Review by Booklist Review
McDermid, whose first crime series in 1987 featured journalist Lindsay Gordon, now returns to smoky newsrooms with her new series. Set in 1979, it stars reporter Allie Burns, who finds herself trapped at her desk at the Scottish daily The Clarion, churning out "miracle baby stories" and similar items of presumed interest to female readers. Determined to break out of that rut, Allie manages to team up with investigative reporter Danny Sullivan on a story involving tax dodgers and Scottish ultranationalists willing to go to extreme lengths to gain independence from the UK. McDermid was a journalist living and working in Glasgow in 1979, and she does a great job of capturing the atmosphere of the time--especially the brutal winter beset by strikes and power cuts and seething with political unrest--and she enlivens the narrative with much "tabloidese" and her customary generous usage of Scottish idioms, like "I could eat a scabby dog." This absorbing tale ends with the promise of more about Allie from one of the UK's masters of crime fiction.
From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission.
Review by Publisher's Weekly Review
Set in 1979, this sterling series launch from McDermid (Still Life) introduces Allison "Allie" Burns, a new reporter for the Clarion newspaper in Glasgow. Fresh from Cambridge University, Allie impresses her colleague Danny Sullivan with her writing talent, and they become friends. The two share a desire to cover a big story rather than the lightweight pieces they're assigned. Feminism has yet to make its mark on women in the workplace, and Allie is thwarted by men in the newsroom who don't take her seriously. But Allie's star rises after Danny discovers a national money laundering scheme and he enlists her help with the investigation. She then discovers a secret IRA cell in Belfast looking for weapons, and she and Danny are caught in a dangerous situation resulting in another lead story. The mutual attraction between Allie and Clarion editor Rona Dunsyre provides some romantic heat. McDermid does an excellent job capturing a time in Scotland's history fraught with political unrest, IRA terrorism, and labor strikes that nearly paralyze the country. Fans will look forward to seeing more of the highly capable Allie. Agent: Jane Gregory, David Higham Assoc. (U.K.) (Oct.)
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Review by Library Journal Review
Eager to move beyond the women's stories her Glasgow newspaper keeps assigning her, Allie Burns begins working with aspiring investigative journalist Danny Sullivan. They find big stories, from international tax fraud to a Scottish terrorist group planning to wreak havoc before the devolution referendum. But while they make waves, they also make them enemies. Then Danny is murdered. From Cartier Diamond Dagger Award McDermid.
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Review by Kirkus Book Review
A pair of cub reporters find their way into trouble with investigative stories that they hope will make their careers. The 35th novel and first new series in 20 years from McDermid, a queen of the genre in Britain, introduces Allie Burns, a talented and brave spitfire of a journalist in her mid-20s who's trying to work her way up the pecking order in the man's world of a tabloid newspaper called the Glasgow Daily Clarion--no matter how many times per week she has to remind some condescending male that she's not his "darling." "One adult in two in Scotland reads the Clarion," announces the paper's slogan, and the wags in the office add, "The other one cannae read." McDermid, who worked in Glasgow as a reporter in the year of the title, has supplemented her memories with a great deal of research and background reading. It was the year from hell for that city, with cataclysmic winter weather, strikes, and terrorist threats, but for ambitious reporters like Allie and her colleague Danny Sullivan, 27, any kind of trouble is an opportunity. When Danny finds out that his creepy brother is involved in a large-scale insurance-fraud scheme benefiting the richest men in the country, he digs in like a private investigator, lifting keys, unlocking drawers, and assuming made-up identities to conduct interviews with suspects. Aware that he's not much of a writer, he enlists Allie's help early on, partly because she's known for her sparkling prose but also because he needs help thinking things through, hoping to find a way to protect his brother from the fallout. For their next trick, Allie and Danny get themselves involved with a group of somewhat dopey wannabe terrorists who hope to model a Scottish independence movement on the IRA's example. The bad guys are not the only ones with secrets, though. The plot is engrossing, the period atmosphere brilliant, and who can ever get enough of the way Scottish people talk? Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.
Copyright (c) Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.