The first novel in the bestselling Karen Pirie series
The award-winning Number One bestseller and Queen of crime fiction Val McDermid carves out a stunning psychological thriller. The past is behind them, but what’s still to come will tear them apart…
Some things just won’t let go.
The past, for instance.
That night in the cemetery.
The girl’s body in the snow.
On a freezing Fife morning four drunken students stumble upon the body of a woman in the snow. Rosie has been raped, stabbed and left for dead in an ancient Pictish cemetery. And the only suspects are the four young men now stained with her blood.
Twenty-five years later the police mount a ‘cold case’ review of Rosie’s unsolved murder and the four are still suspects. But when two of them die in suspicious circumstances, it seems that someone is pursuing their own brand of justice. For the remaining two there is only one way to avoid becoming the next victim – find out who really killed Rosie all those years ago…
Praise for The Distant Echo:
‘A classic … McDermid pulls out all the stops. Impeccable’ Guardian
‘A few more sly, old-fashioned whodunits like this and she’ll join the sturdy ranks of the queens of crime, on course to become Dame Val or Baroness McDermid’ Sunday Times
‘She has created some of the most appealing figures in current crime fiction. Val McDermid has used the crime genre to write a novel that, above everything else, celebrates life and loyalty’ TLS
‘A real page-turner and another McDermid triumph’ Observer
‘A powerful story of murder and revenge … an exciting page-turner’ Sunday Telegraph
Praise for Val McDermid:
‘The queen of crime’ Independent
'No one rivals Val McDermid’s skill at writing truly terrifying thrillers’ Good Housekeeping
‘The real mistress of psychological gripping thrillers' Daily Express
'McDermid's capacity to enter the warped mind of a deviant criminal is shiveringly convincing' The Times
‘Val McDermid is undoubtedly the queen of British crime’ Observer
'McDermid’s expertly juggled plotlines and masterful handling of pace and tension tick all the best boxes’ Guardian
‘The queen of crime is still at the top of her game’ Independent
‘One of today’s most accomplished crime writers’ Literary Review
‘Her writing is never less than excellent’ Crime Time
About the author
Val McDermid is a No.1 bestseller whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have sold more than sixteen million copies. She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009, was the recipient of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger in 2010 and received the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award in 2011. In 2016, Val received the Outstanding Contribution to Crime Fiction Award at the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Writing Festival. In 2017, she received the DIVA Literary Prize for Crime and was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature and the Royal Society of Edinburgh. She is also the patron of the Scottish Book Trust. Val writes full time and lives in Edinburgh and the East Neuk of Fife.
This absorbing psychological novel of revenge shows British author McDermid (A Place of Execution) at the top of her form. In part one, set in 1978 in St. Andrews, Scotland, four drunken male students, friends since childhood, stumble over the raped and stabbed body of a dying woman, Rosie Duff, while staggering home through a snow storm. Though her violent brothers are convinced of their guilt, no one is charged with Rosie's murder. In part two, 25 years later, the police hope new forensic technologies will solve the crime, and suddenly someone is stalking the four men, whose lives have been haunted and their relationships changed by the murder. Two die, supposedly by accident, and the remaining pair, Alex Gilbey and Tom Mackie, must find out what happened before they're killed, too. James Lawson, an assistant chief constable who was a junior cop in 1978, wants to close the case and avenge the death of his admired superior, DI Barney Maclennan, who fell from a cliff during the initial inquiry. When Graham Macfadyen, who claims he's Rosie's illegitimate son and also seeking revenge, contacts Lawson, the investigation takes a startling turn. Only the careful reader will anticipate the stunning conclusion, which makes perfect sense. Outstanding pacing, character and plot development, plus evocative place descriptions, make this another winner.
Great twist at the end, really enjoyed it.
I found this story hard to get into at the start. It was slow going. The supposed main character, Karen Pirie, hardly got a look in. It was a little confusing.
The last quarter of the book was much better. Not sure if I want to continue with the Karen Pirie series.
One of the best.
This was the novel that introduced me to the world of Val Mcdermid. Since then I haven't come across a book of hers I do not like. But this one in particular remains one of my favourites!