Field of Blood (Paddy Meehan Series #1)

Field of Blood (Paddy Meehan Series #1)

4.3 25
by Denise Mina
     
 

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The first in a new series by Scotland’s princess of crime, Denise Mina.

When the body of a four-year-old boy is found tortured and battered to death, it is assumed the child has been the victim of a vicious sexual predator. Instead the police are led, not to the house of an adult killer, but to the doors of two eleven-year-old boys.

Fresh from… See more details below

Overview

The first in a new series by Scotland’s princess of crime, Denise Mina.

When the body of a four-year-old boy is found tortured and battered to death, it is assumed the child has been the victim of a vicious sexual predator. Instead the police are led, not to the house of an adult killer, but to the doors of two eleven-year-old boys.

Fresh from school, Paddy Meehan has just started work on the Scottish Daily News. Determined to be an investigative journalist, she also wants to be financially independent. But her colleagues — hard-drinking chauvinists to a man — believe a woman’s place to be in the home, and preferably in the bedroom. And Paddy’s family too: all they want is for her to get married to her fiancé, Sean, and have children of her own. Then Paddy discovers that one of the boys charged with the child’s murder is Sean’s cousin, Callum. Soon Callum’s name is all over the News, and her family blames Paddy. Shunned by Sean and those closest to her, Paddy finds herself dangerously alone.

Set in Glasgow in 1981, a time of hunger strikes, riots and unemployment that decimate the old industrial heartlands, The Field of Blood is the first in a stunning new crime series featuring Paddy Meehan. Infused with Mina’s unique blend of dark humour, personal insights and the social injustices that pervade society, this is a novel that will grip the reader while challenging our perceptions of childhood innocence, crime and punishment, right or wrong.

Author Bio:Denise Mina has written extensively as an academic researcher on the medicalization of deviant women, and until recently she taught Criminology and Criminal Law. She is the author of Garnethill for which she won the John Creasey Award for best first crime novel in 1998. Her other novels are Exile, Resolution and Sanctum.

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Editorial Reviews

Janet Maslin
As Ms. Mina grippingly reveals the implications of these events, it's clear that she is something more than a crime writer. Like Dennis Lehane with Mystic River, she describes a close-knit, secretive community in a substantial novel that happens to be centered on a crime.
— The New York Times
Publishers Weekly
It's a pleasure to listen to O'Neill's lovely Scottish rhythms and accent narrating this alternately amusing and chilling mystery of the recent death of a three-year-old-a death intricately connected with a similar murder a decade earlier. O'Neill's diction is so clear that not a word is lost within her accent, and she easily differentiates the characters, youthful and elderly, male and female, Scottish and Irish. Though her squeaky, high-pitched voice for Paddy Meehan, our young protagonist, "copyboy" and aspiring journalist, is often irksome, she helps us empathize with Paddy's struggles with body-image, sexual yearnings, and her desire to make it in the male domains of the newsroom and the barroom. Paddy's small town near Glasgow, populated by Scottish Protestants and Irish Catholic immigrants, is fraught with political and religious tensions that complicate her life as much as the murder plot. The abridgment occasionally leaves listeners slightly puzzled, but all is satisfyingly resolved at the end of this psychologically complex tale of a girl seeking her identity and her values as a woman and would-be professional in relation to family, friends and community. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, May 9). (July) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
A bonny wean is brutally murdered in gritty Glasgow (a city where a bloke can earn himself a beating for flourishing an umbrella), and the guilty parties seem all too obvious-two children barely older than the victim. Paddy Meehan is working as a lowly gofer at the city newspaper and trying desperately to placate her multiple demons: her Catholic heritage, her ambition, her family's grinding poverty, and her weight. When she discovers that one of the alleged murderers is her fianc 's cousin, she starts her own investigation, using the name of a real reporter at the paper. When that reporter turns up dead, it's an open question if Paddy has bitten off more than even she can chew. The first volume in a promised, and promising, new series from Mina (Deception), this should earn her even more fans and cement her position as Glasgow's retort to other Scottish luminaries like Val McDermid and Ian Rankin. A thoroughly engaging read; suitable for all public libraries. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/05.]-Bob Lunn, Kansas City P.L., MO Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
It's 1981 when the murder of a three-year-old boy, based on the notorious James Bulger case, leads to another walk on Glasgow's wild side. Patricia Meehan is so shocked to find that one of the two boys arrested for the murder of little Brian Wilcox is her fiance Sean Ogilvy's cousin Callum that she blurts out the news to Heather Allen, an ambitious columnist at the Scottish Daily News, where Paddy works as a copyboy. Heather, who's everything Paddy isn't-thin, well-bred, college-educated-urges her to write a feature on the boy and his family and, when Paddy refuses, files the story herself. Now Paddy, already snubbed by her hard-drinking colleagues, gets a massive cold shoulder from her own family, convinced she's sold them out to advance her career. Paddy's only hope for what passes for redemption in Mina's brutal cityscape is to join forces with raffish reporter Terry Hewitt-the one who calls her a fat lassie-in looking more closely into a case everyone in town has already closed with a bang. As if her own investigation weren't dark enough, Mina (Deception, 2004, etc.) introduces a running counterpoint: the real-life case of Paddy's namesake, a burglar convicted in 1969 of murder despite his pleas of innocence and released only after seven years in a solitary confinement little more stifling than the Scottish Daily News. Mina is a ruthlessly accomplished surgeon of souls who can strip her living characters as bare as Patricia Cornwell does her corpses. Author tour
The Washington Post
Mina . . . has helped make Scotland a leading exporter of

world-class crime fiction.

BookPage
Mina's writing, her sense of place and social fabric and her keenly delineated characters surpass genre designation. This is more than crime fiction, and Heather O'Neill's intelligent performance with its authentic Scot's burr is a perfect match for it.
From the Publisher
The combination of Mina's skillful style and O'Neill's storytelling makes this . . . one of those hypnotizing audiobooks. . . .

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780316154581
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Publication date:
07/28/2006
Series:
Paddy Meehan Series, #1
Edition description:
Reprint
Pages:
456
Sales rank:
303,716
Product dimensions:
4.12(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.12(d)

Read an Excerpt

Field of Blood


By Denise Mina

Little, Brown

Copyright © 2005 Denise Mina
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-316-73593-0


Chapter One

They were still traveling, into the dark. They had been traveling for a long time, and in Brian's mind every inch of every step took him away from his mother, and She was all he wanted in the world.

He couldn't cry. They hurt him when he cried. He thought of Her, the softness of her breast, her fingers with the rings, how the world was warmer when she was there, and he struggled for breath, his bottom lip bumping noisily against his teeth. James, the boy sitting by his side, slapped him hard on the ear.

Surprised at the sharpness of the pain, Brian squealed and his mouth fell open. Callum, the boy on his other side, laughed at him.

"Don't be a crybaby," said James. "Yeah," said Callum. "Don't fucking cry."

They laughed together, leaving him out. Brian didn't cry. Brian thought about his tummy insides hurting and his sore foot, but he didn't cry. It was only when he thought about her that he cried; just when he remembered not being here, then he cried. Tears raced down his cheeks, but he breathed in, managing to keep quiet.

"You're a big baby," said James loudly.

"Aye," said Callum, showing his teeth, his eyes shiny. "You're a fucking big cunt baby."

The boys got excited, saying "cunt baby" over and over. Brian didn't like that word. He didn't know what it meant, but the sounds were jaggy. Certain he was going to sob and be hit, he covered his face with his spread-out hands and held his breath until his ears popped.

He couldn't hear the boys now. With them out of his thoughts he could remember her hands washing him, scooping soothing warm water that smelled of softness over him, picking him up to carry him, even though he was bigger, feeding him with bread dipped in hot mince gravy, with chips, with sweets from the ice-cream van. She tucked him into bed and left the hall light on and the door open and came to look at him throughout the night so he wouldn't ever be alone. She was with him, always around a corner, in another room.

They were leaving the light. There were no houses outside, just dark and mud. The door opened and James pushed Brian into the black void, toppling him over so he tumbled out and down, landing on his side. He tried to stand up but his ankle wouldn't work. Inside his Welly boot his foot was big, the rough cloth lining pressing against his skin. He fell over onto his shoulder and into the dark, outside the yellow fan of light at the door.

It was darker than he had ever seen, black like gravy, like smoke from toast, like bitter medicine for a cold. The ground was frozen into hard lumps. He heard wind and moving things, running things coming towards him, creeping things. A surge of panic gripped his chest as he used his good foot and both hands to drag himself back into the smudge of light from the van.

He saw the boys' shoes and felt sudden relief that he was not alone. They put their arms through his on either side and lifted him, trying to balance him on his feet, but he toppled to one side, grabbing at the frozen earth, struggling to keep his face near the light at least. The boys lifted him again, and again he fell.

Brian couldn't walk, his big foot wouldn't work, so the boys, huffing and puffing, dragged him backwards, over the edge of the world and down a steep hill. It was windy and dark, so dark at the bottom that Brian clung to James, holding tight onto the sleeve of his anorak, afraid that they would leave him. He couldn't stop himself and he began to cry, sounding loud because there was no telly and no wireless, nothing to cover his noise like there had been in the stranger's house. James moved around in front of him, standing with his feet apart and raising his hands. Callum pulled at James and said, No, no, over here, by the track.

They dragged him farther down the hill until there wasn't a hill anymore, and then they left him to stand alone. He fell forwards, banging his front teeth on metal; one of them broke and hot water came all over his chin. His crying seemed very loud now, and he sputtered through the warm liquid, breathing it in and coughing through his sobs. James stood in front of him again, planting his feet and reaching down, putting his hands on Brian's neck. Brian felt himself lifted up until he was looking into James's wild animal eyes.

Brian heard his own noise stop, heard small animals scamper for cover on the far bank, heard the brittle wind ruffle his hair. And then he saw black.

James strangled him and then Callum hit his head with rocks. The baby's head was all mess. They looked at it, afraid and not wanting to, but drawn to the sight. They hadn't expected the baby just to stop moving or to do a smelly diarrhea, he hadn't told them that would happen. They hadn't expected him to stop being annoying so suddenly, hadn't expected him to completely stop being anything. The baby's foot was facing all wrong. His eyes were open, popping out as if he couldn't stop looking. Callum wanted to cry, but James punched his arm.

"We ...," said Callum, staring at the messy baby, looking sick. "We ..." He forgot the rest of it. He ran up the steep hill and disappeared over the bank.

James was left alone. It had blood all over its chin and down its front like a bib. The blood was warm when he had his hands in it, when he had his hands around the baby's neck. He imagined the baby standing up with its messy head and black chin, swelling up to the Incredible Hulk and beating him up in slow motion.

He tilted his head and looked at it. He smiled at it. He poked it with his foot, and it couldn't even try to get away from him. He didn't feel scared being here with the broken baby. He felt other things, but he didn't know what they were called. He crouched down.

He could do anything to it. Anything he wanted.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Field of Blood by Denise Mina Copyright © 2005 by Denise Mina. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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