The characters in books by Denise Mina don't live in elegant travel poster locations nor do they live comfortable lives. As factories in Scotland close as a response to economic decline, men who formerly supported their families are out of work.
Paddy Meaghan is a young woman and the only person in her large family who has a job. She is painfully aware of her responsibilities to the rest of her family, particularly her mother who struggles to keep the household intact. Paddy has an assignment with a Glasgow newspaper on the night shift - cruising through darkened streets with a company driver at the wheel of a company car, monitoring the police radio and checking out late night and early morning situations for snippets to appear in next morning's edition.
A call to a late night domestic disturbance in a wealthy neighborhood gives Paddy a brief glimpse of an injured woman with blood streaming across her face. The well dressed man who has answered the door presses money into Paddy's hands and persuades her and the beat policemen to leave and let him handle things. As Paddy ponders keeping the money, she learns the next day that the woman has been found dead in the house and the man has disappeared.
Mina presents a skillful contrast between Paddy's struggle to gain a toehold in her career and to persevere as her family's sole source of support, and the wasted life of a beautiful young woman, the key to the events in the late night assault.
This report prepared by A R Pickett