Out of Bounds by Val McDermid
I'm a great fan of Val McDermid's Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series, but this is only the second book I've read featuring Karen Pirie.
Head of the cold case division of Police Scotland, Karen uses work to keep her busy as she struggles with the loss of her partner. She likes her job and has an excellent reputation for solving difficult cases, but she also has a reputation for contravening authority is creative ways.
When a car crash leaves three young men dead and the young driver in a coma--a curious situation arises. The young man's DNA has a familial connection to a murder that occurred 22 years ago. The first complication arises when Karen realizes the young man was adopted, so tracing the familial connection will be more difficult.
While getting information about how to navigate the legal system to find out about the boy's biological father, Karen takes an interest in a case that a detective seems to be too eager to write off as a suicide.
The relationship between Karen and her second in command adds just the right touch of humanity. Jason provides the perfect foil for Karen; while he lacks Karen's sharp intelligence, his dedication and loyalty more than make up for it. McDermid's characters always feel genuine, her writing flows, and her complex plots have perfect pacing.
I'm all for more of Karen Pirie and will check the library for the two books I've missed.
Mystery/Suspense. 2016. 464 pages.
The Trespasser is Tana French's latest entry in the excellent Dublin Murder Squad series. Antoinette Conway (The Secret Place) and Stephen Moran (The Secret Place and Broken Harbor) take the lead, and the dialogue between these two is such a pleasure. Conway is a hard case with some justified paranoia, and Moran's ability to tone her down and offer new perspectives is spot on. They work to each other's strengths.
The Trespasser has a slow, thoughtful pace as Conway and Moran try to navigate the treacherous waters of a murder that at least one detective on the squad wants solved quickly with a predictable outcome. As Conway and Moran seek to give the case a more thorough investigation, they have to be cautious with their information.
French has the ability to toss in situations that keep the reader on edge about the outcome. About half way through, a situation occurs that really worried me, making me question so much of my first thoughts. Near the conclusion, another twist occurs. These aren't the kind of gaudy twists that you find in some books, they are plausible changes as a result of characters' thoughts and actions.
I've read and reviewed all of this series, and French never disappoints. Now--two more years before another book, and I've been wondering who will be featured. Breslin? Oooh, that makes me uneasy.
French is one of the best in the business.
Police Procedural. 2016. 449 pages.
The Lies Within by Jane Isaac is the third in the DI Will Jackman series by Jane Isaac, and I enjoyed it as much or more than the previous books. Isaac manages to write intriguing police procedurals that keeping me engaged with her characters as I try to determine the what, why, and who of the mystery.
The prologue is a trial scene in the present, but Chapter One flashes back about 10 months. Jackman has been seconded to a neighboring district to review some adult sexual offence cases when the murder of a young woman occurs that has similarities to two of the cases he has been reviewing. Although he is not in his home district, he asks to be assigned to the case.
The victim is the nineteen-year-old daughter of Grace Daniels. Devastated, Grace's despair and depression worry her family; Grace, consumed by grief, can't seem to return to a normal life. A chance connection with an old acquaintance provides some support, and Grace is able to move away from her fugue state. It is clear from the beginning that this new relationship is problematic.
Isaac concentrated more on Grace Daniels than on DI Jackman in this book. However, a character from the last book puts an awkward spin on Jackman's role in Leicestershire, and I'm curious to know if the character will make an appearance in future books.
A clever plot and well-drawn characters make this third entry in this series a winner.
Police Procedural. May 2, 2017. Print length: 288 pages.