Broken ground

Val McDermid

Book - 2018

When a body is discovered in the remote depths of the Highlands, DCI Karen Pirie finds herself in the right place at the right time. Unearthed with someone's long-buried inheritance, the victim seems to belong to the distant past - until new evidence suggests otherwise, and Karen is called in to unravel a case where nothing is as it seems. It's not long before an overheard conversation draws Karen into the heart of a different case, however - a shocking crime she thought she'd already prevented. As she inches closer to the twisted truths at the centre of these murders, it becomes clear that she's dealing with a version of justice terrifyingly different to her own.

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Mystery fiction
Detective and mystery fiction
New York : Atlantic Monthly Press 2018.
Main Author
Val McDermid (author)
First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition
Physical Description
422 pages ; 24 cm
Contents unavailable.
Review by Booklist Review

*Starred Review* What is left to be said in praise of Val McDermid? After 32 novels, she is a master of her craft and has earned her place in the exclusive group of crime writers who have been awarded the UK's Cartier Diamond Dagger for lifetime achievement. Her style has been described as muscular, her characters as brawny, and her dialect beefy. These qualities abound in this fourth entry in the DI Karen Pirie series (after Out of Bounds, 2016). Pirie, who heads the cold-cases unit in urban Fife, Scotland, finds plenty of use for the wellies and cagoule (raincoat) that she keeps in the boot of her car when she ends up on a Highland peat bog, where a body wearing 1995 Nikes has been unearthed by treasure hunters looking for WWII loot. While fending off her superior's attempts to sabotage her work, she is also investigating a series of vicious rapes that occurred in the late eighties and has been drawn into a peculiar domestic stabbing. McDermid moves the reader deftly back and forth in time as her dab hand allows the indomitable Pirie to bring the dead home. --Jane Murphy Copyright 2018 Booklist

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

In McDermind's fine fourth novel featuring Edinburgh Det. Chief Insp. Karen Pirie (after 2016's Out of Bounds), Alice and Will Somerville, a married couple, set out on a treasure hunt in the Scottish Highlands. They have a map to guide them to the spot where Alice's grandfather buried two American motorcycles in protective boxes in 1944 when he was serving in the British army. To their surprise, they discover a body along with the motorcycles in the peat. When Pirie is called to the scene-a rarity for a cold case detective, getting to see the body in situ-she realizes the peat's preservation properties have worked in her favor. A forensic anthropologist identifies the victim as a professional athlete, who disappeared around 1995, based on his shoes. But even with a name, reconstructing a decades-old murder is tricky, and this time there's a lot of pressure from above to solve it. Meanwhile, Pirie becomes embroiled in a contemporary crime involving domestic violence. As always, McDermid's story lines are as richly layered as her protagonist. Agent: Jane Gregory, David Higham Assoc. (U.K.) (Dec.) © Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Review by Library Journal Review

McDermid's (A Place of Execution) heroine, gutsy cold-case investigator DCI Karen Pirie, looks into the discovery of a body unearthed in a peat bog in the Scottish Highlands, along with two World War II-era motorcycles. The body, however, wears Nike tennis shoes and was obviously buried later. Pirie is also involved in a domestic violence case as well as dealing with her jealous superior who wants to force her out of the unit. McDermid handles the various details with aplomb, managing a multilayered plotline that glides between past and present with vivid, atmospheric prose that highlights descriptions of the Scottish countryside. Narrator Cathleen McCarron gives an excellent performance, capturing the mood of the novel and providing Scottish accents. VERDICT Crime fiction fans will enjoy. ["Fans of Tana French and Ian Rankin will be delighted": LJ 11/1/18 review of the Atlantic Monthly hc.]--Phillip Oliver, formerly with Univ. of North Alabama, Florence

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Review by Kirkus Book Review

The accidental discovery of a body is the starting point for the latest mystery featuring the Scottish cold-case detective Karen Pirie.Karen is still working in the historical crimes unit and recovering from the death of her lover. Her burden is made heavier because her boss, using Karen's tendency to flout the rules as an excuse, wants to get rid of her. To that end, she's made an addition to Karen's unit, an arrogant cop meant to function as a snitch. When a woman decides to unearth the two vintage American motorcycles her grandfather buried near the end of World War II, she gets a surprise when she finds a body (preserved by the surrounding peat bog) where the second bike should be. Karen's investigation predictably leads her to trouble when clues point to a well-regarded property developer out to benefit those on the lower economic rung. The novel is laced with details about the difficultiesand the priceof life in Edinburgh, and this feeds nicely into the part of the plot that deals with the developer who becomes a suspect. A subplot about domestic violence, though it involves settings introduced earlier in the series, takes over the book just as the plot about the body buried in the bog is gearing up. One of the best things about this series is the details of Karen's working life, the obstacles as well as the satisfactions, and the small pleasures of her off hours.The mystery itself has a stop-start rhythm, but as a novel about the too-consuming work life many of us lead, it's timely and recognizable. Copyright Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.