Leave Me Alone, I'm Reading: The Dead Hour by Denise Mina

Tessa Bright Wildsmith

Paddy Meehan is on the night beat at her newspaper. She spends the hours most of us are sleeping following up on domestic disturbances and car accidents, awaiting the story that will finally give her some credibility and get her off the night shift.

The evening starts out like any other. It’s cold, and she’s riding around in the back of a car following up on calls. There’s a domestic call in a wealthy neighborhood. When Paddy arrives, the police are talking to a well-dressed man at the door. When Paddy steps up to question the man, she sees a blonde woman, bleeding from the head in the background. The woman says she doesn’t need any help, but Paddy has a bad feeling. Before she can say anything else, the man at the door asks her not to print anything about the incident in the paper, stuffs cash in her hand and slams the door.

Paddy needs the cash badly. Her father and brothers are out of work, and she’s the sole provider for her entire family. She takes the cash but still writes the story. The next morning, the blonde woman is found tortured, beaten and murdered. The man Paddy assumed was her husband or boyfriend is neither. He’s vanished without a trace, and no one knows who he is.

Even though Paddy knows she could lose her job if her bosses find out about the money, she still pursues the story. The police on the scene are covering evidence and lying to protect themselves. Paddy starts digging and makes connections no one else has noticed. As she digs deeper into the murder and the people involved, Paddy realizes this is the story of her dreams. It will make her career, if it doesn’t get her killed first.

Paddy’s character is bold and feisty. She’s young and ambitious and a little insecure. She’s a perfect mix of traits that make her compelling and interesting. Paddy Meehan is a returning character for Denise Mina. She first appeared in “Field of Blood.” I was never lost about Paddy or her background even though I never read the first book. Mina did an excellent job with history and background so that it is not necessary to read the first book to enjoy “The Dead Hour.”

My only complaint in this book is that the speech between characters is written in a thick Irish dialect that makes it hard to read at times. I enjoy devouring books, and as I was reading along, engrossed in the plot, to come across words like “aye” and “ye” and “wee” threw me off. It is a minor complaint and not one that detracted from the overall book.

With interesting characters and thrilling tension, “The Dead Hour” was much better than I expected, and Mina has become a new favorite author in the mystery / thriller genre.

Have you read “The Dead Hour?” Discuss your thoughts on the book below.

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