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Read Field Of Blood (2006)

Field of Blood (2006)

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3.83 of 5 Votes: 3
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031615458X (ISBN13: 9780316154581)
little, brown and company

Field Of Blood (2006) - Plot & Excerpts

At first, I didn't like this book--found the protagonist Paddy to be sulky, petty, whiny, and unlikable. As the story went on, I started to think maybe I was warming up to her. She was earnest sometimes, she wasn't content with being a good Catholic housewife and found it offensive that her fiancé didn't want her to have a career, and she really kicked some butts when she was wronged. But despite her belief that she was smart and shrewd, she bungled everything. She didn't make connections that were pretty much shoved in her face. I don't generally read thrillers (I read this for a book club) and have no experience picking mysteries apart, but I kept picking up on everything far before she did. That made me not like her again. At one point when she was confiding in a fellow journalist about something private, I thought she was deliberately trying to get her to use it as a news story; I couldn't see why she would be that oblivious, to tell a journalist about a personal connection to a major crime and then think nothing would happen when she said she herself couldn't use the story. I guess it's nice to have a protagonist journalist sometimes who isn't particularly quick on the uptake, though. I did like the honesty in her mental narration. Despite not being on board the Catholic beliefs train, she sure has her Catholic guilt installed perfectly.There were several aspects of the book's storytelling that told me things I felt like I shouldn't have been told. For instance, I'm not worried at the end that Paddy might get murdered if the narration in the middle talks about the card games she and her sister would be playing for years into the future. I'm not convinced that Paddy has found the murderer when a weird loose end about a man with an earring was focused on so tenderly and never brought up again. I'm not breathlessly watching the mystery unfold when I've known for half the book that the Baby Brian Boys got driven to their destination in a car because of the peculiar opening chapter, nor am I shocked at a young journalist's death when the narration chooses to depart from the otherwise consistent perspective protagonist and show me her murder. I would have liked this book a lot more if I hadn't been frustrated at the thunder delivered with the revelations when I'd seen the lightning fifty pages ago.Still, there were quite a few things I did like about the storytelling, and that was mostly character. I didn't like Paddy, but I liked the way she was told. She was always commenting on her own weight and feeling bad about it, punishing herself for it, sulking about it, and some of the ways she did that were very true to life. She ate something that wasn't on her diet and felt it might cancel out some of the effect if she refused to enjoy it. She fantasized about what she'd do when she lost the weight--thinking about telling someone who'd called her fat that he was fatter than her as she showed off in the skirt she'd optimistically already bought for her thin-woman future. She had big plans of being a famous journalist and already had her list building of who she would punish once she was successful.The newsroom culture was fascinating, and Mina had it down. Paddy is judgy and insecure at the same time, so frequently building herself up for her supposed talents and then reality-checking herself only to realize she feels like she's just pretending to be a journalist. I like that she can see what's missing from a story--that she could tell when something got edited out before press time--and that she could read fellow journalist Heather's writing and recognize it as overwritten and childish. And I liked that Paddy, for all her ambition, was still so sheltered. When a short-haired, masculine woman in her office frequently stared at Paddy's breasts, she wondered what the heck that could mean. Gee.I liked the odd little details of people, too. Mary Ann, Paddy's sister, was described as having an eloquent laugh that was practically its own language, and I really thought that was clever. It wasn't just a throwaway detail, either; Mary Ann did very little but laugh in this book. I liked that at a funeral Paddy was having some kind of selfish thought and her fiancé Sean thought she was expressing sorrow, offering her comfort (which she took). I liked how she and Sean bickered when they were alone but only seemed okay when they were around others, and how he's so insecure that he tries to make her ashamed of her ambition (while Paddy herself worries that Sean has chosen her because she'll feel lucky she landed anyone since she's fat). I liked how Paddy took on Heather's smoking habit. I liked how the Catholic family shows people it disapproves of something you've done by shunning you as you live among them. And I liked how the somewhat parallel crime saga of a wrongly jailed innocent man twenty years before wove into Paddy's 1980s plot.I did not like the abundance of asides, many of them about setting, that the narration gave to us. And I did not like the ending. The motive for killing Baby Brian was very muddy, not to mention it was revealed in a classic presentation of "bad guy reveals everything in the end." I thought Paddy accidentally meeting the murderer earlier in the book and the importance of someone having an earring were far too constructed--especially since believing you have the wrong man based on him not having an earring is ridiculous since maybe he just wasn't wearing it at the time. Just happening to come across the murderer in a photograph so you can place his face is pretty contrived too.I can't give it more than three stars because of the plot feeling so hollow to me, but some of those little moments attached to the characters were really nice.

Posted to The Literary An Excellent Character novel with Format Issues 3.5 Stars This novel is an exercise is what could have been. It is a great story with an incredibly engaging protagonist. Unfortunately, questionable story formatting and unnecessary side stories lead to confusion and frustration in the first half of the book. This had the potential to be a 5 star read but was ultimately weighed down by these issues. Plot summary Patricia "Paddy" Meehan is a 20/21 year old "copyboy" at her local Glasgow newspaper. She comes from a conservative Catholic family, has a fiancée, career aspirations, image issues and a healthy temper. These elements of her life conflict on a regular basis. She is not content to work a low level position at the paper and fancies a future as a journalist. The city is buzzing after a three year boy is brutally murdered and two preteen boys are arrested for the crime. When Paddy learns of the identity of the boys, he life is thrown into disarray as one of the children is related to her fiancée. This leads her to question their guilt and follow the leads down some dangerous paths. As the mystery unfolds, she learns about family, herself and what it means to be an adult. The Good Amazing Characters Paddy Meehan is so delicately crafted that she would not be out of place in a Tana French novel. Her character and her flaws are enjoyable, interesting and compelling. Even the secondary characters are drawn with care and developed beyond the average crime novel. It is the characters that make the novel. I was drawn into Paddy's life and despite the issues with the story formatting, I was reading to see what choices Paddy would make and how her issues would resolve. In terms of characterization alone, Paddy is one of the best characters I have read in many years. The Story is not Bad Either Set against the background of these wonderful characters is a main plot that is quite engaging. The investigation is at times a series of blunders as an inexperienced character feels her way through clues, suppositions and gut feelings. This is entertaining as it is at the same time a coming of age story for Paddy. The story is set in 1981 and does an excellent job of conveying the sensibilities of a conservative family at this time and the prejudices and assumptions of Paddy's society. The Bad You Need a Map The author clearly makes an attempt to make multiple parallels to another person with same name as our protagonist. Paddy Meehan was also the name of the name of a famous low level crook who was framed for a crime that he did not commit. In order to tell us this parallel story, the author uses a confusing mesh of chapter and "parts" to tell us of Paddy's conviction as well as his backstory. In my opinion, this element of the story was handled very poorly and I may be the first time in my life I was longing for the author to just give us an info dump instead of another storyline. While I understand the parallels the author was making, I am still fuzzy on what exactly the elder Paddy was meant to have done and the reasons for his setup. These element were finally abandoned 3/4 of the way into the book and it did not look back after that. This is the major reason the story lost 1 1/2 stars from me. Can this Book Stand Alone Yes. This is the first in the series. Final Thoughts Don't let my star rating scare you away from what is really a very good book. I will most certainly read the second in the series as the author's skill in character creation and development is evident. It is rather unfortunate that story is weighted down by some poor story formatting and by some poor editing choices. Maybe my complaints won't be a concern for you. Regardless, I recommend this for fans of Tana French and readers that prefer their mysteries to be character driven. Content Advisories It is difficult to find commentary on the sex/violence/language content of book if you are interested. I make an effort to give you the information so you can make an informed decision before reading. *Disclaimer* I do not take note or count the occurrences of adult language as I read. I am simply giving approximations.Scale 1 - Lowest 5 - Highest Sex - 3 Paddy deals head on with staunch and conservative approach to sex. There are some clumsy attempts at sexual behavior. There is a moderately graphic but short sex scene. There is discussion of a sexual assault and a character that threatens sexual assault in a graphic manner. Language - 3.5 There is moderate use of mild obscenities and moderate use of the f-word. Overall, the usage is little higher than average. There are also of variety of insults that are Scottish slang. Violence - 2.5 There is a murder of a child at the beginning of the book but it is not graphic. A couple of characters are attacked but it is not graphic. There is another murder and it is moderately graphic and seen from the victims perspective. We are told of a sexual assault but it is not described in detail.

What do You think about Field Of Blood (2006)?

How did this book make it past an editor? I love Denise Mina, but this book is terrible. The randomly-placed chapters that cut away from the narrative to tell the story of a real-life criminal from the 60s who happens to have the same name as the protagonist slow the momentum of the book and add little to the story. This book is also full of tiny continuity errors -- Paddy lights a cigarette, then immediately stuffs both hands into her pockets and starts talking or crying. . . so, what happened to the cigarette? It's not in her hands or mouth, so did it just disappear? She requests an envelope of clippings from the newspaper, reads and returns them, and then later requests the same envelope of clippings, and Mina describes how the clippings have curled around each other because they "haven't been read in years." Paddy just read them recently! Gah!I figured out the murder as soon as the relevant character(s) was/were introduced. That was disappointing. The motivation for the murder is never really explored, which is disappointing after a long slog through the first half of the book. Don't let this be your first Denise Mina book. Start with the Garnet Hill trilogy and go from there.

The first book in a trilogy. Set in 1980's Glasgow, Scotland. Eighteen year old, Paddy Meehan has an entry level position at a newspaper called a "copyboy" and wants to be a investigative journalist. A child murder happens and Paddy makes a link to a previous child murder eight year prior and put her life in danger to get her first byline and solve two murder cases. I am on the fence on this book, I thought it story and characters were so-so. The historical details of Glasgow under Thatcherism and strict class and religious divisions, descriptions of the newspaper work environment; kept me interested. However, Paddy's struggles in her career and personal live were believable but not very engaging. I will try another book in the series and see where this characters goes.
—Marianne Williams

Paddy is a wannabe journalist who's warming the bench, so to speak, and she has her eyes on the writing prize as she wrangles her Catholic guilt and insecure fiancé. She fantasizes that one day she will lose weight, write amazing stories, and be able to punish the people who mocked her or underestimated her. But when the biggest murder case of the decade turns out to incorporate a family member of her fiancé--and it's a ten-year-old kid--she feels torn between her writing chances and her family's integrity. As the story gets bigger and her family blames her, Paddy insists on investigating in her sloppy way, wondering if she's in over her head when a fellow journalist is murdered and she may have just enough evidence to figure out who masterminded this children-killing-children horror. But, as people a bit quicker on the uptake than Paddy might have imagined, she'll have to do it without getting murdered herself.Paddy was an odd character; she wasn't likable, but she was relatable. I thought it was refreshing to see a character trying to solve a mystery who wasn't actually particularly good at it. She had so much petty hate and contempt for others, but then hated herself so much as well. Some details about her self-concept, her extremely Catholic family, and her childhood help us put her together and understand where she's coming from, and her connection to and interest in an old crime pinned on a man with her same first and last name was unusual for this kind of book. I found it easy to read and a bit too predictable, and one thing I really disliked was that when the point of view broke from Paddy's, it was ALWAYS showing us something we would have been better off without seeing so we could know as much as Paddy did and be as surprised as she was when she solved the mystery. The plant of the Man With the Earring was transparent enough that I thought it must be a red herring, but it was straight up mystery clue, and that was disappointing. This book, despite some of the good aspects of the realistic character, reminded me why I tend not to read thriller/mystery.
—Julie Decker

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