Sunday, September 5, 2010

Field of Blood by Denise Mina

Last time I went to the library I looked for a book by Denise Mina. I had read about this Scottish writer and that her books are set in Scotland. That put her on my "must" list. Sure enough, this is set in Glasgow where Mina lives, but it involves an Irish Catholic girl, her extended family, and her Irish Catholic fiance.

Patricia "Paddy" Meehan is a girl after my own heart. She's so human, so ordinary, yet so extraordinary that I felt like I had known her forever. I could relate to her feelings of being fat and dumb and that her life was preordained so that her dreams would never come true. In short, she's her own worst enemy and she's like the girl next door. Paddy works as a copyboy/gofer at a newspaper in Glasgow but dreams of being a star reporter, slim, sophisticated, with her own apartment and men falling at her feet, but being single and loving it.

The original Paddy Meehan was a real petty ante criminal who was railroaded into a life sentence for murder. He's no relation but everyone loves to make the connection and tease her about it. The beginning of the novel sort of jumps back and forth from one Paddy to the other and I was a bit irritated at that device, but after a while I was so hooked that it didn't really matter.

The story involves the murder of a child and the attempted railroading of two young boys for the murder. One of them actually did kill the boy but they were forced into it. The other accused is her fiance's cousin and Paddy is determined to clear his name. At times I wanted to smack some sense into her and buck up her faltering ego, but then I understood that she was simply very human and doing her best in awful circumstances. At one point her family and fiance shun her, and then it was them I wanted to smack.

As she follows clues and withstands the jeers of reporters and her family, you can't help but become fond of Paddy. Her character is the best thing about this book and it's why I recommend it.

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