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Mina, Denise - 'The Dead Hour'
Paperback: 464 pages (Jul. 2007) Publisher: Bantam ISBN: 0553815601

Paddy Meehan, rookie journalist on Glasgow's mean streets, returns for another outing in this, Mina's second in the series.

Paddy is working nights in the Call Car, following the police to any incident that might be worth reporting. One night she gets called to a house where a domestic dispute is going on. The woman refuses any help though, and the man slips Paddy 50 to keep the story out of the papers. But the next morning the woman is found dead - tortured, beaten and left to die. The man she was with has disappeared and no one knows who he is. Paddy feels responsible and is determined to find out what happened. The police seem to want to look the other way, and she knows she'll be in trouble about the bribe, but her job's on the line as the newspaper brings in new management who are looking for any excuse to cut staff. It's make or break time for Paddy.

This is an interesting series. The very male world of a regional newspaper in the 1980s is deftly drawn, as is Paddy's very Catholic family. The newspaper industry under Thatcher makes a compelling backdrop to a story about drugs and murder and revenge, with bent coppers and sexism in the workplace thrown in for good measure.

It's a well-paced story, ably plotted and laced with a dark humour. Paddy Meehan is a likeable character, with very human weaknesses and plenty of guts, despite her insecurities. She has you rooting for her all the way to end. I liked the first in the series and I like this one even more. Meehan is definitely a character who could sustain several more books and Mina takes care to flesh out even the secondary characters. Well worth reading.

Pat Austin, England
July 2007

last updated 23/03/2008 20:56