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Summary

When a teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car and ends up in a coma, a routine DNA test reveals a connection to a twisted unsolved murder from 22 years before.

Meanwhile, Karen Pirie finds herself irresistibly drawn into another mystery that she has no business investigating; a mystery that has its roots in a terrorist bombing two decades ago. And again, she finds that nothing is as it seems....

©2016 Val McDermid (P)2016 W.F. Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

"A real page-turner and another McDermid triumph." ( Observer, on The Distant Echo)
"A powerful story of murder and revenge...an exciting page-turner." ( Sunday Telegraph, on The Distant Echo)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
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Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book - brought to life by the narrator

Val McDermid is usually a safe bet for an entertaining read - and this is a good story with well rounded characters. I've chosen to leave a full review here to give a mention to the narrator though. I felt that Cathleen McCarron was brilliant. Her characters were very recognisable and her male voices were good. I felt that she brought great emotion to the job and really brought the story to life for me.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Slow to start but ultimately satisfying

I like Val McDermid’s books as she write so well, but sometimes shrink from her graphic details of murders. Thankfully this book is devoid of any gruesome descriptions of post mortems and doesn’t spend any time in the the minds of psychopaths relishing their deeds. There’s quite a bit of forensic detail thanks to the author’s close association with the world famous department at Dundee University. I did a FutureLearn course run by that University on forensics in which Val McDermid actively participated. She has also written a book on the topic.

The book meanders for quite a time as two separate stories are introduced, but gathers momentum after about 40 out of 62 chapters. I didn’t mind the slower pace as we got to know the various characters and learn some interesting facts about forensics and the laws relating to privacy. The author indulges her political beliefs over the treatment of Syrian refugees seeking asylum in Scotland: all very laudable but a bit of a diversion that slows the pace of the novel. Par for the course the chief character, DCI Karen Pirie, is a bit of a maverick going off at tangents and getting into trouble with her superiors, but she’s an engaging, sympathetic and at times funny character.

I did enjoy the book and thought the slower pace reflected the more realistic time course of investigations in real life, even if the crimes were unusual.

At first I thought it was to be a four star listen but by the end I thought it rated higher than that as the author carries the two stories forward such that I was keen to find out what happened next as one lead after another seemed promising and then went nowhere.

The narrator is excellent as she creates many different voices making the book seem like a dramatisation.

21 of 23 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

a few loose ends

Enjoyed this but felt it ended a bit abruptly. I was a bit perplexed when the narrator said it was the epilogue as I thought there were still a few loose ends to be tied off within the main story.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Struggled with it

Usually love these books but could not get in to this one. Not sure if it was the story or narrative but found it irritating

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Good book

Enjoyed the book but did think the ending left you hanging without closure, needed one more para

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

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    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

skipped chapters!

This book was not exactly fast paced. I stuck with it as the narrator was brilliant. Her range of voices was amazing.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Thrilled

This was my first Val McDermid book,and it most certainty will not be my last. I enjoyed the whole storyline and colourful characters, excellent read

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Avril
  • Cinderford, United Kingdom
  • 27-11-16

Very enjoyable if less exciting than of old

Nearly gave up as the initial readers interpretation which was so broadly Scottish I felt uncomfortable But glad I carried on listening because the reader demonstrated her skills later on
Like very much that a second episode of the new heroine has been introduced but less sure of the story

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

GOOD LISTEN

Very enjoyable and fast moving plot. Shame didn't realise it was the fourth in the series! But will catch up! Linda Brown.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Not gory

This story is not as gory as some of the authors books, more gentle people focused. I enjoyed it a lot

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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Profile Image for johan
  • johan
  • 21-02-18

Great story and AWESOME narrator!

Great story!
Thanks
A bit slow in places though

And awesome narrator!
Kathleen is brilliant