1989 An Allie Burns novel

Val McDermid

Book - 2022

"A riveting thrill ride of a novel from a captivating new series, 1989 confirms internationally bestselling author Val McDermid as one of crime fiction's true masters. It's 1989 and journalist Allie Burns is growing up. Older and maybe wiser than the hustling young hack we met in 1979, she's running the northern news operation of the Sunday Globe, chafing at losing her role in investigative journalism and at the descent into the gutter of the UK tabloid media. But there'...s plenty to keep her occupied. The year begins with the memorial service for the victims of the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103, but Allie has barely filed her copy when she stumbles over a story about HIV/AIDS that will shock her into a major change of direction. The world of newspapers is undergoing a revolution, there's skullduggery in the medical research labs and seismic rumblings behind the Iron Curtain. When murder is added to this potent mix, Allie will be called upon to chase a story that will take her further afield than she'd ever planned, and force her to question all her old certainties"--

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McDermid, Val. Allie Burns novel ; 2.
Detective and mystery fiction
Thrillers (Fiction)
New York : Atlantic Monthly Press 2022.
First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition
Item Description
"First published in Great Britain in 2022 by Sphere an imprint of Little, Brown UK"--Title page veso.
Physical Description
416 pages ; 24 cm
Main Author
Val McDermid (author)
Review by Booklist Review

McDermid has fired up her time machine again and is taking us back to 1989. In her last novel, 1979 (2021), we met fledgling Glasgow journalist Allie Burns, who now lives in Manchester with her partner, fellow journalist Rona Dunsyre. The tale begins just two weeks after the Pan Am airline explosion over Lockerbie, Scotland. Margaret Thatcher's austerity program is paralyzing the UK; the Soviet Union is quaking at its foundations; and HIV/AIDS is running rampant everywhere. Allie truly loathes her boss, whom she notes is "competing with Murdoch in the dash for the sewer." His tabloid sabotages her attempt at an honest look at the desperate suffering of AIDS victims, the lack of care facilities, and the frightening experimental medications that are appearing on the market. In total disgust, Allie goes independent and, exploring what's happening behind the Iron Curtain, manages to get involved in a fake kidnapping/ransom scheme, finding herself in custody on the wrong side of the Berlin Wall, without her passport. And then there's the murder. Although these harrowing events are not exactly a relief from today's world situation, the author cleverly shows us how the past has set the context for the present. A riveting look backward from Scotland's Queen of Crime.

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

McDermid's stellar sequel to 2021's 1979 finds Allie Burns, now a seasoned journalist, removed from her investigative post at Glasgow's Clarion by its narcissistic owner to a post in Manchester, England. Resentful, she begins to rethink her future in journalism. After one of her best friends needlessly dies of AIDS, Allie determines to reveal what pharmaceutical companies are withholding from dying patients desperate for a drug that will prevent HIV from turning into AIDS. When Allie hears about labs in East Berlin having success with new drugs, she flies to West Germany to interview a scientist she thinks can help her, Colin Corcoran. Colin gets Allie past the East Berlin checkpoints and into the offices where classified information is stored. The catch is that she must swap identities with Colin's girlfriend so the girlfriend can escape East Berlin. In a heart-pounding episode, Allie is caught by the fearsome Stasi police. McDermid creates a vivid sense of doom in these scenes, which will stun readers. Allie's girlfriend, Rona, introduced in 1979, has grown into a marvelous character now integral to this powerful, addictive series. McDermid is writing at the top of her game. Agent: Jane Gregory, David Higham Assoc. (U.K.). (Oct.)

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

The CWA Gold- and Cartier Diamond Dagger-clad McDermid follows up 1979, the multi-starred opener in the "Allie Burns" series, with the idealistic investigative journalist running the northern news operation of the Sunday Globe and uncovering an urgent HIV/AIDS story.

(c) Copyright Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. Review by Kirkus Book Review

Scottish journalist Allie Burns reports on--and becomes entangled with--various gloomy events of 1989. It was the year between the Lockerbie bombing and the fall of the Berlin Wall. It was a year of increasing AIDS deaths and no progress on treatment. A year when nearly a hundred fans were trampled at a football match in Sheffield. It was the year of many depressing developments, and McDermid has made poor Allie Burns slog through many of them, with very little of the suspense that made 1979 (2021), the first installment of her series, a page-turner. Back in '79, Allie met a lovely woman and realized that she was gay, which was fun. In '89, Allie and Rona are living together in cozy domesticity, eating a lot of rolls and processed cheese. The villain of this book, whose murder we see orchestrated in a prologue, is Allie's boss, media mogul Ace Lockhart. Lockhart has bought the news organization Allie works for and fired everyone but her, but this is only the least of his many crimes. This character is so uniformly bad that it's almost funny. "That evening, there was a letter from a philanthropist he'd met a few times, seeking a donation to his charity supporting Ethiopian Jews still recovering from the famine. Lockhart screwed it into a ball and tossed it in the bin. He was choosy about the charities he supported; he couldn't see the point unless there was a way of finessing something in it for him." Of course he couldn't. He is a man who "seize[s] life by the throat," "snatch[es] opportunity from the jaws of defeat," and has many other clichés to embody, so don't waste his time with feckless famine victims. (The author will likely side with her character Rona here; when accused by Allie of mixing metaphors, she retorts "Oh, fuck off, Margaret Atwood.") The book's action climax takes place in East Germany, a setting so colorless and dull that two separate kidnappings can't raise the pulse of the narrative. Plodding mechanically and at undue length through her well-researched historical plot points, McDermid seems to have phoned this one in. When the playlist at the end of the book is the highlight, you know you've got problems. Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.

Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.