“The queen of psychological thrillers.”


Still Life is the sixth book in Val McDermid’s ongoing Karen Pirie series but could easily be read as a standalone. The series features no nonsense DCI Karen Pirie who works on cold cases or as they are called by Police Scotland, ” Historic Cases”. DCI Pirie feels that solving these cases is a valuable and important calling and throws herself unreservedly in to the work, often dragging her nice but slightly dim sidekick Jason in her wake.
This book features not one but two cases for Karen to get her teeth into, a set of skeletal remains found in a camper van and a corpse that is fished out of the Firth of Forth early one morning. The investigations will take Karen, and the reader from Scotland to Paris, Amsterdam, Dublin and Donegal and introduce us to a potential new member of Karen’s team, DI Daisy Mortimer who gains a new appreciation for the job and the Historic Case Unit from her time working on secondment there.

The investigations take in everything from identity theft and espionage to art forgery and the reader is carried along at a steady pace as the team uncover the various clues. I thought both crimes would be linked by the end of the book but I was pleasantly surprised to find that was not the case, I think this made it seem more realistic than having everything come together in a neat little package. As I said earlier this can be read as a stand alone, and the author gives enough background explanation to ensure that new readers will not be confused , but long term readers of the series will have more to enjoy as they get more development of Karen’s personal life, and a familiar face from the past makes a reappearance. Fans of police procedurals will find plenty to enjoy here , though some might find the slightly slower pace of the first half of the book a little off putting.
I read and reviewed an ARC courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher ,all opinions are my own.


Reviewed by:

Annette Jordan

Added 24th November 2020

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Annette Jordan