Out of Bounds by Val McDermid

Out of Bounds (Inspector Karen Pirie, #4)Out of Bounds by Val McDermid

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book is the 4th Karen Pirie novel, but it doesn’t matter whether or not you have read any of the previous instalments. This is the first of these books that I have read, and the characters are all well drawn out that you pick up the current thread very quickly. DCI Karen Pirie works in the “Historical Cases Unit”, i.e. the cold cases unit, so when some new evidence comes to light about a familial DNA link to an old murder, the case is then made a priority. Karen has been dealing with a recent trauma which is affecting her ability to sleep, so she walks the streets in the late hours.

Karen’s tendency is to work around the system, and play games with her colleagues and superiors in order to push her case forwards. Sometimes acting inappropriately, but retrospectively fitting the pieces (and her actions) together so that they still technically comply with procedure; and the law.

Much of the novel is taken up with a side-case that Karen fixates upon, which is deemed to be a suicide, but she isn’t so sure. When a linked historical case is made known to her, this is the angle she uses to go “Out of Bounds” and investigate herself.

With much of the plot revolving around internal police politics, the requirements of the evidence to be brought in support of the case, and the legwork behind having to get the right paperwork in order for the case to be upheld. Therefore, if you’re looking for car chases and gun-fights, pick up another book. These battles are fought in a cerebral way.

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