REVIEW: OUT OF BOUNDS By Val McDermid

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From Goodreads

When a teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car and ends up in a coma, a routine DNA test reveals a connection to an unsolved murder from twenty-two years before. Finding the answer to the cold case should be straightforward. But it’s as twisted as the DNA helix itself.

Meanwhile, Karen finds herself irresistibly drawn to 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.

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There are actually two unsolved murder cases and one suspicious death case happening in this tightly plotted novel by Val McDermid. Past and present collide for Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie, head of Police Scotland’s Historic Cases Unit, as she attempts to solve the puzzle of how the DNA of a 17 year old teenage boy involved in a car crash could be connected to a 22 year old unsolved murder. Sound intriguing? It certainly had my attention.

That case alone was enough to pique my interest but then Karen also finds herself being pulled into another mystery- the supposed suicide of Gabriel Abbott. Karen finds herself wondering about his death which occurred 20 years after his mother and 3 others were murdered by what was believed to be a terrorist bombing of their small jet plane. Could the deaths somehow be connected although they’re separated by a 20 year time gap? No one else seems to question Gabriel’s death as it’s been ruled a suicide. Karen, however, is not one to turn her head away when there’s the possibility of several suspicious deaths being somehow connected.

This is my first Val McDermid novel…I know where have I been?….and I have to talk about Karen Pirie for a minute. This character has quickly become one of my favorites in crime fiction. Stepping into this series at this point (this is book 4) I didn’t know anything about Karen or her life before but Val McDermid has done an outstanding job weaving Karen’s previous life into this story, so for those of us new to the series, I still felt like I understood her and had a handle on what led her to her current state of being. You see, Karen is still grieving the loss of Phil, her partner on the force and the love of her life and I felt for her, especially as she wondered the streets at night in an attempt to make herself tired. I felt her sadness as well as her strength and determination to keep going. I liked her banter with Jason, who wasn’t the sharpest tack in the toolbox, but was fiercely loyal and devoted to her. I liked her witty nickname for her boss. And I liked the compassion she showed to the Syrian refuges she befriended on her nightly excursions in the dark. This in itself was an interesting subplot. Not only did Karen feel real to me, I also felt like other characters – Jason, Jimmy, River, Giorsal, even the swarmy Alan Noble – were real people and that is because of the superb characterization and writing on the part of the author. For me, one of the best compliments I can give is to say the characters felt like real people.  That, and the fact that I couldn’t figure out this intricately plotted puzzle!

This story moved at light-speed for me until about the last 20 percent at which point I felt it started to drag somewhat. I’m not sure if it was the tying up of all the threads and loose ends, the details, etc but I felt different about the last part. Not to say I wasn’t happy with how it all came to pass, I was, I just felt that it got somewhat bogged down at the end. As I said, I didn’t have it figured out so that was a surefire plus in my book. I will most definitely be picking up the next Karen Pirie book as she is a character I’m happy to keep following wherever she goes! If you enjoy crime fiction with realistic characters this is one you’ll want to grab tomorrow when it’s released.  Even if you’re new to the series this is one in which you can jump right in and feel rest assured you won’t be lost.

4/5 Stars

**Many thanks to Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for providing me this copy in exchange for an honest review.**

FRIDAY FINDS

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Friday Finds is a meme hosted by Jenn at  Booksandabeat which gives us a chance to share recent books we’ve added to our never-ending TBR pile. This week has been a more realistic and productive week for me in that a couple of the books I’ve added I’ve actually already started reading!! This is great news for my out of control TBR.  Here are a few of my top additions….

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To Be Published Dec 6 by Atlantic Monthly Press

Internationally bestselling author Val McDermid is one of our finest crime writers, whose gripping, impeccably plotted novels have garnered millions of readers worldwide. In her latest, Out of Bounds, she delivers a riveting cold case novel featuring detective Karen Pirie.

When a teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car and ends up in a coma, a routine DNA test reveals a connection to an unsolved murder from twenty-two years before. Finding the answer to the cold case should be straightforward. But it’s as twisted as the DNA helix itself.

I just got my Netgalley approval for this yesterday and it’s going to be archived Dec. 6th so I dropped everything and began reading last night and so far I love it. This is my first Val McDermid novel and I’m so excited because she’s one of the authors I promised myself I would read in 2017 so I’m ahead of schedule:) I’ve got A Place of Execution on my TBR for my next read of hers.

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Returning to her hometown of Fjallbacka after the funeral of her parents, writer Erica Falck finds a community on the brink of tragedy. The death of her childhood friend, Alex, is just the beginning. Her wrists slashed, her body frozen in an ice-cold bath, it seems that she has taken her own life.

Erica conceives a book about the beautiful but remote Alex, one that will answer questions about their own shared past. While her interest grows into an obsession, local detective Patrik Hedstrom is following his own suspicions about the case. But it is only when they start working together that the truth begins to emerge about a small town with a deeply disturbing past. 

Here’s another author I’ve been dying to try and since I was in need of a new audiobook and saw this was available from my library I grabbed it!  I actually ordered The Ice Child from Amazon as I thought it sounded so good but after chatting with Chelsea from The Suspense is Thrilling Me and Abby from Crime By the Book I decided to start with this book as it’s first in the series and Abby highly encouraged me to start there:) Thanks ladies! To make this read even more fun, my blogging friend Sam from Clues and Reviews and I have decided to buddy read this! I’ll keep you updated on our thoughts but so far I’m enjoying the story and the narration

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To Be Published Jan 10, 2017 by Flatiron Books

Luke Hadler turns a gun on his wife and child, then himself. The farming community of Kiewarra is facing life and death choices daily. If one of their own broke under the strain, well…

When Federal Police investigator Aaron Falk returns to Kiewarra for the funerals, he is loath to confront the people who rejected him twenty years earlier. But when his investigative skills are called on, the facts of the Hadler case start to make him doubt this murder-suicide charge.

And as Falk probes deeper into the killings, old wounds start bleeding into fresh ones. For Falk and his childhood friend Luke shared a secret… A secret Falk thought long-buried… A secret which Luke’s death starts to bring to the surface… 

This was a recent Netgalley grab and it sounds so good! I’m looking forward to reading this author and a plot filled with secrets is right up my alley:)

Has anyone read any of these? Are any of these also on your TBR pile? If not, what’s your top TBR picks this week? I’d love to hear your thoughts and I might as well add some more recommendations to my ever increasing pile:) Happy Friday everyone and have a great weekend!