in "Field of Blood," a British mystery, is penned by a fast-developing young writer Denise Mina, who has been enthusiastically welcomed into the tartan noir school of British mystery writing. And what's that? A mystery that's darker, more bloody and violent than the usual, lightened, now and then, with that dark Scottish sense of humor, praises be, and written, of course, by a Scot. At any rate, Mina here introduces us to a new detective, Paddy Meehan. A Glasgow native, and an ambitious young woman, as is her author, Meehan differs from her in some other, important ways: she just hasn't the best education, and you'd have to consider her fat. But she's smart, and determined to rise from copygirl at "The Scottish Daily News." That means taking on a mystery that nobody wants to touch. Two ten year old boys have tortured and killed a toddler: who wants to think of those implications? (This case, actually, is based on a similar, notorious, 1993 crime in Liverpool, England.)
So Meehan takes the case on, and it costs her, as its implications spread into her own, already troubled, personal world. The Glasgow presence is palpable, the life of the city is on every page. And the author has produced a harrowing, hard-driving book; you'd have to consider her a developing exemplar of the school of contemporary British fiction known as "tartan noir." And what's that, you may ask? Well, written by Scots, duh! Particularly violent, brutal, bloody-minded, but leavened by that sharp, dark Scots sense of humor. At any rate, Paddy Meehan discovers the truth behind the mystery she's set herself to investigate, though it isn't the truth she wished to find.