Posted in Book Review, Books I have read

The Dead Hour – Denise Mina

Crime Fiction 4*s
Crime Fiction
4*s

I really enjoyed the first book in the Paddy Mehan trilogy: The Field of Blood and the slightly overweight, under confident trainee journalist in the sexist environment of the news room in 1980s Glasgow really got under my skin. Denise Mina has come up with an incredibly appealing combination of a thriller mixed with a hint of nostalgia at a particular time in history when everything was changing.

The Dead Hour is set about three years later and Paddy riding in the ‘night call car’, the one that follows the police radio around the city looking for newsworthy stories when they are called to one of the better areas in Glasgow. It seems to be a case of domestic violence, one that the attending police officers aren’t too interested in and despite being disturbed by the woman’s appearance there isn’t a great deal to call in about this on, and well the woman didn’t want Paddy’s help and the man had pressed a £50 note into her hand which Paddy hasn’t declared… until the next morning when a woman’s body is discovered. She was murdered; brutally beaten, tortured and left to die, Paddy has to readjust what she saw against this new knowledge.

What follows is a well-timed mystery set against the back-drop of this Scottish city largely struggling with poverty. Paddy is the only wage earner in her household, and the family’s position looks more precarious when the newspaper is forced to make cuts to the workforce. With office intrigue, a personal life that is over-shadowed by her Catholic upbringing and a fierce ambition which is at odds with society’s ideas of what should be important to a young woman.

I loved the 37 short chapters that move the story along at a pace which simply begged for just another one before I closed the book and although the underlying storyline wasn’t quite as compulsive as the previous one, there was never any doubt that this was a story being told by an assured writer. There are plenty of opportunities for Paddy to put in her black throwaway lines that make these books such a joy to read.

“It was Lord of the Flies without table manners.”

And of course there is plenty of references to the eighties, that decade of superb fashion:

“Paddy saw short ra-ra skirts and ski-pants and nipped waists. It was a bad time for big girls.”

But running through the book is the scourge of drugs, a less welcome aspect of the decade which is possibly why I didn’t enjoy this story quite so much. Reading about drug dealers and their petty rivalries and the effects on those who fall under their spell just isn’t really my cup of tea, although I’m sure that Denise Mina has accurately captured them in all their glory as she has done with the local police who have a whiff of corruption surrounding them.

“You’re only a year older than me. How come you dress like Val Doonican?”
He sat back and smiled at her, pulling his V-neck straight. It wasn’t his usual toothy matinee-idol smile but a coy asymmetric face crumple. “I’m a polis. This gear is cool in the polis.”

As this book ends on a bombshell, there is no doubt in my mind that I will be reading the last episode of this trilogy, The Last Breath, in the not too distant future and I can tell you I big plans to investigate the entire back-catalogue of work. After all if I can be captivated by a book that focusses on my least favourite aspect of crime I know for sure that this is one author that will be forever on my watch list!

Posted in Weekly Posts

Weekly Wrap Up (June 5)

Weekly Wrap Up

 

Last Week on the Blog

It was lovely to have the Bank Holiday Monday here and after a lively BBQ on the Sunday my week on the blog started with a blog tour for When The Killing Starts by R.C. Bridgestock. Boy do this pair work hard writing books and supporting charities and even consulting on the fabulous Happy Valley! From a blogger’s viewpoint this was one of the more successful tours, because not only did they provide interesting materials, but they also put the time in to help ensure it was promoted well on social media.

My post on Tuesday saw me provide an extract from My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor, the second ‘husband’ book I’ve read in a space of a couple of weeks. Perhaps this is going to replace the word girl in all psychological thrillers?

On Wednesday I shared my week’s reads which was made far harder as in June I am devoting myself to reading books off my own shelf – some for the 20 books of summer 2016 challenge but also some of those kindle reads that have been languishing for far longer than they should.  Normally I know what I’m reading quite some way into the future with my trusty spreadsheet but I finally made a choice which you can see here.

On Thursday I posted my review of the excellent Die of Shame by Mark Billingham, a great story with a perfect ending!

Friday’s review of My Husband’s Son by Deborah O’Connor spawned a bit of humorous banter on Twitter.

Which brings us to yesterday when I excitedly posted my first review for the 20 Books of Summer Challenge; The Poison Principle by Gail Bell.

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News

Not an awful amount of personal news this week, a lot of work of the paid variety, in preparation for my holiday which starts later this week… although I was incredibly pleased to see this on a tweet by Viking Books for My Husband’s Wife by Jane Corry

Tweet Pic for My Husband's Wife

In book news The Bookseller this week had a piece about how well the recommendation algorithms for books work on sites such as Amazon – interestingly, apparently they work better than the original method of using humans but, listen up, the algorithms are useful but ‘Book bloggers, tweeters and old-fashioned reviewers have all become increasingly influential’ I think we all deserve a round of applause!

And finally BBC Entertainment tell us that in November three books featuring the  Famous Five for Adults will be published – I’m honestly not too sure how I feel about this – what do you think? Will you partake?

Five Go Gluten Free

 

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Stacking the Shelves

I’ve been incredibly restrained having imposed a ban on buying any new books for the month of June – I was going to extend it to the entire summer but decided not to be totally ridiculous! Funnily enough I managed to obtain a couple in before Wednesday!

First up is from NetGalley that I was sorely tempted to request on reading a number of brilliant reviews by wonderful bloggers. My Name is Leon by Kit de Waal isn’t my normal type of read but the subject matter and time period appeals and I am now the proud owner of a copy thanks to Viking Penguin who published this one on 2 June 2016.

My Name is Leon

Blurb

A brother chosen. A brother left behind. And a family where you’d least expect to find one. Leon is nine, and has a perfect baby brother called Jake. They have gone to live with Maureen, who has fuzzy red hair like a halo, and a belly like Father Christmas.
But the adults are speaking in low voices, and wearing Pretend faces. They are threatening to give Jake to strangers. Since Jake is white and Leon is not. As Leon struggles to cope with his anger, certain things can still make him smile – like Curly Wurlys, riding his bike fast downhill, burying his hands deep in the soil, hanging out with Tufty (who reminds him of his dad), and stealing enough coins so that one day he can rescue Jake and his mum. Evoking a Britain of the early eighties, My Name is Leon is a heart-breaking story of love, identity and learning to overcome unbearable loss. Of the fierce bond between siblings. And how – just when we least expect it – we manage to find our way home.

And I bought a copy of The Dead Hour by Denise Mina for my kindle. This is the second in the Paddy Mehan series which started with The Field of Blood which I adored, so it is a little holiday treat to help me sit nicely without complaining on the plane!

The Dead Hour

Blurb

When Paddy Meehan, Glasgow’s youngest aspiring journalist, is called to a domestic dispute at a house in a wealthy suburb in the north of the city, it seems like just another police call. The blonde bleeding from a head injury in the shadows doesn’t want any help; and the well dressed man at the front door assures Paddy that everything’s fine, and that she can leave.
And then he slips her a crisp £50 note to keep the story out of the paper.
By the next morning the woman’s dead. Paddy may have found the story she’s dreamed about, but she’ll lose all credibility if the word gets out about her bribe. The police who attended the call are twisting the evidence for reasons of their own.
Only Paddy cares enough to pursue a dark and brutal truth that could make her career – or kill her. Amazon

PicMonkey Collage TBR
TBR WATCH
We have progress!! Since last week I have read 3 books, and only gained 2 so the total this week is now standing at 180 books!
94 physical books
70 e-books
16 books on NetGalley

What have you found to read this week?