At the outset of Scottish author McDermid’s engaging if at times overstuffed third Karen Pirie novel (after 2014’s The Skeleton Road), 17-year-old Ross Garvie and three mates steal a Land Rover after a night of drinking in Dundee. The subsequent high-speed crash on the Perth road kills his friends and leaves Garvie in a coma. Pirie, head of Police Scotland’s tiny Historic Cases Unit in Edinburgh, is intrigued when Garvie’s DNA is a familial match to the 20-year-old unsolved rape and murder case of a Glasgow hairdresser. Complications ensue when Pirie tries to track down Garvie’s male relatives. Meanwhile, Pirie is hung up on the death of Fife man Gabriel Abbott and how his death is—or isn’t—linked to that of his mother in a plane crash 22 years earlier, though it’s not Pirie’s case. Authorities assumed the plane exploded due to an IRA bomb, but Pirie isn’t so sure. Pirie, a tough heroine cut from the same cloth as McDermid’s other fictional stalwart, Carol Jordan, never backs down from a thorny question or a seemingly impossible case. Agent: Jane Gregory, Gregory & Company. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 10/24/2016 Release date: 12/01/2016 Genre: Fiction
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