Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press
Atlantic Monthly Press

Past Lying

by Val McDermid

In this superb new addition to Val McDermid’s masterful crime series, DCI Karen Pirie returns in a propulsive thriller of deceit and vengeance, set against the disquiet of a global pandemic

  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Page Count 464
  • Publication Date November 14, 2023
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6149-9
  • Dimensions 6" x 9"
  • US List Price $27.00
  • Imprint Atlantic Monthly Press
  • Publication Date November 14, 2023
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-6150-5
  • US List Price $27.00

Britain’s reigning “Queen of Crime” (The Scotsman), Val McDermid is the award-winning, internationally bestselling author of over thirty novels. The long-awaited seventh novel in the acclaimed series that has captivated audiences for twenty years, both on the page and now in the Edgar Award–nominated ITV/BritBox show, Past Lying is a full tilt novel of ego, retribution, deceit, and just how far one will go to settle the score.

It’s April 2020 and Edinburgh is in lockdown. It would seem like a strange time for a cold case to go hot—the streets all but empty, an hour’s outdoor exercise the maximum allowed—but a mere pandemic doesn’t mean crime takes a holiday. When a source at the National Library contacts DCI Karen Pirie’s team about documents in the archive of a recently deceased crime novelist, it seems it’s game on again. At the center of it, a novel: two crime novelists facing off over a chessboard. But it quickly emerges that their real-life competition is drawing blood. What unspools is a twisted game of betrayal and revenge, and as Karen and her team attempt to disentangle fact from fiction, it becomes clear that their investigation is more complicated than they ever imagined.

A tense, atmospheric page-turner, Past Lying reaffirms McDermid as one of the most talented crime writers of her generation.

Praise for Past Lying:

Amazon Editors’ Pick for Best Mystery, Thriller & Suspense – New and continuing series

“Often described as the queen of crime, McDermid brings all her subtlety and skill to this deliciously creepy story . . . With echoes of Patricia Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, but with an originality all its own, the elegant story slowly reveals the betrayal and revenge that lie at its heart.”—Daily Mail

“Truly chilling . . . Ingenious, humane, and all too telling as a reminder of the costs of the pandemic even on its survivors.”Kirkus Reviews

“Both longtime fans and newcomers alike will be able to jump right into the building suspense . . . Past Lying is another finely plotted Karen Pirie page turner that will leave readers wanting more.”—BookPage

“While many writers have avoided this period because of the plot constraints, McDermid forges ahead and creates almost the same level of activity as we expect from works in this genre . . . While the author’s style drives the story with excellent pacing, she takes the time to insert some arch characterizations . . . McDermid’s novel is a generously sized, big book with an entertaining puzzle within a puzzle.”—New York Journal of Books

“Pirie is [McDermid’s] most sympathetic protagonist and Past Lying one of her most devious and delightful cases.”­­The Times (UK)

“Riveting . . . McDermid keeps the twists coming hard and fast, and she bolsters them with sharp observations about the toll of Covid on the public psyche. This page-turner grips from the outset and doesn’t let go.”Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“Atmospheric . . . The novel-within-a-novel is not a new device, but McDermid uses it to memorable effect in a piece of fiction that vividly recreates the anxious early months of the Covid pandemic.”Sunday Times (UK)

“The twists and turns are satisfying, especially the meta quality of a crime writer writing about crime writers and the book-within-a-book structure.”—Minneapolis Star Tribune

“McDermid makes [the pandemic lockdown] an effective handicap to Pirie, whose investigation of a not-quite-stone-cold case must accommodate the public health restrictions . . . The parallels between Stein’s real life and his fictional book are striking, so that the narrative takes on the characteristics of nested dolls . . . [H]ead and shoulders above many crime novels.”—Crime Fiction Lover

“Queen of crime is a title that gets bandied about a lot, and with her meticulously plotted and atmospheric murder mysteries, McDermid has a reliable claim.”—Sydney Morning Herald

“A fascinating, atmospheric crime story.”—Canberra Daily (Australia)

“A twisty plot of murder and vengeance . . . set against the dramatic backdrop of a global pandemic. By the novel’s end, no one has been left unscathed.”First Clue Reviews

“McDermid’s fans know better than to trust . . . a simple solution. She ingeniously flips over the rug and examines the pattern in reverse. Karen and her supporting cast are absorbing, providing insight into the restrictions on police work during the pandemic and plenty of Scottish flavor . . . Fans of the Karen Pirie television series . . . will be eager to read.”Booklist

“McDermid [has] fun describing the inner workings of the crime-fiction profession, including the creation of stories and the politics, favouritism, resentment, jealousy and score-settling found behind the scenes . . . The two imaginary chess-playing novelists are masterpieces of nastiness.”—Literary Review (UK)

“The Queen of Crime shows no sign of abdicating. Past Lying is as complex, as satisfying and as readable as anything she’s written – which makes it another jewel in Val McDermid’s crown.”—Mick Herron, author of The Secret Hours

“A chilling, twisting triumph. Past Lying is a classic mystery, brilliant, heart-stopping and seamless. No one does it better than Val McDermid.”—Chris Whitaker, author of We Begin at the End

“A writer at the top of her game . . . With an intricate plot, authentic dialogue, rich details, and masterly McDermid twists and turns, this book will delight Pirie fans, existing and new.”Library Journal, starred review

“[An] excellent series.”—Vannessa Cronin, Amazon Book Review

Praise for Val McDermid:

“[A] relentlessly engrossing series.”Wall Street Journal on Broken Ground

“There are few other crime writers in the same league as Val McDermid. Her stories are ingeniously plotted, moody . . . Absorbing . . . It’s Karen’s character that’s the enduring draw of this series . . . Out of Bounds is another terrific and intricate suspense novel by a writer who has given us 30 of them. As I said, there are few other crime writers in the same league as Val McDermid.”—Maureen Corrigan, Washington Post on Out of Bounds

“We read crime fiction for enjoyment, comfort and reassurance. McDermid provides all this . . . Still Life shows that she is still at the height of her powers; it is deeply enjoyable, one of her best.”Scotsman (UK) on Still Life

“McDermid is at the top of her game and readers will be highly rewarded for taking this new journey at her side.”CrimeReads on Still Life

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

“No one writes sturdier mysteries than Val McDermid.”Chicago Tribune on Out of Bounds

“McDermid remains unrivalled . . . brilliant.”—Observer (UK) on How the Dead Speak

“Further evidence that her ‘Queen of Crime’ status will not be challenged.”—Scotsman on How the Dead Speak

“Chock-full of crime . . . fans and newcomers to the series will enjoy the twists and turns.”—Library Journal on How the Dead Speak

“McDermid’s books are relentlessly excellent, with sympathetically flawed characters, well-crafted storylines, a clever twist or two, and crisp dialogue. It’s no wonder she’s considered the queen of Scottish crime fiction.”BookPage on Broken Ground

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