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Publisher's Summary

Award-winning author Val McDermid offers up a suspense-filled stand-alone novel with A Darker Domain. Karen Pirie is the newly appointed Deputy Inspector of the Cold Case Unit, and her first investigation takes her 25 years into the past to the national miners’ strike. At the time, a kidnapping gone wrong left a small boy missing, but new evidence suggests he might still be alive. As Pirie delves deeper, she realizes the boy’s disapperance may be linked to another cold case involving a missing miner.

©2008 Val McDermid (P)2008 W.F. Howes, Ltd.

Critic Reviews

"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. Sure to be a hit with McDermid’s large fan base, it should also appeal to those who read other Scottish police mysteries, such as Stuart MacBride’s." (Booklist)

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
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Performance

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Story

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  • Overall
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  • Story

Bone Dry Cold Case Storytelling

I found this book so boring I just gave up. Many characters were so poorly defined and developed that it was hard to keep the names and backgrounds straight. Very little storytelling--but rather endless police detective interviews. After a while I found I couldn't care less. So much so that when I fell asleep I didn't even want to go back and find the spot where I had dropped off. That's when I knew that I had had enough and needed to return the title. Only recommended for diehard police procedural lovers--those who don't mind being talked at about the story rather than having it played out in action, character behavior and activity. Slow.

29 of 31 people found this review helpful

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Worst in series.

Good story at start but the twists and turns got silly. The ending was unsatisfying and abrupt. Great narration couldn't save the overall enjoyment.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

A pleasant surprise

The book itself is very good; it centers on a reporter and a British police officer solving a 20 year old killing and kidnapping.

The mysteries aren't particularly mysterious, but the whole story is very engaging and interesting, and the narration is excellent.

9 of 13 people found this review helpful

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  • Cameron
  • Anchorage, AK, United States
  • 04-18-12

McDermid writes another bestseller!!!

Val McDermid makes writing mysteries look easy. I loved this book, part of it was because my father was a smelterman and I remember the strikes and my Dad having to try and find work elsewhere, so that his family could eat. He was a union man til the day he died.
Past and present collide in this book. Fife, Scotland 1984, Mick Prentiss leaves during the National Miner's strike thinking he was a strikebreaker, he is despised though he never comes back, leaving his family behind. 23 years later, his daughter reports him missing
Fife, Scotland 1985, Kidnapped heiress Catriona Maclennan Grant is killed and her baby son vanishes when the ransom payoff goes horribly wrong. In 2008, a tourist in Tuscany stumbles upon dramatic new evidence that reopens the investigation.
Already immersed in the Prentice affair, Detective Karen Pirie, newly appointed head of the Cold Case Review Team, wants to make her mark with this second unsolved 1980s mystery. But two decades' worth of secrets are leading Pirie into a dark domain of violence and betrayal, a place darker than any she has previously entered.

6 of 9 people found this review helpful

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  • Bette
  • Gustine, CA, United States
  • 06-02-12

Too many characters, Too many situations

I've enjoyed Val's other books, but this one is extremely hard to follow. I kept going back a chapter to figure out who the new character was and how he fits into the story. The main story became too cluttered and the main storyline was often over-shadowed by other crisis, people, etc. I'm sorry to say, I gave up and didn't finish this book.

4 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

Union miner and capitalist spawn...a twisted tale

A rounded, complete mystery set in Scotland, with tentacles in Italy. A little far-fetched, perhaps, with two mysteries coinciding and intertwining, but told well, and read well by Eilidh Fraser. The head of the Cold Case Unit, Karen Pirie, investigates the reopened case of the kidnapping of the son of an important capitalist, but discovers it is connected to the disappearance of a union miner.

The characters and the settings are richly described and the mystery progresses with clarit...moreA rounded, complete mystery set in Scotland, with tentacles in Italy. A little far-fetched, perhaps, with two mysteries coinciding and intertwining, but told well, and read well by Eilidh Fraser. The head of the Cold Case Unit, Karen Pirie, investigates the reopened case of the kidnapping of the son of an important capitalist, but discovers it is connected to the disappearance of a union miner.

The characters and the settings are richly described and the mystery progresses with clarity and increasing depth. The tension between journalist, capitalist, striking union, and police is nicely defined. Family and office internecine conflicts feel agonizingly real and punitive and all are on display.

7 of 11 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Who's who?

Narrator does not offer distinct character voices. All the younger women sound the same. Hard to follow the plot when you don't know who is speaking. Too much telling. Prefer characters to move through surroundings following clue.

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  • Story

Very good

Wow! So much in this one book. I liked it.

The story jumps from the present to past events to describe events in real time as opposed to having someone relate them. Took a while for me to get used to especially as I was listening to the audiobook. It made me pay attention to the dates.

I enjoyed the story. How seemingly unrelated incidents set DI Perie against her boss and on a complicated journey involving kidnapping, murder (of course), puppets, Tuscany, the miners' strike, and a potential love interest. Good stuff!

The ending surprised me. It was abrupt and I wasn't expecting it. I'm looking forward to more about Karen and Phil.

The characters are well developed and the writing is excellent. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to read McDermid's work. This is my second and won't be my last.

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  • Linda
  • Bowie, MD, United States
  • 01-10-17

DI Pirie Didn't Quite Get Her Man

What??? I hated the ending. It just ended with no preamble or explanation. Case solved I guess. I love the writing style of Val McDermid and this book was very complex with lots of plot lines. There is the search for the missing miner from 1984 requested by his daughter who is seeking a match to save the life of her young son. Her father might be a match if he can be found. Mick Prentice has been missing since 1984. Then there's the query by Sir Brody seeking information about his kidnapped grandson from 1984. After Bel, an investigative reporter looking for her big break, finds a puppet poster she recognizes as the same kind of poster used by kidnappers in the Brody kidnapping, Sir Brody asks her to help him research the location where she found this new evidence and determine if it is relevant. Each chapter jumps from 2007, the date of the current events, back to 1984 and the happenings of the two missing people. It is quite intriguing and has the reader captured BUT then Sir Brody withdraws his quest from the police and tells DI Pirie to cease and desist, and she goes ballistic. She tries to figure out how to continue without being in conflict with his request. There is much in this story to like and right up to the end I was hoping for a final resolution. But, it seems that the author got to the end and then decided she was just tired of writing. Another chapter would have been appropriate I think. the book ended with a big question mark. Maybe the next book will put the final touches on this mystery BUT leaving the reader hanging doesn't work for me. So 4 stars. The narrator was excellent and I'll keep reading McDermid. She is a terrific mystery writer. Narrator Ellidh Fraser was excellent with her Scottish accent.

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Gaping plot hole

Am I the only one who caught it? Otherwise, good up till the last few chapters, with excellent portrayal of the '80s miners' strike. I felt that the author rushed through the last bits and couldn't be bothered to tie up loose ends and missed a major plot hole. The performance was overall okay, with a few overwrought moments.