8 January 2017

Review: OUT OF BOUNDS, Val McDermid

  • this edition published by Little, Brown 2016
  • ISBN 978-1-4087-0692-3
  • 421 pages
  • #4 in the DCI Karen Pirie series
Synopsis (author website)

There were a lot of things that ran in families, but murder wasn’t one of them …’Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is an expert at solving the unsolvable. 
With each cold case closed, justice is served. So when a teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car and ends up in a coma, a routine DNA test could be the key to unlocking the mystery of a twenty-year-old murder inquiry. Finding the answer should be straightforward, but it’s as twisted as the DNA helix itself.

Meanwhile, Karen finds herself irresistibly drawn to another case, one that she has no business investigating. And as she pieces together decades-old evidence, Karen discovers the most dangerous kind of secrets. Secrets that someone is willing to kill for …

Number one bestseller Val McDermid returns with her most atmospheric, spine-chilling and gripping novel to date.

My Take

Despite, the fact that this is quite a long novel, I managed to finished it within 24 hours of starting.

It is a police procedural in which modern technology plays a considerable role: DNA testing, birth and adoption databases, mobile phone messaging, CCTV, organ transplants, just to note a few elements. So much has changed hasn't it in the last 20 years? But it doesn't necessarily make an investigation easier, just provides a few more red herrings.

The story threads in this novel just keep on branching, but McDermid passes the true test of bringing them all together cohesively at the end.

Karen Pirie and her offsider Jason,The Mint, are still recovering from the murder of a colleague and both are learning to operate without him. Cold Case elements intertwine seductively with modern events and as usual Pirie steps on toes in a number of other teams, as well as those of her boss.

There are references which place the novel in recent days: Syrian refugees who meet at night under one of the city bridges because they have nowhere else to go, even a couple of references to Donald Trump.

I thought McDermid went out of her way, for Scottish readers, to give the novel a local flavour with the use of colloquialisms, and occasional architectural descriptions.

An excellent read.

My rating: 4.8


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