Saturday, December 19, 2009
A Darker Domain by Val McDermid
Protagonist: Det. Insp. Karen Pirie
Setting: Fife, Scotland
In 1984, a miner goes missing during a strike. His family believes that he's joined strikebreakers in another part of Scotland. But, more than 20 years later, Mick Prentice's daughter is trying to find him -- and she can't. Her son needs a bone marrow transplant to survive, and her father is the last hope for a match. Seemingly unrelated, a year later, Catriona MacLennan Grant, daughter of a powerful businessman, and her baby son are kidnapped. Catriona is killed, but the baby disappears. Now, a journalist vacationing in Italy has found a clue that may lead to the kidnappers. Both cold cases land in DI Pirie's lap, and both, unsurprisingly, are related. McDermid does a wonderful job of switching back and forth not only between time and place, but also between characters. Pirie is so well-drawn, in fact, that it's a shame this is a standalone novel, and not a series. The book is gripping, and moves at a quick pace. I would have given it a perfect rating except that some of the revelations were easy to figure out. Still, even when I thought I had it all figured out, McDermid had a few more curveballs to throw.