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The Distant Echo by Val McDermid
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The Distant Echo (2003)

by Val McDermid

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Karen Pirie (0)

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English (27)  Swedish (1)  German (1)  All (29)
Showing 1-5 of 27 (next | show all)
first time reading val mcdermid and i enjoyed it. love the settings and the characters are interesting enough. the mystery didn't stump me... figured it out pretty early on. but that didn't matter. the book jumps around in time and place, so if you like linear narratives, you may not like this format. took awhile for karen pirie to appear in the plot. ( )
  Booktrovert | Oct 8, 2017 |
Four friends are returning home after a night of revelry. Taking a shortcut through the local cemetery, they discover a new-dead woman. As three remain to comfort and try to help the woman, the fourth races off to get help from the local police. This sets into motion a series of events that will change these young men forever and haunt them the rest of their lives.
The police are suspicious of the young men and begin to take their lives apart. Talking to their friends, searching their home and turning a blind-eye to local hoodlums taking their own justice – these actions mark the 4 men as suspects though the police can find no evidence that they were responsible, thus branding them in the minds of the townpeople as murderers.

Now, 25 years later, the police department is performing a review of cold cases in the hope that advances in DNA analysis will finally solve these crimes. And, again, the men are considered suspects.

This story was good though the local police force seemed more inept and bumbling than usual. It was also billed as #1 in the Karen Pirie series though she has a very small part in the story. The book was well-written and had a good pace. The author put out enough clues that you could solve along as the story unfolded (though the actual killer was kind of obvious early on)

Rating: 3.75 ( )
  bhabeck | Mar 19, 2017 |
In 1978, four young university students are suspects in the murder of nineteen year old Rosie Duff. With no real evidence against them or anyone else, suspicion would follow them and change their lives forever. Twenty-five years later, the case would be re-opened as a cold case. This time, however, they would begin dying under suspicious circumstances. Clearly someone has decided them guilty of Rosie's murder and is exacting retribution.
I thought this book was very well written and easy to read. It held my interest until the very ending which was quite a surprise and very exciting. I loved all the characters and thought they were well-drawn and the plot was very unique. It wasn't too hard to guess the killer but I think the real purpose of Val McDermid writing the book was to show "the poisonous nature of suspicion and guilt and the reverberation of damage through the lives of people touched by murder."
I don't think you can really consider this book as book 1 of the Karen Pirie series as it was written 5 years before the 2nd book and was probably intended to be a standalone. Karen Pirie was not in the book until the middle and the ending. The series therefore seems to me as an afterthought. I will, however, be reading the rest of the Karen Pirie series and I highly recommend this book to those who like mysteries with surprise endings. ( )
  EadieB | Mar 8, 2017 |
[The Distant Echo] by Val McDermid
Karen Pirie series Book #1
4 stars

From The Book:
It was a winter morning in 1978, that the body of a young barmaid was discovered in the snow banks of a Scottish cemetery. The only suspects in her brutal murder were the four young men who found her: Alex Gilbey and his three best friends. With no evidence but her blood
on their hands, no one was ever charged.

Twenty five years later, the Cold Case file on Rosie Duff has been reopened. For Alex and his friends, the investigation has also opened old wounds, haunting memories-and new fears. For a stranger has emerged from the shadows with his own ideas about justice. And revenge.

When two of Alex's friends die under suspicious circumstances, Alex knows that he and his innocent family are the next targets. And there's only way to save them: return to the cold-blooded past and uncover the startling truth about the murder. For there lies the identity of an avenging killer.

My Thoughts:
I was supposed to be the first book in the Karen Pirie series but actually Karen had very little to do with the entire book. She never even made a showing until the second half of the book and then she was a ghostly part of the story. That aside...the book was a fairly good read. Not as good as McDermid's Tony Hill/Carol Jordan books but still very readable. I think if you hadn't been looking for Karen to make an appearance the story would have had much more appeal. The writing is very good...the story is plausible... and the main characters are well developed and realistic. You can't help wondering what anyone would do if they suddenly were thrown into a similar situation. It all comes together in the end, no strings left untied. I can recommend this book to anyone that loves a well told mystery...just don't think of it as a series. ( )
  Carol420 | Mar 8, 2017 |
I've given one of Val McDermid's books another try , but once more it didn't happen for me. I think I'm off Val McDermid for good...

Predictable from beginning to end. Without giving away any spoilers, I think it's safe to say that the culprit is quite obvious...

What I really don't like about McDermid's is her inability to draw us in. I just feel I'm reading an exercise on how to deceive the reader. She deliberately ommits vital peaces of information in order to lead us on. I say this in the worst possible sense ... I love (good) crime fiction (for instance, R. J. Ellory, Michael Connelly, etc) and everytime I try one of her books, I just feel plain cheated. I really don't care for whodunits, and when they're quite as unsatisfying as this one, by the end of the book, I feel I've wasted my time.

Compare this book with the latest Ellory's book "A Dark and Broken Heart" (see my review) and you'll see what I mean. ( )
  antao | Dec 10, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
McDermid, Valprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Capaldi, PeterReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
I now describe my country as if to strangers.
-from Deacon Blue's "Orphans,"
lyrcis by Ricky Ross
Dedication
For the ones who got away; and for the others, particularly the Thursday Club, who the getaway possible
First words
November 2003; St. Andrews, Scotland
He always liked the cemetery at dawn.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0312994834, Mass Market Paperback)

Bestselling, award-winning author Val McDermid delivers her most stunning story yet in The Distant Echo---an intricate, thought-provoking tale of murder and revenge
 
It was a winter morning in 1978, that the body of a young barmaid was discovered in the snow banks of a Scottish cemetery. The only suspects in her brutal murder were the four young men who found her: Alex Gilbey and his three best friends. With no evidence but her blood
on their hands, no one was ever charged.

Twenty five years later, the Cold Case file on Rosie Duff has been reopened. For Alex and his friends, the investigation has also opened old wounds, haunting memories-and new fears. For a stranger has emerged from the shadows with his own ideas about justice. And revenge.

When two of Alex's friends die under suspicious circumstances, Alex knows that he and his innocent family are the next targets. And there's only way to save them: return to the cold-blooded past and uncover the startling truth about the murder. For there lies the identity of an avenging killer...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:07:28 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

St. Andrews' medical student Alex Gilbey and his three best friends stumble across the dying body of a young woman and instantly become the chief suspects. Twenty-five years later, the case is reopened and it seems that someone is taking revenge.

» see all 5 descriptions

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