Out of Bounds by Val McDermid
It has been a while since I read a Val McDermid novel, so I was delighted when she got to the top of my ‘to be read’ pile. Out of Bounds is a 2016 crime drama novel by Scottish crime writer Val McDermid. The novel is set during 2016 but because the main detective is in the Historic Case Unit the crimes being investigated were actually committed in 1994 and 1996.
Four booze-addled teenagers and a stolen Landrover Defender result in DNA being traced that reveals a family link to an unsolved rape and murder some 20 years before. From the department of Scottish cold cases enters DCI Karen Pirie, insomniac scourge of villains who are foolish enough to think they have got away with murder. DCI Karen Pirie, on her fourth outing here, has an unorthodox approach to chasing evil-doers which frequently puts her at odds with her clunky male superiors. She is surrounded by dunderheads. Her second in command is particularly dense. However, she has a soft spot for him because he buys her donuts and presents no threat. Her Assistant Chief Constable is a different kettle of fish and Pirie has her work cut out trying to sidestep the curve balls he regularly sends in her direction.
The DNA lead is just one of a number of challenges that she must pursue. Her nocturnal rambles regularly take her past a group of Syrian refugees who gather together at night by an Edinburgh canal in the absence of anywhere more congenial in daylight hours, which adds a genuine note of pathos and timeliness. Finding somewhere for them to congregate is added to Pirie’s to-do list, alongside tracking down the DNA suspect and unravelling another historic conundrum involving a planeful of famous folk who were killed when it mysteriously exploded midair decades previously.
McDermid’s grasp of police procedural is both slick and assured and the helpful contacts Pirie has moves the story along nicely. I very much enjoyed Out of Bounds and highly recommend it. Several other novels by Val McDermid are reviewed on this site, including: Cross and Burn, https://bookreviewstoday.info/2016/12/27/cross-and-burn-by-val-mcdermid/, Torment of Others, https://bookreviewstoday.info/2013/05/16/torment-of-others-by-val-mcdermid/ and The Skelton Road, https://bookreviewstoday.info/2016/07/09/the-skeleton-road-by-val-mcdermid/. I will not leave it so long before I treat myself to another outing with a novel by Val McDermid.