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Out of Bounds    by Val McDermid order for
Out of Bounds
by Val McDermid
Order:  USA  Can
Atlantic Monthly Press, 2016 (2016)
Hardcover, CD, e-Book
* * *   Reviewed by Hilary Williamson

I've long been a fan of Val McDermid's thrillers, from her early mystery series featuring PI Kate Brannigan to her serial chillers starring scruffy psychological profiler Tony Hill and intuitive detective Carol Jordan. I last encountered cold case investigator Karen Pirie in A Darker Domain, and believe I've missed others of her outings, a matter to be remedied.

The story opens on a group of drunk, young hooligans following their leader off a cliff - he's the only survivor (though in a coma) after they steal a car and crash it. When police run a blood alcohol test on the survivor, and do a routine DNA check, they get a familial hit on an open unsolved twenty-year-old rape murder of a young hairdresser. DCI Karen Pirie and the other half of her cold case team, DC Jason Murray, start digging.

Karen lost the love of her life (killed in the line of duty) months before and she walks off her grief, roaming the Edinburgh streets each evening after work. This leads to some interesting encounters. She also meets weekly with a close friend who alerts her to another case. In small town Kinross, paranoid Gabriel Abbott didn't make it home one evening after chatting with a friend in the pub - he was shot. And Gabriel's mother was also murdered two decades before, in a bombing blamed on the IRA, though this was never proven.

Karen being Karen, she pursues both cases, despite the insistence of her despised by-the-book boss (whom they nickname The Macaroon) that she cease and desist on the Abbott one. A very powerful newspaperman is connected to it and wants the investigation stopped. And someone takes that very seriously, trying to kill Karen. One case is stymied till Jason's fascination with zombies leads to solid evidence. The other is even more tricky but Karen nails it too - and justice is served.

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