Out of Bounds by Val McDermid

‘Out of Bounds’ is Val McDermid’s 4th Novel featuring DCI Karen Pirie.

Karen is still coming to terms with the death of the man she loved, Phil Parhatka. During the day, she has thrown herself back into her job as head of the Historic Crime Unit. But, at night, Karen struggles to sleep and walks the streets of Edinburgh to try to exhaust herself.

Her most recent case has come about through a tragic accident. 18 year old Ross Garvie was drunk and joyriding in a stolen car when he crashed the car, killing his 3 friends and leaving him in a coma. A routine DNA test has revealed that Garvie is related to the rapist and murderer of Tina MacDonald 20 years ago. But finding Garvie’s relatives proves to be more difficult than expected. Karen and her co-worker DC Jason Murray (the Mint) fill their time with other cases while waiting for the wheels to turn.

Karen finds herself reviewing a current case. Gabriel Abbott appears to have committed suicide but when Karen discovers that his mother Caroline was murdered 22 years ago she is intrigued. The light plane in which Caroline and 3 others were travelling was blown up and the case was never solved. A lot of things run in families but murder isn’t one of them, so Karen feels that there must be a link.

Meanwhile, on her walks Karen has befriended some Iraqi refugees who she is keen to help find a place and purpose in their new country.

Can Karen solve three separate murder cases while helping her new friends, fending off her hostile boss and coming to terms with the death of her beloved partner?


This was an enjoyable novel. It was not as action packed as some of McDermid’s novels, but still a great read.

The characters were excellent from Karen and her friends, through to her hostile superiors. Karen and Jason were both great characters to get to know.

When I read ‘The Skeleton Road’, I thought it was a standalone novel, so I was delighted to see Karen Pirie back for this one. I have only just found out that this is number 4 in a series, so I am keen to read number 1 ‘The Distant Echo’ and number 2 ‘A Darker Domain’.


Book Published 2016


See a full list of books by Val McDermid


Filed under Book Reviews, Crime, Detective, McDermid, Val, Series Fiction, Thriller

2 Responses to Out of Bounds by Val McDermid

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