Grove Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Grove Press

Out of Bounds

A Karen Pirie Novel

by Val McDermid

A stunning new cold case novel from internationally bestselling crime writer Val McDermid about a car crash that opens up an unsolved murder from decades before.

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 448
  • Publication Date December 05, 2017
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2726-6
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $16.00
  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Page Count 432
  • Publication Date December 06, 2016
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2574-3
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $25.00

About The Book

Internationally bestselling author Val McDermid is one of our finest crime writers, whose gripping, impeccably plotted novels have garnered millions of readers worldwide. In her latest, Out of Bounds, she delivers a riveting cold case novel featuring detective Karen Pirie.

When a teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car and ends up in a coma, a routine DNA test reveals a connection to an unsolved murder from twenty-two years before. It’s a cold case that should be straightforward. But it’s as twisted as the DNA helix itself. Meanwhile, Karen finds herself irresistibly drawn to another mystery that she has no business investigating, a mystery that has its roots in a terrorist bombing two decades ago. And again, she finds that nothing is as it seems.

An enthralling, twisty read, Out of Bounds reaffirms Val McDermid’s place as one of the most dependable professionals in the mystery and thriller business.


“McDermid balances the intense character studies in Out of Bounds with an inside view of the Scottish legal system and again shows her acuity in producing intelligent thrillers.” —Associated Press

“There are few other crime writers in the same league as Val McDermid.” —Washington Post

“A thriller as steely and superlative as its heroine.” —O, The Oprah Magazine

“McDermid applies her formidable intelligence and muscular style to the kind of urban crime novel that gives Scotland its tough rep and vigorous lingo . . . It’s the brawny characters and their beefy dialect that really keeps us coming back to this superior series.” —New York Times

“Readers will easily connect with Karen, whose unwavering confidence is tempered by a strong dose of kindness and sense of justice . . . Satisfying investigative detail, swift pacing, and realistic mysteries steeped in the intricacies of Scottish law; a sure fit for fans of Tana French and of Denise Mina’s Alex Morrow series.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Engaging . . . Pirie, a tough heroine cut from the same cloth as McDermid’s other fictional stalwart, Carol Jordan, never backs down from a thorny question or a seemingly impossible case.” —Publishers Weekly

“Karen’s refusal to suffer her foolish superiors gladly is very appealing. As is her winning combination of being both brooding and no-nonsense. This . . . entertaining mystery has the grace of a heroine on the verge of coming into her own as a character whom readers will want to spend time with.” —Kirkus Reviews

“McDermid’s expertly juggled plotlines and masterful handling of pace and tension tick all the best boxes, but what makes this book a real cracker is Pirie herself—grieving, insubordinate and dogged in her pursuit of the various culprits.” —The Guardian (UK)

“What superlatives are there left to describe the phenomenon that is the multi award-winning McDermid? . . . Told with McDermid’s legendary verve and eye for detail, it grabs the reader by the throat and never lets go.” —Daily Mail (UK)

“[An] engaging new novel . . . McDermid’s 30th novel offers fascinating insights into the ethical dilemmas thrown up by advances in forensic science” —Sunday Times (UK)

“On her 30th novel . . . none is more deserving of the queen-of-crime mantle than Val McDermid . . . I would like to see a great deal more of DCI Pirie.” —Irish Times

“McDermid concocts complex plots with plenty of twists and red herrings. At times the tension is palpable and there are genuine surprises . . . McDermid is a dab hand at creating enough plausibility to make her contributions to the genre intensely readable.” —Glasgow Herald


She walked. Whenever sleep slipped from her grasp, she walked. It occurred to her that her life had come to resemble the first draft of an advertising script for Guinness or Stella Artois. “She walks. That’s what she does.” Except that there was no brightly lit pub full of cheery faces waiting to greet her at the end of her wanderings.

Often at the end of the day, she knew there was no point in stripping to the skin and sliding between cool sheets. She would only lie stiff as a corpse, thoughts of murder running in her head, frantic hamsters on a wheel.

And so she would walk. Along the breakwater, tall apartment blocks to her left, the choppy waters of the Firth of Forth on her right, the night breeze filling her nostrils with salt and seaweed. Then she’d turn inland, past the twenty-four-hour Asda and across the main drag into the old village of Newhaven.

She’d pick random routes through the huddled streets of fishermen’s cottages, then work her way inland and upwards, always trying to choose streets and alleys and quiet back lanes that she’d never entered before.

That was part of the point. She had chosen to move to Edinburgh precisely because it was unfamiliar. Deciding to live here had felt like a project. Learning the city one street at a time might take her mind off the grief and the pain.

So far, she couldn’t claim it had worked.