Top positive review
A darker domain
1 March 2019
A Darker Domain
This is the second in Val McDermid’s series of books featuring DI Karen Pirie. In the first book “The Distant Echo” Pirie is more a peripheral character than a lead but obviously since then McDermid has spotted potential in the character and has developed her further. As a consequence there is scope in this book to build Pirie’s back story.
Pirie is lead detective in the Cold Cases squad of Fife Police. A case referred to her is a Missing Persons Report of a Miner last seen by his family 22 years previously during the Miners Strike. It was thought he had gone to Nottingham to work in the pits there. Scabbing was persona non grata in the mining community and he was disowned by his family. Now the indications are that he did not break the strike.
At the same time new evidence has been uncovered in an unsolved kidnapping. Family members of one of Scotland’s richest men were kidnapped and one was killed in the ransom transfer. The kidnappers escaped with the ransom and the second kidnap victim was never found. Pirie is assigned the case by a reluctant senior officer and soon discovers that the police response at a higher level to victims with money and power is very different to that experienced by an ordinary member of the public. Set between Fife and the Tuscany region of Italy the parallel cases start to unwind and end up being inextricably linked in a way that almost ends Pirie’s career
There is a five year gap between the first book in this series and the second. The first is a bleak story focusing on police efforts to solve a case in a particular way irrespective of what the evidence says and where it leads them. The second is brighter albeit the subject matter is sombre highlighting the positive activities of a female police officer within a male dominated force and community. It is very hard not to root for DI Karen Pirie.