The Distant Echo

Narrated by: Gerard Doyle
Length: 7 hrs and 16 mins
4 out of 5 stars (200 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

The best-selling, award-winning author of A Place of Execution delivers her most stunning story yet: an intricate, thought-provoking tale of murder and revenge.

Four in the morning, mid-December, snow blankets St. Andrews School. Student Alex Gilbery and his three best friends are staggering home from a party when they stumble upon the body of a young woman.

Rosie Duff has been raped, stabbed, and left for dead in the ancient Pictish cemetery. The only suspects are the four young students stained with her blood.

Twenty-five years later, police mount a cold-case review. Among the unsolved murders they're examining is that of Rosie Duff. But someone else has his own idea of how justice should be done.

One of the original quartet dies in a suspicious house fire. Soon after, a second is killed in what looks like a burglary gone sour. Alex fears the worst. Someone is taking revenge for Rosie Duff. He has to find out who it is before he becomes the next victim. And it might just save his life if he can uncover who killed Rosie all those years ago.

©2003 Val McDermid (P)2003 Audio Renaissance

Critic Reviews

"This absorbing psychological novel of revenge shows British author McDermid at the top of her form....Outstanding pacing, character and plot development, plus evocative place descriptions, make this another winner." (Publishers Weekly)
"Masterful mixing of forensic science with brisk plots and in-depth characterization." (Booklist)
"Cunningly plotted." (The New York Times Book Review)

What listeners say about The Distant Echo

Average Customer Ratings
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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Engrossing plot with excellent narration

This was a fun read--the plot kept my attention but the best part was narration, which was excellent--particularly the true-to-character brogue.

I'd like to see more books by this author and narrator on Audible.

19 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Edge-of-your-Seat Thriller

I was looking for a mystery novel, and I got more than I bargained for, in the good way! Once I started listening I couldn't stop. McDermid really gets you involved with and caring about the characters concisely and with wit. That seems to be the heart and soul of the book - getting the listener to love the characters.

The reader is excellent and I plan to seek out more books read by Gerard Doyle.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars

Very Good

While at first this seems to be your typical murder mystery, it ends up being a very good listen. I'd rate it 4.5 if allowed, so I rounded up.

The story and the characters are developed very well. The dialogue is good and keeps you interested. I do recommend!

5 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

A Whole Lot of Wrapping Up!

This was good… Not great mind you, but no way bad. It's an intriguing puzzle mystery with abrupt twists and each piece fitting neatly at the end. Plus it doesn't drag with Gerard Doyle doing his expected job of vivid character creation through voices filled with … this time … burr-ing Scottish.

Unfortunately McDermid left himself with ends that weren't just loose but dangling and in a sort of pseudo epilogue the remaining characters do a lot of 'splain'in' to one another to tie things together. And they do, and that's cool. I'll probably listen to another McDermid, especially if he teams with Doyle.

Should you read it? Damned if I know. Knowing what I know now, I'd probably buy it anyway. Hmm. Yeah, definitely.

7 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

Not among the best but well plotted

Tale of four friends accused of rape and murder. Hard to find someone to root for. Listened to the end out of mild curiosity. The solution to the crime was fascinating, but the ending wasn’t well paced.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Another Excellent Suspense Story in Scotland

After reading the 4th book in the Karen Pirie series I had to go back and start with Book 1. The Distant Echo took a long time to 'introduce' Pirie so it isn't clear to me why it became Book 1 in the series. I don't think the author was intending to do a series on Karen Pirie at this point but I'm glad she did. This book highlights Jimmy Lawson, the beat cop, who was sitting in his car at the bottom of the hill where the murder occurred. By the time the murder is a cold case, 25 years later, Jimmy is the supervisor of the police station and oversees the investigation. Karen Pirie is assigned the lead on the cold case but the entire book is about the four young men who found her body and became suspects by then beat cop Lawson. So, the entire book is about finding the real murderer and the suspense and investigatory skills of the four men is a wonder. It is a good book and leads to the next book in the Karen Pirie series. This book keeps the reader in suspense with changing clues and backward loops into the original murder. It is a very good book. The narrator is excellent with his Scottish accent.

1 person found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Can't put down

Very intriguing "read". I couldn't wait for my next commute to see what happened. Luckily I have a long commute so I didn't have to wait to long in anticipation.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

A Good Read

While not an outstanding contribution by this fairly prolific author, The Distant Echo is nevertheless a good read. The book has two of my three necessary ingredients, sex and violence. While it lacks the third, drugs, this element is more than ably substituted by lashings of booze.

While I won't be reading The Distant Echo again, soon, I can still highly recommend it as a quick, easy and literate experience.