Out of Bounds by Val McDermid

out of boundsI haven’t been reading much fiction lately, and I especially haven’t been reading a lot of crime fiction lately: I tend to go down a rabbit hole reading the news instead, and it’s not necessarily good for my equilibrium. I was happy to get into this police procedural with a new set of characters and with a plot not nearly as gruesome as the Tony Hill- Carol Jordan series by Val McDermid.

Out of Bounds is the story of Karen Pirie, the head of the Historical Crimes Unit. She’s mourning her dead partner  Phil by burying herself in work, and she’s not a dour presence at all in the story. Score 1 for McDermid. Karen becomes involved in both a current and a historical murder investigation: a recent death of a young man whose mother died in an unsolved airplane bombing in the 1990s piques Pirie’s interest because she suspects that murder- or at least suspicious death- doesn’t run in families

What I liked most was the matter-of-factness not only of Karen but of a whole slew of highly competent women in police, social work, and forensic science. And McDermid had a damn sympathetic portrait of not one but two lawyers, for which I’m personally grateful. Also, McDermid is so good at populating this book with interesting people during the parade of investigatory interviews, etc. I hope this is the beginning of a new series.

Out of Bounds by Val McDermid

Grove Atlantic, December 2016

Disclosure: I received a review copy from the publisher.

9 thoughts on “Out of Bounds by Val McDermid

  1. Glad you enjoyed this one, Rebecca. I think McDermid is very talented, so I”m not surprised you liked it as much as you did.

    • For some reason I haven’t read her stuff in awhile, and I’m so glad I did. I’m tired of unreliable narrator stories that are popping up everywhere, you know.

  2. It’s in fact the fourth in a loose series, the first of which, The Distant Echo (2004), is a very great favorite of mine, with the second, A Darker Domain (2008), not too far behind! (I’ve not yet read the others.) As you say, these novels are far different in feel from those in the Tony Hill- Carol Jordan series, with which I get on far less well.

    • Oops- the perils of not editing/fact-checking a post too closely! Thanks for your take on the loose series. I’ll try to catch up at some point.

  3. I am going to be reading The Distant Echo soon, as I have been reading a lot of good things about this series lately. Both your opinion of this book, and John’s opinion of The Distant Echo are very encouraging.

      • I have that on my shelf, but have been delaying reading it because of having seen (and much liked!) the tv miniseries with Juliet Stevenson. Although I gather the adaptation made quite a few changes from the original, it’s still a bit fresh in my mind.

        On the other hand, I’ve been putting off reading the novel for maybe a decade now, so perhaps it’s time I conquered my reservations . . .

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