Crime reporter-turned-columnist Paddy Meehan, of the Scottish Daily News (The Dead Hour, 2006, etc.), finally encounters a family with bigger problems than her own.
As a seasoned journalist, Terry Hewitt saw plenty of danger abroad before returning to Glasgow in 1990. But it was on his home ground, outside the casino where he’d gone to blow the advance for his first book, that he met the man who would take him to a lonely road and murder him. A robbery gone wrong, say the police, ignoring the fact that most robbers don’t strip their victims naked and drive them miles out of town so that they can leave them in a ditch. No way, insists Paddy, convinced that her longtime friend and former lover has been executed by the IRA. But she encounters a blank wall wherever she turns for support. Her editor, who thinks she should stick to writing her columns, assigns the story to someone else. DI Sharon Garrett grows ever more emphatic in pointing out that the IRA hasn’t claimed responsibility and doesn’t operate in Scotland anyway. And Paddy’s IRA sources maintain that the killing has nothing to do with them or anyone they know. The denials continue all around despite the death of Terry’s colleague, photographer Kevin Hatcher, which convinces Paddy that the motive lies in the innocuous coffee-table book they were producing on emigrants to America. On the home front, Paddy’s situation is equally bleak. Callum Ogilvy, brother of Paddy’s ex-fiancé Sean, is about to be released from prison after doing nine years for murdering a child (Field of Blood, 2005), and all anyone seems to want is for Paddy to write the story, even though it would tear her family even further apart.
Mina, who has mastered the art of making the continuing elements of her series grim, deftly balances Paddy’s family troubles against the Troubles.