Picks and Pans Review: Field of Blood

updated 08/01/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 08/01/2005 AT 01:00 AM EDT

By Denise Mina
CRITIC'S CHOICE

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As murders go, the killing of 3-year-old Brian Wilcox is particularly gruesome: Two young boys lead him into a field, bludgeon him to death and leave his broken body on a train track. All of Scotland is shocked, including Paddy Meehan, an 18-year-old copygirl at the Scottish Daily News. Convinced the police are dropping the ball, Paddy sets off on her own to follow the clues—a decision that puts her life and the lives of others in jeopardy.

Set in Glasgow in 1981, this mystery enthralls while providing insight into a city divided by class and the seething tensions between Catholics and Protestants. Mina's evocative writing can make readers shudder from the cold, grimace with pain and, often, smile at Paddy's snarling, profanity-laced wit. Filled with plot twists and romantic under-currents—and enriched by an intriguing Cold War subplot—Field keeps you gripped and guessing right up to its thrilling end.

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