Val McDermid is a favourite author of mine. Not only do I love her books and the way they have been brought to life for TV, I actually really enjoy listening to her talk. She inspires me with the way she comes up with new ideas and story-lines although I will admit, it was not until I had watched my first episode of Wire in the Blood that I discovered her as an author.
Take note everyone, this may be the only time that I say a TV show inspired me to pick up a book and not the other way around.
As one of the biggest names in crime writing, Val McDermid has written 30 books, has been translated into 30 languages and sold more than 10 million copies of her work worldwide. So, was her latest book as good as the rest?
‘McDermid remains unrivalled… Brilliant’ (Observer)
“McDermid excels in putting the reader at the center of the action . . . A tightly paced mystery . . . My bones tell me we haven’t seen the last of Inspector Pirie—or at least I hope not.” (Janet Napolitano, Los Angeles Times on The Skeleton Road)
Out of Bounds: The Story
Out of Bounds is the fourth book to be realised in the Karen Pirie detective series – a DCI who is head of Police Scotland’s historic cases unit.
One night, four teenagers decide to steal a car and take it for a joyride. Bravado and stupidity takes over and before long, three of the four are dead and the fourth is in a coma with the possibility of being charged with the death of his friends if he ever wakes up.
Not much of a mystery there though?
However, during a routine DNA test, an unsolved murder is flagged on the system. It would appear that he has a familial DNA link to an unsolved murder dating back to 1996. There is just one problem; it is not going to be easy to find the perpetrator because the young man was adopted at birth.
Karen Pirie and her dopey sidekick, DC Jason Murray are then called in to take on the case and it soon becomes apparent that it is not going to be easy. Red tape starts to get in the way and before she can unlock the details that she hopes will solve this cold case she has to jump through numerous legal hoops, leaving a string of upset people in her wake.
At the same time, Gabriel Abbott, a loner who often appears confused and obsessed with the turmoil in countries further afield, is found dead. After a short investigation, DI Alan Noble, concludes that it was a suicide on grounds that the individual could appear unstable, had never had a job and was being cared for by his successful brother. It seems that after the death of his mother at a young age, Gabriel lost his way in life, struggling with the world around him.
But is it really that simple?
Driven by a compulsion to solve all crimes, Karen believes that there is more to this case than was initially discovered and just can’t let it lie.
Perhaps it is because she still hasn’t come to terms with her boyfriend’s death, she has a deep desire to put everything wrong in the world right and doesn’t care who she upsets along the way or perhaps her loneliness is causing her to fill her time with as much as possible in order to keep her mind away from the heart ache she is feeling.
Either way, on top of the two cases she is now chasing she has also managed to get involved with a group of immigrants desperate to find a place they can call home.
Has she taken on too much? Will she ever find the answers she wants and needs? Can Karen finally admit that she is desperately lonely and doesn’t know how to deal with the pain?
This is a complex story with a multitude of threads all running at the same time. Val McDermid has not simply created another novel, she has spent time, as she always does, making sure that all of her facts are correct, researching the issues that could arise with DNA discovery and really thinking about how, as surely must be the case on occasion, one terrible crime uncovers another that on first sight appears completely unrelated.
Would We Recommend Out of Bounds?
Without a doubt, this is a book all crime fans will love. It starts in a bizarre way and if you haven’t read any of the other novels in this series, it could be confusing but keep with it. This is a book that can be read in silo of the others because other than the story-line of how her boyfriend dies, nothing else is carried forward from what I can see, so don’t be afraid to read Out of Bounds as a standalone novel.
I personally really enjoyed Out of Bounds. It is a gripping book that chilled me however when I begun to think about how deceptive people really can be – fiction or otherwise.
If you would like to read Out of Bounds for yourself why not purchase your own copy through our website today.
Have you read a Val McDermid novel you would like to recommend to others?