. (Mina has based this on a distressing well-known true case: the 1990s murder, in Liverpool, England, of little Jamie Bulgar.)

Once again, the author manages to steer her tales to reasonably happy endings, telling them with verve and skill, in the somewhat dark and violent way that "tartan noir" predicts. She also perpetuates the Lord Byron festival in which I have recently found myself living, by quoting his description of their mutual home country as a "Land of Sophistry and Mist." But this time out, she's really just giving us a mystery. And mystery lovers could do a lot worse. Any darkness is well-flavored with Mina's outstanding love for and knowledge of her city, and dry wit.

She once again sets her scene, letting us know how well the city has cleaned up: "For a century Glasgow had been a byword for deprivation and knife-wielding teenage gangs but in the past few years the thick coat of black soot had been sandblasted off the old buildings, revealing their pale yellow sandstone that glittered in the sun, or blood orange stone that clashed with blue skies. International theater companies and artists had started coming to the city, colonizing unlikely venues, old churches, schools, markets and abandoned sheds, places the locals failed to notice every day. Glaswegians no longer felt as defensive of their home, began to look around with renewed interest, like a partner in a stale marriage finding out that their spouse was a heartthrob abroad."
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
#1 HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWERon 24 July 2016
I enjoyed this book enormously. It has taken me a while to get round to Denise Mina and this is the first book of hers that I have read. It certainly won't be the last.

For those unfamiliar with Mina's work, the book is set in Glasgow in 1984 and the time and place are extremely well evoked without ever being intrusive, which gives a real solidity to the book. Another of its great strengths is the believable and well-drawn characters. In particular, the main protagonist, a young, struggling woman journalist called Paddy Meehan, is very well portrayed. She is an ordinary young woman from a poor background, slightly insecure and worried about her weight. She has no spectacular character traits or flaws to make her "interesting" nor does she have a particularly Complicated Personal Life - just the normal situations one might expect her to have to deal with - and yet she is a very engaging and interesting character. I thought her a really excellent creation by Mina, and the other characters are similarly well drawn and plausible.

Meehan works the night shift, and Mina creates a fine "film noir" atmosphere throughout the book. The plot is gripping and (praise be!) both plausible and comprehensible, and the narrative is well constructed, well written and entertaining. It builds the tension very nicely and I was completely enthralled. All in all, this is one of the best crime novels - indeed one of the best novels - I have read for some time. Very warmly recommended.
22 Comments|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 17 July 2016
I really enjoyed the first book in the Paddy Mehan trilogy: The Field of Blood and the slightly overweight, under confident trainee journalist in the sexist environment of the news room in 1980s Glasgow really got under my skin. Denise Mina has come up with an incredibly appealing combination of a thriller mixed with a hint of nostalgia at a particular time in history when everything was changing.

The Dead Hour is set about three years later and Paddy riding in the ‘night call car’, the one that follows the police radio around the city looking for newsworthy stories when they are called to one of the better areas in Glasgow. It seems to be a case of domestic violence, one that the attending police officers aren’t too interested in and despite being disturbed by the woman’s appearance there isn’t a great deal to call in about this on, and well the woman didn’t want Paddy’s help and the man had pressed a £50 note into her hand which Paddy hasn’t declared… until the next morning when a woman’s body is discovered. She was murdered; brutally beaten, tortured and left to die, Paddy has to readjust what she saw against this new knowledge.

What follows is a well-timed mystery set against the back-drop of this Scottish city largely struggling with poverty. Paddy is the only wage earner in her household, and the family’s position looks more precarious when the newspaper is forced to make cuts to the workforce. With office intrigue, a personal life that is over-shadowed by her Catholic upbringing and a fierce ambition which is at odds with society’s ideas of what should be important to a young woman.

I loved the 37 short chapters that move the story along at a pace which simply begged for just another one before I closed the book and although the underlying storyline wasn’t quite as compulsive as the previous one, there was never any doubt that this was a story being told by an assured writer. There are plenty of opportunities for Paddy to put in her black throwaway lines that make these books such a joy to read.

“It was Lord of the Flies without table manners.”

And of course there is plenty of references to the eighties, that decade of superb fashion:

“Paddy saw short ra-ra skirts and ski-pants and nipped waists. It was a bad time for big girls.”

But running through the book is the scourge of drugs, a less welcome aspect of the decade which is possibly why I didn’t enjoy this story quite so much. Reading about drug dealers and their petty rivalries and the effects on those who fall under their spell just isn’t really my cup of tea, although I’m sure that Denise Mina has accurately captured them in all their glory as she has done with the local police who have a whiff of corruption surrounding them.

“You’re only a year older than me. How come you dress like Val Doonican?”
He sat back and smiled at her, pulling his V-neck straight. It wasn’t his usual toothy matinee-idol smile but a coy asymmetric face crumple. “I’m a polis. This gear is cool in the polis.”

As this book ends on a bombshell, there is no doubt in my mind that I will be reading the last episode of this trilogy, The Last Breath, in the not too distant future and I can tell you I big plans to investigate the entire back-catalogue of work. After all if I can be captivated by a book that focusses on my least favourite aspect of crime I know for sure that this is one author that will be forever on my watch list!
0Comment|Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse

Questions? Get fast answers from reviewers

Please make sure that you've entered a valid question. You can edit your question or post anyway.
Please enter a question.


Need customer service? Click here

Sponsored Links

  (What is this?)