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The Distant Echo (Detective Karen Pirie, Book 1)


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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.


Winter of 1978, St. Andrews University, Scotland. Four drunken young students on their way home from a party stumble upon local barmaid Rosie Duff, who has been raped, stabbed, and left to die. Unable to save her, the men become suspects in the case but are never formally charged. The stigma and shame of the experience follows these men into their adult lives. About 25 years later, two of the four men have been murdered. The remaining two, Alex Gilbery and the Rev. Tom Mackie, must identify their friends' killer before they become the next victims of this revenge murder spree. Having grown up on the east coast of Scotland, where this story takes place, McDermid (Killing the Shadows) ably depicts St. Andrews. The cast of characters is almost too large to allow the reader to get to know and care about them. Still, McDermid keeps the suspense rising until the end, even after the astute reader will have figured out the killer's identity. Recommended for public libraries.-Jane la Plante, Minot State Univ. Lib., ND Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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

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. (Oct. 20) Forecast: The author has had an eager audience since A Place of Execution (2000) won a number of prestigious awards, including the Anthony and Macavity. Lacking the gruesome forensic detail of some of her other books, this latest should draw additional readers as well as viewers of the recent TV adaptation of her Gold Dagger-winning novel, The Mermaids Singing (1995). Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.

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