I’d only ever heard good things about Val McDermid’s work. At the end of last year I caught a really interesting TV programme on BBC: Serial Killers: The Women Who Write Crime Fiction. (I only realised very recently how much I tend to favour female crime writers-Belinda Bauer, Chelsea Cain, Kate Atkinson…)
The show featured several prominent female crime writers- such as Patricia Cornwell, Nicci French (actually a husband and wife duo, who knew!) and Val McDermid- documenting their writing and research methods. Fascinating. I loved that once McDermid comes up with her ideas, she works alongside forensic specialist Professor Sue Black for maximum authenticity. Ever since Bones I have been obsessed with forensics. I just had to give one of her books a go!
I thought I’d start with one of her latest series’ (only because it’s one of the easiest to get my hands on)- the distant echo (Karen Pirie #1). It’s December, 1978 in a bitterly cold St Andrews, Fife, when a drunken group of four students stumble upon fatally wounded Rosie Duff; raped, stabbed and left for dead in the frozen cemetery. Fingers are firmly pointed towards them. Fast forward to today, and the unsolved cold case is re-opened by Fife police. But who was really responsible for such an atrocity? And to what lengths will they go to ensure they are never found out?
What a fabulous little thriller this is. I had high expectations of McDermid and I wasn’t disappointed. Admittedly, I called it quite early on (probably more a sign that I need to lay off the crime/thrillers for a bit) but it didn’t detract from my enjoyment of the story at all. I’m looking forward to reading what’s next for Karen Pirie.