Reviewer: Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter, Closure, Complicit & Crimson Shore (www.gillianhamer.com)
What we thought: A cold case enquiry lead by DCI Karen Pirie, who is faced with the unenviable task of identifying a skeleton found with a bullet hole in its skull in a hidden part of the roof of one of Edinburgh’s disused tallest buildings.
With no DNA, fingerprints or witnesses to call on, only the latest and most in-depth technical procedures can be used to try to piece together tiny fragments of physical evidence found at the scene. Forensics put the time of death around 8-10 years ago, and rate the chances of identifying the corpse – let alone the killer – as one in a million.
But Karen Pirie is not a woman to admit defeat, and bit-by-painstaking-bit she recreates the life of the long-dead victim, using dental work as her initial guide. The journey takes her out of the comfort of her own country, firstly into the grandeur of the University city of Oxford, and then even further afield to Eastern Europe.
As the victim’s past catches up with the present, and age-old conflicts raise their heads, it appears Karen is not the only person seeking the same killer. But will she solve the case and get to person in time? With her own world consumed with personal problems, Karen is in a battle against time to save further deaths - all born from revenge and a long-forgotten conflict.
I'm a huge fan of Val McDermid's writing, both in terms of writing excellence and story content. This was another gripping page turner from start to finish which I'd highly recommend.
You’ll enjoy this if you like: Ian Rankin, Peter James, Peter May.
Avoid if you don’t like: Cold cases, the Balkans, retribution and lies.
Ideal accompaniments: Stewed meat (locally caught) with rice and flatbread, washed down with vodka and apple juice.
Genre: Crime Fiction