McDermid, Val The Distant Echo

ISBN 13: 9780007178803

The Distant Echo

9780007178803: The Distant Echo

The award-winning Number One bestseller and Queen of crime fiction Val McDermid carves out a stunning psychological thriller. The past is behind them, but what’s still to come will tear them apart…

Some things just won’t let go.
The past, for instance.
That night in the cemetery.
The girl’s body in the snow.

On a freezing Fife morning four drunken students stumble upon the body of a woman in the snow. Rosie has been raped, stabbed and left for dead in an ancient Pictish cemetery. And the only suspects are the four young men now stained with her blood.

Twenty-five years later the police mount a ‘cold case’ review of Rosie’s unsolved murder and the four are still suspects. But when two of them die in suspicious circumstances, it seems that someone is pursuing their own brand of justice. For the remaining two there is only one way to avoid becoming the next victim – find out who really killed Rosie all those years ago…

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Val McDermid's The Distant Echo is, even more so than with her previous work, a masterpiece of trickery and misdirection. In 1978, four male students find the body of Rosie Duff half-buried in the snow and their lives are variously damaged by the suspicion that falls on them when the murder is never solved; a quarter of a century later, the case is reopened and suddenly the quartet start to be killed one after the other.

This is an effective thriller because it is so intelligent about the ways in which time changes things--secrets that seemed important become trivial and investigative techniques become ever more accurate. It is also intelligent about the ways in which things do not change--the friendships of the four men persist even when one becomes a fundamentalist preacher and another a post-modern literary theorist. Unusually for McDermid, this is a very Scots book as well--the investigating officers Maclennan and Lawson are very much men of a particular time and place. McDermid has a real sense of how to make forensic details count in a murder story--she also, more importantly, has a heart--this is a novel that makes us care passionately about victims and suspects alike. --Roz Kaveney


‘A classic … McDermid pulls out all the stops. Impeccable’ Guardian

‘A few more sly, old-fashioned whodunits like this and she’ll join the sturdy ranks of the queens of crime, on course to become Dame Val or Baroness McDermid’ Sunday Times

‘She has created some of the most appealing figures in current crime fiction. Val McDermid has used the crime genre to write a novel that, above everything else, celebrates life and loyalty’ TLS

‘A real page-turner and another McDermid triumph’ Observer

‘A powerful story of murder and revenge … an exciting page-turner’ Sunday Telegraph

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