In a book whose mystery plot is its least surprising aspect (though not its least forceful: Kate winds up killing someone with her stiletto heel), The Dead Hour takes its heroine a long way. She is nobody’s hen by the end of the story. With regret but determination, she has edged at least part of the way out of the Meehan nest. And she is moving into the boys’ club dominated by her male colleagues.
The New York Times
Set in Glasgow in 1984, Mina's riveting second thriller to feature Patricia "Paddy" Meehan (after 2005's A Field of Blood) opens with the 21-year-old crime reporter for the Scottish Daily News following up a late-night disturbance complaint at a Victorian villa in the posh suburb of Bearsden. The tall, attractive man at the door assures Paddy, as he had the police, that the incident won't happen again. Behind him is a blond woman with a bloody face-Vhari Burnett, a well-respected political activist and lawyer. The man bribes Paddy, as he had the police, to keep quiet. The next day the news of Vhari's murder dismays the normally scrupulous Paddy. When a suicide is fished out of the river, Paddy begins to connect the two deaths. Meanwhile, Vhari's cokehead sister, Kate, is on the run from Vhari's killer, and Mina skillfully alternates Kate's desperate point-of-view with that of Paddy, who's determined to do the right thing and bag the story. Hopefully, this won't be the last breathless adventure for one of the most entertaining reporter sleuths in recent crime fiction. 6-city author tour. (July) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
On her rounds as a crime reporter for the Scottish Daily News, Paddy Meehan visits the scene of a disturbance at a home in Beardsden, a wealthy suburb of Glasgow. There she finds an attractive couple who appear to be in the midst of a domestic dispute. The police give the couple a warning and, as they are leaving, the man presses a 50-pound note into Paddy's hand and asks her to keep the matter out of the paper. The next morning Paddy reads in the paper that the woman, a lawyer and political activist, has been murdered. The man was not her husband. Suddenly, Paddy has to confront the class prejudices that allowed her to leave another woman in a dangerous situation and decide what to do about the money she accepted from the murderer. Despite its intriguing premise, Mina's (Deception) crime plot never picks up much momentum, but Paddy Meehan is a refreshingly down-to-earth character, and her travails in the nightworld of Glasgow ultimately make for a more compelling story than the murder she tries to solve. Readers never get to know the murder victim very well, and the details of her death unfold rather anticlimactically. Recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 3/15/06.] Jane la Plante, Minot State Univ. Lib., ND Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
The author of Field of Blood (2005) sends her dogged Glaswegian reporter-investigator trudging through a second case. Is there a fleck of hope in the grime and despair of 1980s Glasgow? Not for Paddy Meehan. Nudged up from copygirl to night crime reporter at the Scottish Daily News, Meehan joins two policemen as they check out a report of domestic violence in one of the city's few tony neighborhoods. Though a blood-spattered blonde woman stands in the background, a handsome man assures Paddy the situation has calmed and presses a 50-pound note into her needy hand, an act the attendant policemen may have spotted. The next morning, Paddy learns the blonde has been found dead, her teeth extracted, the back of her head smashed. A few days later, police fish a suicide from the river and proclaim him the killer. A look at the corpse convinces Paddy that this was not the handsome man she interviewed, the man she's certain was the killer. Who was he? And where is he now? Fearing for their jobs in the face of cutbacks and a ruthless editor, her fellow reporters offer Paddy little help tracking the suspect. She's hobbled as well by the possibility that someone will learn she took a bribe. She comes clean with the police but isn't sure she has their trust; they may be pulling punches in pursuing the case. When someone firebombs a car in which she'd been riding, it seems her own life is at risk. Hope eventually "skirls," as Paddy would say, but only briefly, as a personal crisis dovetails with the resolution of the case. Mina meticulously creates a bleak, Dostoevskian world abandoned by light and spirit, populating it with sharply drawn characters.