I’ve read a lot, if not most of Val McDermid’s work.
I’ve met her.
I’ve heard her speak about her career as a writer.
And, I’ve got a signed copy of Insidious Intent (her most recent novel).
In case you haven’t gathered, I love what she does.
Considering I’ve read her Carol Jordan & Tony Hill series sequentially, I’ve made a bit of a boob by reading this one completely out of sequence with the rest of the Karen Pirie novels. I’m now setting myself up to read the previous three, so it’ll be a little like the Star Wars saga, except that I doubt the first three Pirie books will be as crap as the three Star Wars prequels.
Back to the book.
Karen Pirie is a DCI with the Historic Crimes Unit in Scotland, a department that re-opens cold cases and endeavours to solve and close them once and for all. A routine DNA test on a hospitalised teenage joyrider throws up the hit with a previous crime, which triggers the opening of the unsolved murder of Tina McDonald, thus prompting Karen and her trusty sidekick Jason into action.
While the search for Tina’s killer is underway, Karen’s interest in a live case is also piqued. An incompetent officer tries to dismiss Gabriel Abbott’s death as suicide, but Karen is not convinced. Suitably niggled she begins investigating Abbott’s death too, which opens up a can of worms (not literally).
For me this book doesn’t have the same thrills I find reading the Jordan/Hill novels, nevertheless, that doesn’t mean it’s not an engaging and captivating read. There’s always something going on that keeps your interest wondering how things are going to come together – and come together they do, although not necessarily how you might imagine.
The characters are believable and you can’t help liking their quirks and idiosyncrasies, although I still don’t understand why her sidekick, Jason, is referred to as The Mint. I’m hoping I’ll find out when I read the first three.
The plot is solid and the story has a good pace. Some books, like The DaVinci code set off running and don’t stop until you hit the end. Out of Bounds is less like a sprint to the finish and more like a power walk interspersed with fervourous bursts. It’s one of those books that subtly gets you hooked in- you might set out to read a few pages, but before you realise it you find you’ve read forty to fifty and are hungry for more.
I bought my copy at Waterstones and you can find the book on Amazon here.
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