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  • Hardcover
  • 352 pages
  • Slip of the Knife
  • Denise Mina
  • English
  • 20 October 2016
  • 9780593051436

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Slip of the KnifeReally enjoyed this book Reading Denise Mina for we Glaswegians has some of the same fascination as watching Taggart on TV We’re always looking to notice the places we know – look the victim lived in Lawrence St But thankfully Denise Mina’s writing is a lot better than the Taggart team’s acting This is the third Paddy Meehan a Glasgow journalist story – though I hardly remember the others they seem so long ago – and she has moved to Lansdowne Crescent in the West End Ah the memories One advantage of having a journalist as your protagonist is that it frees the author from some of the constraints imposed on police detection – the journalist can be much unorthodox Several different stories take place in the book which is set in 1990 The main story is about the murder of two journalists – a writer and a photographer with possible IRA implications The journalist had been a mentor to Paddy and has now left her everything in his will But with the beuest comes danger Paddy now becoming a target of the same people A second story involves the release from prison of a child murderer whose conviction on lesser charges Paddy had been associated with Journalists from all over the country want to talk to him and Paddy may be the conduit And then there are developments in Paddy’s family life with her sister the nun having doubts and Paddy herself moving to the west end of the city a far cry from her upbringingWhen I started the book I had felt it was a little light and spent too much time revisiting the previous stories but in fact those earlier passages turned out to be part of the greater whole The various stories pull you in and and end up intersecting the way the best written books do Well worth reading Glasgow 1990Paddy Meehan is home alone when there's a knock at the door It's the police and they have bad news Former boyfriend Terry Patterson's naked body has been found in a ditch He's been tortured hooded then shot through the head all hallmarks of an IRA assassinationPaddy is devastated Terry was her first lover; the sort of journalist she's always aspired to be But why have the police come to her Although she and Terry have had an onoff affair since they first worked together in the 1980s she hasn't seen him for over a yearShe is therefore horrified to find that not only has Terry named her next of kin but he has left her a huge Georgian house in Ayrshire and several suitcases full of notesWhat was Terry trying to tell her As Paddy begins her investigation into his death she realises that if the secret he was about to expose was worth killing for she is next in line Great closer for a terrific trilogy Paddy Meehan has come a long way from her first appearance but she has retained her sense of self and her relentless nose for the story There is a fine tradition of journalists getting involved in mysteries and conspiracies and these three books have been a treat They all kept the focus on news gathering without ever trying to make Paddy a superhero or physically tough The background characters are drawn effortlessly and the plot barrels along I think I'm going to go ahead and read of Mina's books When you hear the term Tartan Noir which is fancy name for Scotland set mysteries hopefully you think of Denise Mina If not you should I really loved both her Garnethill and Paddy Meehan trilogies Here's the thing I'm starting to think about her though she has trouble closing The third book in both trilogies was kind of soggy in the middle Mystery novels often have a second half that is exciting than the first half The first sets up the characters makes you care about them creates the setting sets the action in motion and so on The second half is the payoff I get that But even though I continue to love the thick Glaswegian setting with its charming casually abundant use of swear words and Paddy herself this story was slow and a bit of a struggle to read until the last 90 pages when the gears really kicked inThe time has jumped ahead to 1990 in this book which I think is around 6 years since the first one Paddy is now a celebrity columnist her days of struggling as a copy boy far behind her and a single mother She's moved out of her family home and into a flat with her friend Dub When the story opens Callum Ogilvy the child who killed another child in the first book is due to be released from prison and Paddy's old colleagueex boyfriend Terry has been murdered Another death follows and both appear to have IRA connections Meanwhile the cops can't be bothered and seem to be trying to sweep both murders under the rug Paddy soon finds herself deep in the middle of both stories and there could be serious ramifications for both her and those close to herAs I said I love Paddy She's brassy foul mouthed and a true believer in the power of writing and journalism I enjoyed spending time with her but the story just didn't get here fast enough And even when it did the ending didn't entirely make sense to me view spoilerCallum maybe fatally wounds McBree the IRA assassin at the end then Paddy burns down Terry's cottage with him in it which she got in the will that was likely going to be contested so it wasn't even her cottage free and clear yet And the police knew she was meeting McBree there since she used them to send the invitation in the first place It seems unlikely that no one would investigate his disappearance since he was protected by the police and had ties to British Intelligence Would they go to McBree's last known location where he was to have met Paddy find a crispy skeleton and think that was just a wacky coincidence? hide spoiler These are than just crime stories They are multi leveled stories of Scotland and its politics the class divisions religion the decline of journalism sex and relationships and a plot that involves all of the above Paddy is tough family driven lusty and a hard nosed journalist after truth of a personal nature Yes sure you have to think and stay on your toes when you read Denise Mina but who wants to read flat footed? I must be getting too picky as I get old Would not recommend Denise Mina writes dark gritty crime novels set in Glasgow that capture the ethos of working class life there I've read a couple of her stand alones and liked them a lot I grabbed this one without being aware that it is the third in a series; my only reservation about the book is that there's a lot of carried over back story from the previous titles which is somewhat distracting if you didn't read those So I'd recommend starting with the first one which appears to be The Field of BloodIn this one set in 1990 Paddy Meehan journalist and single mother is shocked by the murder of a former lover a foreign correspondent with experience in overseas war zones There are indications the killing might be linked to the IRA the Troubles spilling over into Glasgow's complicated ethnic and political waters Paddy pursues the truth despite being warned off putting everything she holds dear at riskMina's writing is sharp and perceptive; Paddy is a tough and complicated heroine Glasgow holds center stage not exactly a vacation destination but a complex and intriguing place A good read I really like this series Paddy Meehan is an investigative journalist in Scotland She gets caught in the middle of an interesting situation here with a former member of the IRA A fun light read Riveting I don't usually read a bunch of one author at one time but I made an exception for this one Couldn't get enough I was reading it and loving it early on but wondering in the back of my mind if I'd be digging this as much as I was if I hadn't read the first 2 and gotten so thoroughly invested in the characters and their world Then the three or story lines Mina had been picking at from this book and the other two completely surrounded me and was swept away for the ride The wonderful thing about Mina's stuff is you never know what's coming next Really bad things happen to really good people so no one is safe Characters are alternatively tough and fragile Crazy people do the sanest things Even the genre is constantly changing from murder mystery to family drama to crime fiction to psychological profile to down right Hitchcockian suspense This is the last Paddy Meehan book I hope because I LOVE LOVE LOVE the ending but I will definitely check out the author's other titles

About the Author: Denise Mina

Denise Mina was born in Glasgow in 1966 Because of her father's job as an Engineer the family followed the north sea oil boom of the seventies around EuropeShe left school at sixteen and did a number of poorly paid jobs including working in a meat factory as a bar maid kitchen porter and cookEventually she settled in auxiliary nursing for geriatric and terminal care patientsAt twenty one sh