Val McDermid: Out Of Bounds
For her landmark 30th novel, Val has returned to Karen Pirie for a fourth outing - and her best to date.
Pirie may have sat slightly in the shadow of her more famous characters, Tony Hill and Carol Jordan, but this novel surely changes that. This is a person we want to know about.
This book mixes the professional and the personal as Pirie deals with the grief following the death of her partner while investigating a cold case which suddenly shoots off at tangents, and brings her into conflict with colleagues and bosses; scraps she clearly relishes.
A DNA hit from a car crash leads to the re-opening of a decades old rape and murder case, but it isn’t clean cut - and that’s before it starts to intertwine with an even older, apparently, unlinked case.
McDermid has set this book very much close to home.
One death is set in Kinross, while Fife and Edinburgh are the backdrop to the core investigation – as always she paints a vivid picture of places we all know so well.
And it’s the personal side of Pirie which she really brings to the fore – grief and a sense of loss are over-arching emotions as she sets out to help one group in society while also clashing with her superiors.
Pirie is a strong character too, one who also draws strength from her late partner while coping with the rawness of his death.
It’s a fabulous read. Let’s hope we hear more from Karen Pirie very soon.