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A Darker Domain by Val McDermid

A Darker Domain (original 2008; edition 2009)

by Val McDermid

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7003813,562 (3.55)40
Title:A Darker Domain
Authors:Val McDermid
Info:Harper Collins Publ. UK (2009), Perfect Paperback, 392 pages
Collections:Review book, Your library
Tags:Britain, crime fiction, review book

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A Darker Domain by Val McDermid (2008)

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English (34)  Dutch (2)  Swedish (1)  French (1)  All (38)
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
Karen leaned back in her chair, not liking the answer she came up with, but knowing there would be nothing better coming from the man opposite her. ‘You were a right bunch of fucking cowboys in the old days, weren’t you?’ There was no admiration in her tone.

I don't know what I expected but I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. I gather from a lot of comments and other reviews that this is one of McDermid's weaker offerings but I actually really enjoyed the mix of interlinking stories, each of which had it's own element of suspense:

The search for a donor that is compatible with a sick child.
The disappearance of a man who seemingly one day walks out on his family in the midst of the 1984 miners' strikes.
The journalist in search of a story.
The business oligarch in search of his peace of mind.
And DI Karen Pirie searching for the solutions to all of these puzzles.

As mentioned before, I'm not keen on reading gory tales or scary thrillers, and I was pleasantly surprised that the suspense - and there are oodles of suspense in this - was built not on gory facts but on characters and atmosphere. The elements of forensic detail just helped piece the clues together and follow the investigation.

So, yes, my apprehension of reading this was totally unwarranted - and yes, it was all in my head. Just as well, because having read this one I look forward to reading more by McDermid. It's is not just her writing style that made me hungry for more but also the setting - Kingdom of Fife - and the historical snippets. ( )
  BrokenTune | Aug 21, 2016 |
Belle Richards discovered something that would surely boost her journalistic career to the next level. She was dreaming of it becoming the next big story. She recognized the puppeteer posters, hidden in a run-down Italian villa in Tuscany, for what they were – the tools that had been used over twenty years before to communicate with Sir Brody Grant, making their demands to release his kidnapped daughter and grandson.

Collaterally, we have Misha who goes to DI Karen Pirie, part of the cold case team in Fife, to report a missing person – her dad – he went missing 22 years before. She’s thinking that if she finds him, he may be a match for the bone marrow transplant needed to save her son who has a rare disease. If he’s found, she’s hoping he will agree to help.

The premise is awesome. It was enjoyable to watch both Belle Richards and DI Karen Pirie work on clues of two separate instances which would eventually connect. It took a while because instead of going to the police, Belle had taken her documents directly to Sir Brody. The police would stall the process, but Sir Brody Grant, who lost his daughter and failed to get his grandson back, would provide all she needed to move the investigation forward. The novel had a heaping dose of suspense and the story was told alternatively from the present (2008) and 1984. However, the ending, which dropped off like lemmings over a cliff, was a disappointment. It felt rushed, confusing, and failed to answer some of my basic questions. Also, for those sensitive to language, the f-word was used multiple times. Rating: 2.5 out of 5. ( )
  FictionZeal | Apr 30, 2016 |
In1985, in Fife, Scotland, Catriona Grant and her infant son were taken by kidnappers who demanded that her wealthy father pay a huge ransom of cash and uncut diamonds to get her and his grandson back. Fearing that something would go wrong, Cat's father only reluctantly got the police involved in the handoff of the ransom. And, as it turned out, something did go terribly wrong on the beach that night, something that resulted in his daughter's death and the disappearance of his grandson.

Now, some twenty-three years later, Detective Karen Pirie, who was only a child at the time of the botched kidnapping, is head of Fife's Cold Case Review Team, a job she both enjoys and is very good at. The Catriona Grant kidnapping case, although it was never closed, is not being actively worked at present, but all that changes on the day that a young woman walks into the police station to report that her father is missing - and has been missing for twenty-three years. Intrigued by what the woman tells her, Karen decides on her own to classify this new case as a cold one – knowing full well that her superiors are going to explode when they learn that’s what she’s done - and begins to work on it before it can be assigned to another section.

In typical Val McDermid fashion, the missing person report opens up a can of worms involving numerous characters, side plots, and settings that keep the reader guessing until the very end. Detective Pirie, wondering why no one ever bothered to report Mick Prentice missing up to now, learns that the 1984 national miners' strike greatly influenced what happened to the missing man. With the discovery of evidence that seems linked to both the Grant kidnapping and to the missing man, Pirie jumps at the chance to work to work the two cases simultaneously – whether her boss knows it or not. The best thing she has going for her is that the two cases occurred within weeks of each other, meaning that the background information she gathers on one case often helps on the other. As the two cases begin to overlap more and more, Pirie begins to understand that many people are still paying the price for what happened on one terrible 1985 night, and that they will do anything to keep their secrets hidden.

If they haven't already read this 2009 standalone novel, Val McDermid fans will do well to find themselves a copy of A Darker Domain and get to it. This highly atmospheric novel also makes a good introduction to McDermid's work for fans of the genre who may still know her only by reputation. ( )
  SamSattler | Apr 16, 2016 |
It was entertaining, but only so much. As another reviewer said, the Big Reveal was pretty obvious from very early on, and the author did not really make an effort other than to have one of the actors describe it all in an implausibly detailed letter. ( )
  flint_riemen | Jun 14, 2015 |
A miner goes missing 25 years previously but is only reported missing in the present 25 years later. This is a search for him and what really happened...oh this book I just could not put down! I am a book seller and I was listing books and picked this one up and opened the first page (yes, a book seller loves to read!) and couldn't stop reading it. I got right into it and I know you will too! Take a chance on this book-its a great read! ( )
  diananagy | Jul 5, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
'McDermid mengt politieke achtergronden met een sterke plot die tal van verrassingen verbergt. Een van de beste thrillers van het voorjaar.'
added by Clouwriter | editHet Nieuwsblad

» Add other authors (13 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Val McDermidprimary authorall editionscalculated
Fraser, EilidhNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Lee, WillCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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This book is dedicated to the memory of Meg and Tom McCall, my maternal grandparents. They showed me love, they taught me about community, and they never forgot the shame of standing in line at a soup kitchen to feed their bairns. Thanks to them, I grew up loving the sea, the woods and the works of Agatha Christie. No small debt.
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The voice is soft, like the darkness that encloses them.
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McDermid’s latest is a stand-alone set in Fife, Scotland. Detective Inspector Karen Pirie, newly appointed head of the Cold Case squad, has a hard time with desk work, so when a woman reports her father missing and last seen in 1984, Pirie can’t resist. But her boss, a paper pusher known as the Macaroon, wants Karen in the office, at least until Bel, an investigative journalist, turns up new evidence in a 20-year-old heiress kidnap case. As Karen and Bel investigate, friends’ and family members’ memories of the missing people are delivered as flashbacks, resulting in short chapters, multiple viewpoints, and a moderately quick pace. As Karen’s two cases seem to converge, the complex and layered plotlines come together, and McDermid does an excellent job creating tension around a cold case.
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More than twenty years after the 1984 national miners' strike in Scotland, Cold Case Review Team Inspector Karen Pirie stumbles across new evidence that links the cases of a missing strikebreaker and a kidnapping gone wrong.

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