The Dead Hour

The Dead Hour

Paddy Meehan thought she'd be farther along in her career as an investigative journalist by now. But three years after breaking a big story, she's still on perpetual night shift, chasing police calls for a story that will promote her out of a twilight existence that makes candy bars and coffee a medical necessity. With her father and brothers unemployed and her family peri...

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Title:The Dead Hour
Author:Denise Mina
Rating:
Edition Language:English

The Dead Hour Reviews

  • Gloria Feit

    Paddy Meehan, 21 years old and on night shift [called the “calls car” shift, and encompassing the Dead Hour, 3 AM], at the Scottish Daily News in Glasgow, makes one of her usual nightly calls, following the police radio in the car and going to the address to which the police have been summoned. This time it appears to be a domestic disturbance, the victim a young, elegant-looking blond woman who, though obviously bloodied, refuses any assistance and, when Paddy catches her eye, seems to slightly

    Paddy Meehan, 21 years old and on night shift [called the “calls car” shift, and encompassing the Dead Hour, 3 AM], at the Scottish Daily News in Glasgow, makes one of her usual nightly calls, following the police radio in the car and going to the address to which the police have been summoned. This time it appears to be a domestic disturbance, the victim a young, elegant-looking blond woman who, though obviously bloodied, refuses any assistance and, when Paddy catches her eye, seems to slightly shake her head. The police leave, aided by the passing of money into their hands from the man who had answered the door, a scenario replayed moments later when Paddy, herself now the recipient of a 50 pound note, tries to question him. The following morning Paddy learns that the body of the blond woman, a prosecution attorney from a wealthy family, has been found, having been tortured, beaten and left to die, and she is tormented by the possible role she may have played by her quiescence.

    To salve her conscience and, not incidentally, hoping to make her mark as an investigative journalist at the same time, Paddy follows up on the story, which expands when another death follows, whether suicide or murder an uncertain matter.

    Glasgow, its rougher as well as finer areas, the helplessness of those affected by 1980’s unemployment, and the protagonist’s Irish Catholic background, are well drawn, as is Paddy, young, rebellious, hardworking [sole support of her parents and several siblings] and ambitious. The author having interspersed a second pov, contained within but separate from its surrounding chapters, was a bit confusing at first to this reader, as the identity of the second voice in unclear [although the reader knows her name] – it is really her relation to the rest of the story thus far that is not clear. It is not until over 50 pages into the book that her identity becomes evident. The effect of this device is to steadily build the suspense which, despite the book having begun at a moderate pace, grows till the hold-your-breath conclusion and a shocking twist before a very satisfying conclusion. As for that cliffhanger in the last line, the resolution of that will have to await the next book in the series, which I will eagerly await.

    The Dead Hour is the second in the Paddy Meehan series, following Field of Blood, and Ms. Mina’s earlier books, including Deception and the Garnethill Trilogy.

  • Liz

    Damn I love these books. I adore Paddy Meehan! She is one of the best series protagonists I’ve come across in years. In her era (late 80s) and her particularly conservative religious community, women don’t work – they marry. So here’s Paddy, charging full speed ahead into the “unnatural” life of a professional, unmarried woman. She’s tough but insecure. Hot-headed, yet kind. And she’s totally badass.

    No plot summary for this book but suffice it to say that she gives as good as she gets. She scre

    Damn I love these books. I adore Paddy Meehan! She is one of the best series protagonists I’ve come across in years. In her era (late 80s) and her particularly conservative religious community, women don’t work – they marry. So here’s Paddy, charging full speed ahead into the “unnatural” life of a professional, unmarried woman. She’s tough but insecure. Hot-headed, yet kind. And she’s totally badass.

    No plot summary for this book but suffice it to say that she gives as good as she gets. She screws up and falls down and she gets right back up again.

    Boom.

  • Gavin Simms

    The second book in the series is just as good as the first. A horrific murder, the ties that bind families, police corruption, coming of age, women in the workforce, discrimination against Catholics in 80s Glasgow. It’s all there. Plus her ongoing obsession with Paddy Meehan. And her own dysfunctional family. Terrific.

  • Vanessa

    This is the second book in Denise Mina's Paddy Meehan trilogy. The first one is

    . It's not essential that the books be read in order but they ideally should be, if for no other reason than to appreciate the maturation of wee Paddy who is only 23 years old in this book.

    Like all of Mina's books, the story is set in Glasgow, Scotland. This series is set in the 1980's--specifically 1984 here-and in the heart of Thatcher-era economic malaise and resentment. Paddy is a crime reporter fo

    This is the second book in Denise Mina's Paddy Meehan trilogy. The first one is

    . It's not essential that the books be read in order but they ideally should be, if for no other reason than to appreciate the maturation of wee Paddy who is only 23 years old in this book.

    Like all of Mina's books, the story is set in Glasgow, Scotland. This series is set in the 1980's--specifically 1984 here-and in the heart of Thatcher-era economic malaise and resentment. Paddy is a crime reporter for a local newspaper working the night shift, driving around the city following the summons of the police radio. The story opens with Paddy at the scene of a domestic violence call in a well-to-do neighborhood that ends the next day with the victim found tortured and dead, and Paddy feeling horribly guilty about leaving the scene with a would-be bribe in her pocket from the apparent killer. The following day, the victim's co-worker and ex-boyfriend commit suicide. The police seem largely uninterested in Paddy's take on what happened, and from there grows a tale of gangsters, police corruption and a giant bag full of cocaine that one character hilariously refers to as their "comfort pillow." Meanwhile, things don't look good at Paddy's economically challenged newspaper, which is under new management in a laying off mood. Losing her job would be especially bad news for young Paddy, who is the only member of her large Catholic family with a job at the moment.

    I like Mina's Garnethill series the best but this one has really grown on me. There's lots of detail about 1980's Scotland (which sounds like a rollicking, unsafe place) and Paddy is as charming, resourceful, and fully formed as Garnethill's Maureen O'Donnell, yet totally distinct from her. I'm a big Denise Mina fan girl and can easily put her in the company of the likes of Dennis Lehane and Jo Nesbo. She's so smart about human nature and such a compelling story spinner, she's a pleasure to read.

  • Sandra

    Denise Mina is the sort of writer who puts lesser writers off from writing, since they know they can never compete with the casual brilliance of what she does. At least, that is the case with

    writer, i.e. me.

    I wasn't especially drawn to Paddy Meehan in the first book, in comparison with Maureen O'Donnell but this is the second and she has grown a lot more interesting in the meantime. The plot is well-worked and lucid, characters superb and Paddy herself combines an innate knowledge of how p

    Denise Mina is the sort of writer who puts lesser writers off from writing, since they know they can never compete with the casual brilliance of what she does. At least, that is the case with

    writer, i.e. me.

    I wasn't especially drawn to Paddy Meehan in the first book, in comparison with Maureen O'Donnell but this is the second and she has grown a lot more interesting in the meantime. The plot is well-worked and lucid, characters superb and Paddy herself combines an innate knowledge of how people behave with her own ignorance about how some things are. Fabulously wonderful read and I'm only irritated - and finished the book exclaiming 'oh bugger' because the next two are on my Amazon list as potential christmas presents, and I'll have to wait until then to find out what happens next.

    And re-read, with, as usual, greater appreciation.

  • Tim The Enchanter

    Paddy Meehan is one of the most entertaining characters I have encountered in a long time. On one hand, she is a little overweight and is self conscious while on the other she is spunky, quick witted and quick tempered. She is the only unbeliever in a staunchly catholic home and she is convinced her unbelief will drag her whole family to hell with her. The entertainment provided by Paddy is worth the read.

    Paddy is faced with a moral dilemma. She at

    Paddy Meehan is one of the most entertaining characters I have encountered in a long time. On one hand, she is a little overweight and is self conscious while on the other she is spunky, quick witted and quick tempered. She is the only unbeliever in a staunchly catholic home and she is convinced her unbelief will drag her whole family to hell with her. The entertainment provided by Paddy is worth the read.

    Paddy is faced with a moral dilemma. She attends at a police call in progress where there is an apparent domestic situation occurring. After the police have spoken with the parties and have failed to make any arrests, she seeks a comment from the parties. Inside, she sees a young woman who is clearly hurt and with blood running down her face. The man at the door gives her fifty pounds and asks her to keep it out of the papers. The next day, Paddy learns that the woman in the house was found dead. Should she turn in the 50 pound note and risk losing her job or should she keep it to help her down on the luck family. It is after another body is pulled out of the river that Paddy believes there is a bigger story going on and the police seem to be obscuring the facts. Will she get the story of her career or will the bribe come to obscure her credibility.

    The story formatting was my biggest complaint with the first book. While the various "chapters" and "parts" remain, it is much easier to follow in this installment. As in the first, there is a parallel storyline, but it is in the present and is coherent. Instead of detracting from the book, the parallel storyline adds to overall feel.

    As in the first installment, Denise Mina expertly develops characters and places them in a believable near historical setting. I did not visit Scotland in the mid 80's but I feel as if I was there. The depressed economy and the rise of an urban drug culture play prominently in the story and well developed.

    While the formatting is much improved, it suffers with some pacing issues. I enjoyed the writing and the character of Paddy Meehan so much, that I felt as if it could have been a favorite book but jarring pacing ultimately (although mildly) reduce my opinion.

    If you really want it to. While this story is self contained, it is part of a trilogy. This second book does not borrow heavily from the first and you would not be lost if you picked up this one first.

    This and first in the trilogy has left me wanting to read more by Denise Mina. She has a sharp eye for setting and character and I look forward to finish the trilogy. That said, I am quite disappointed there are only three book as Paddy is such a great and relatable character.

    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. When reviewing language, mild obscenities are words like, shit, hell or damn. Religious exclamations are words such as Christ or Jesus when used as profanity.

    Scale 1 - Lowest 5 - Highest

    -

    There is a bit more sex in this installment than the last. There is a moderately graphic sex scene in the book and several less graphic ones. As Paddy is aging, the content is become a bit more "adult".

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    There are about 45 mild obscenities, 70 uses of the f-word and 3 religious exclamations.

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    There is also more violence in the background of this novel. There are several mildly graphic descriptions of death and several scenes where characters are beaten. The author tends to avoid the gory description.

  • Thomas Strömquist

    Paddy Meehan #2 and by the time of this it was joyfully obvious that no-one had to long for/moan about/miss Garnethill. Denise does not know how it feels to write a less than great book. Paddy has made reporter, but are doing her dog introduction time during the Dead Hour of night.

  • L

    What a fabulous story! Journalist Paddy Meehan is the only employed member of her large family. And her job is no great shakes--she and her driver work the night shift, following whatever comes over the scanner. It doesn't pay well and she waits to be terminated; she hasn't had a good story in a long time. One night they turn out for a domestic, but in a swanky neighborhood. The man holds the door shut. She sees the woman in a mirror, bloody. The cops are getting ready to leave, not interested.

    What a fabulous story! Journalist Paddy Meehan is the only employed member of her large family. And her job is no great shakes--she and her driver work the night shift, following whatever comes over the scanner. It doesn't pay well and she waits to be terminated; she hasn't had a good story in a long time. One night they turn out for a domestic, but in a swanky neighborhood. The man holds the door shut. She sees the woman in a mirror, bloody. The cops are getting ready to leave, not interested. The woman indicates that she doesn't want help; she'll stay. The man hands Paddy a bribe to stop her writing it up. After this, everything goes sideways. And you have to read it to find out how that happens, what Paddy does, and the danger she puts herself into.

    Characters are great--real people, many of whom you actually find yourself caring about. Mina provides a real sense of place and time. The sense of menace emerges early on and does not let up. The ending? Well, once again, you have to read it.

    Oh, no! I just went to Amazon to get the first book in the Paddy Meehan series! Though strictly speaking this could be categorized as a "cozy," since Paddy Meehan is not a police woman of any sort or a PI, trust me. This is not cozy.

  • Daniel Sevitt

    Terrific Tartan noir with young Paddy Meehan getting in over her head again. Great on the sexual politics of a provincial newsroom in the 1980s with a few too many scenes following the physical breakdown of a coke-head on the run. Satisfying enough to hunt down the third in the series.

  • John

    Aged 21 and suffering under the gloom of the Thatcher years, Patricia "Paddy" Meehan is the only wage-earner in her Glasgow family. Her job is as a very junior reporter on a fictional Glasgow newspaper, the

    ; her main task is to cruise the city at night with a driver, listening to the police radio and checking the hospitals and cop shops in search of an interesting story. One night she witnesses a pair of cops being bribed not to investigate what looks like an extremely nasty "domestic

    Aged 21 and suffering under the gloom of the Thatcher years, Patricia "Paddy" Meehan is the only wage-earner in her Glasgow family. Her job is as a very junior reporter on a fictional Glasgow newspaper, the

    ; her main task is to cruise the city at night with a driver, listening to the police radio and checking the hospitals and cop shops in search of an interesting story. One night she witnesses a pair of cops being bribed not to investigate what looks like an extremely nasty "domestic incident"; the following morning she discovers that the woman in question, a prominent lawyer and Amnesty activist, was tortured to death. The next day the dead woman's ex-fiance commits suicide, and the cops choose to assume this is an admission of guilt for the murder, even though Paddy knows they must know this cannot be true . . .

    This is the second of Mina's books that I've read, the other being

    , which I enjoyed while I was reading it only to feel let down by the ending, which seemed to me an artifice rather than a resolution. I felt let down by the ending of

    , too, which leaves several plot strands unresolved and seems to be setting things up for a sequel. I've since learned that my suspicion was probably correct -- there's another Paddy Meehan book after this -- but also that it had a Paddy Meehan predecessor. In other words, in terms of what's gone before, the novel works just fine as a standalone; in terms of its ending, not so well.

    I was less captivated by Mina's writing this time round. I kept noticing odd little bits of description that didn't seem to make sense. Someone made a little figure-of-eight gesture with their head, which sounded reasonable until I tried it. Someone else walked along flapping their hands behind them, which is far easier to do but would be completely abnormal. And so on. (There was also a sex scene that must surely have been at least nominated for the Bad Sex Award.) This isn't to say that the novel doesn't function as a pageturner -- it does -- just that I felt it lacked the narrative drive of

    , as evidenced by the very fact that I was noticing these things.

    All in all, then, an interesting book but one that failed to kindle my passions.

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