Title: A Darker Domain
Author: Val McDermid
ISBN: 978-0-06-168898-0, Harper Collins, 2009
Genre: Police Procedural
First Line: The voice is soft, like the darkness that encloses them.
It's another day in Fife, Scotland, and Detective Inspector Karen Pirie--newly appointed head of the Cold Case Review Team-- needs something to sink her teeth into. When a woman comes in to report her father as missing (he was last seen way back in 1984) and gives a few more details, Pirie decides to look into it. It has all the markings of a long shot, and a long shot is something she can't resist.
She and her partner, Detective Sergeant Phil Parhatka, have barely begun to look for Mick Prentice when Pirie's superior officer has her drop everything and rush to the estate of Sir Broderick Maclennan Grant. Back in 1985, the mogul's daughter and grandson were kidnapped. A botched ransom drop left his daughter, Catriona, dead and his grandson, Adam, in the hands of the kidnappers never to be heard from again. New information has come to light in the Maclennan case, and now Pirie has two cold cases to solve, for she's not about to stop looking for Mick Prentice.
McDermid has been one of my favorite mystery writers since I read A Place of Execution. This book did not disappoint. Pirie and her partner work very well together, and I'd love to see more books centered around these two. As the information on both cases is teased loose, it's told in a series of flashbacks, which let me become familiar with the characters' voices and behavior without confusing the storyline.
A Darker Domain also brought home a little known (to me) period of British history-- of Margaret Thatcher, the unions, the coal miners and the strikes. Of men and families starving, the betrayal of the unions, and the excessive force used by the police. McDermid, whose own family struggled to survive these times, didn't present all this information in one vast history lesson, but through the lives and voices of her characters.
Although both cold cases came together in such a way that strained credulity a bit, I still enjoyed this story and especially the character of Karen Pirie. I do hope I'll see more of her.
[Source: Paperback Swap.]
My Book Rating Scale:
A+...Don't delay, get your hands on a copy of this book!
A...I loved it!
B...I really liked it.
C...I liked it, with a few reservations.
D...I finished it, but it's not my cup of tea.
- Phoenix, Arizona, United States
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