Out of Bounds by Val McDermid

Murder Mystery in Edinburgh     

My Rating:  4 out of 5     


This mystery thriller starts with the discovery that a boy injured in a car crash has familial DNA relating to an unsolved crime of 20+ years ago.  Whilst trying to solve that case, DCI Karen Piout-of-boundsrie of the Historic Cases Unit, along with her food loving assistant  Jason ‘the Mint’ Murray,  gets herself involved in the current case of a man found dead in a park.  A web of intrigue follows, cleverly woven into an easy to follow story which builds in momentum as DCI Pirie refuses to be told what she can and can’t investigate and goes well outside of her remit in order to seek justice for those unable to speak for themselves.

In addition to a great story, there is lots of information about Edinburgh, and a multitude of fascinating detail into matters such as DNA, the IRA bombings and other areas that I can’t mention without giving some of the plot away!  The book is set very much in the current time; Donald Trump and Nicola Sturgeon both get a mention, and there is an thought provoking sub-story about a group of Syrian refugees.

This is the first novel I’ve read by Val McDermid (I loved her non-fiction book  Forensics: The Anatomy of Crime), and it should have been deserving of a 5* rating for the quality of the story, the writing and all the interesting peripheral details.  However I’ve rated it as a 4* as it wasn’t until pretty late in the book that I started to really care about the outcome of DCI Pirie’s  investigations.  There was no gore, and the murders happened “off scene” so suitable for everyone who loves crime thrillers.

I understand that this is the 4th book in the DCI Karen Pirie series (and Val McDermid’s 30th novel).  It works very well as a stand alone book, and DCI Pirie is an interesting character that may well draw me back to find out more about her past by reading previous books in the series.

See also:  Forensics:  The Anatomy of Crime  by Val McDermid

3 replies »

  1. Hi Emma,

    I can’t believe I have only read a couple of Val’s books when I enjoy her writing so much – It really is simply a case of “so many books so little time”

    Scottish authors in general seem to write excellent crime thrillers, but then they do have a wonderful landscape from which to draw their inspiration.

    I really like the cover art on this version of the book and thanks for sharing your thoughts so clearly 🙂


    Liked by 1 person

  2. I loved Forensics but haven’t read many of her fiction titles either, which I should really correct starting with this one as it looks like a really good read! Great review 🙂


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