A Darker Domain
Review: Val McDermid crafts an intriguing decades old cold case mystery in the stand-alone thriller A Darker Domain featuring Detective Inspector Karen Pirie of the Fife (Scotland) police department.
Pirie is actually handed two cases almost simultaneously. The first is a missing persons investigation. What interests Pirie is that the case is 20 some odd years old and the life of a seriously ill child depends on the outcome. Unfortunately, to her superiors, the case is not nearly as important as new evidence that has recently been discovered in Italy regarding the decades old, and still unsolved, kidnapping of a baby boy that also resulted in the murder of his mother. The boy was the grandson of a wealthy, and powerful, local industrialist who blames the police for mishandling the situation. Pirie knows she risks her career pursuing the missing persons investigation while also following up on the new leads in the kidnapping case. But when she suspects there may be a link, if only tenuous, between the two, she plunges forward knowing the dead do not give up their secrets easily … if ever.
A Darker Domain is a superior mystery novel in so many ways, from the meticulously drawn characters and the intricately developed plot to the superbly written narrative. The seamless use of backstories to fill in the details during Pirie's investigation helps keep the story briskly moving along and the alternate points of view provide depth and interest. The coincident reopening of both cases from a plot perspective is, at best, improbable, yet the author makes it seem credible, linking the two in unexpected, though plausible ways. The overly melodramatic ending is a minor quibble.
A Darker Domain, written as a non-series novel, is a gripping mystery thriller at its best. It is rather unfortunate, however, readers won't have the opportunity to see Karen Pirie in action again.
Acknowledgment: HarperCollins provided an ARC of A Darker Domain for this review.
Review Copyright © 2009 — Hidden Staircase Mystery Books — All Rights Reserved
Selected reviews of other mysteries by this author …
Trick of the Dark
Bywater Books (Hardcover), September 2011
ISBN-13: 9781932859959; ISBN-10: 1932859950
Location(s) referenced in A Darker Domain: Scotland, Italy
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A Darker Domain by Val McDermid
Publication Date: January 2009
List Price: $24.99
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Page Author: Lance Wright
Site Publisher: Mysterious Reviews
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