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Out of Bounds (Inspector Karen Pirie, #4)
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Out of Bounds (Inspector Karen Pirie #4)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  3,650 Ratings  ·  410 Reviews
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 conne
Hardcover, 464 pages
Published December 6th 2016 by Atlantic Monthly Press (first published 2016)
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Rene Hi John,
the ingenious Val writes books in such a way so you can read them in any order. This happened to me accidentally, and there were no spoilers!…more
Hi John,
the ingenious Val writes books in such a way so you can read them in any order. This happened to me accidentally, and there were no spoilers! But I do recommend reading them all, so why not start at the beginning!(less)

Community Reviews

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Feb 15, 2017 rated it liked it
Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie, leading the Cold Case Unit has stumbled upon a small plane crash some 20 years ago with all four passengers killed. Forward to current day and it appears the son of one of the victims either committed suicide or was murdered. Karen is also involved in another cold case of a young girl who was brutally murdered with no suspects in sight until DNA emerges from a crash victim. The same clues will be offered many times throughout the chapters, along with forcin ...more
Diane S ☔
Dec 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
My first review of the new year, though I did finish reading this a few days back. What I love about this author is her tightly constructed plots, her great writing, identifiable characters and her consistent pacing. She has never let me down, and still hasn't.

Karen Pirie, Police Scotland, cold case division, has suffered a tragic loss and is still trying to find an even keel. When the police get a hit of familial DNA , after a car accident that leaves two dead, one in hospital, it connects back
Dec 01, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Out of Bounds is a topnotch police procedural led by a Scottish cold case detective who uses her innate intelligence to resolve crimes. While the mysteries behind these crimes play a substantive role, DCI Karen Pirie is the star of this book.

Karen is struggling to stay afloat. With the death of Phil, her former partner and boyfriend, she is doing her best to keep it together. She throws herself into her work in order to cope. In Out of Bounds, there are several different sub-plots that are link
Dec 10, 2016 added it
Shelves: fiction, series, crime
The Hook - Val McDermid is one of my adopted authors at my hometown public library. I really love the stand-alones and non-fiction McDermid writes but have dipped in and out of her series for years. McDermid is an outstanding author who may just be the Queen of Crime after having lost Ruth Rendell and P.D. James.

The Line(s) - “The adrenaline rush of reopening a cold case never faded for Karen. The rest of her life might have gone to hell in a handcart, but excavating the past for its secrets st
Susan Johnson
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: net-galley
DNA collected at a horrific traffic crash makes a hit on a closed 20 year old cold rape/murder case. There is a familial match to the unknown killer of Tina McDonald. This information hits the desk of Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie, head of the Historic Cases Unit. I love the name of the cold case division. It's perfect for Scotland. And head of the department? It's only her and one junior officer.

Still Pirie is fierce and jumps into the case with no holds barred. There are unusual twis
Sep 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the 4th book in the Inspector Karen Pirie series by author Val McDermid. I have read other books in this series but not in strict order but this did not spoil my enjoyment. The book was an excellent read with well written strong characters and a decent plot.
In this book 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. Inspector Karen Pirie whose job it is to solve cold crimes leads t
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, audiobook
First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Val McDermid, Grove Atlantic, and Atlantic Monthly Press for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with this review.

In a continued meteoric rise, McDermid places DCI Karen Pirie in another first-rate novel that sees her working on the complicated Historic Cases Unit. A horrific vehicular accident leaves three young men dead and eighteen year-old Ross Garvie clinging to life. A routine sample for blood alcohol lev
Liz Barnsley
Aug 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Reviewing Val McDermid is becoming a tough job, at some point you run out of superlatives, you repeat yourself and can’t really think of any other way of saying that the novels are top notch brilliantly written gems of crime fiction and if you are a crime fiction fan you should just read them all. Fairly sure I’ve just repeated myself again from any number of the last few times I’ve reviewed.

ANYWAY whilst I never thought that Karen Pirie would engage me as heavily as Tony Hill always has, in Out
Nov 11, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley, 2016, kindle
Thank you to Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

This is Book #4 in the Karen Pirie series and I think this series just continues to get better. In this installment, DCI Karen Pirie is head of the cold case unit. Actually she and DS Murray (nicknamed the Mint) are the entire department. When a current case leads to a connection with a 20+ year old cold case of murder, DCI Pirie gets involved. A second current case also attracts DCI Karen Pirie's
As the book opens, we find DCI Karen Pirie of the Historical Cases Unit still reeling from the recent loss of her partner. By day she buries herself in cold cases & spends her nights walking the streets of Edinburgh.

So when she gets news of a modern link to an old case, she gratefully digs in. DNA from the driver involved in a recent car crash is a familial match to a sample from a 20 year old unsolved rape. All they have to do is track down & test older male relatives. Easy, right? Wel
Poppy fairy
Aug 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Review by

First of all I would like to congratulate Val McDermid on her 30th novel. This certainly calls for something to celebrate by Val McDermid and her followers. A brilliant author as always I loved every page of Out Of Bounds. Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie and Detective Constable Murray are attached to Police Scotland's Historic Case Unit. A Land Rover somersaulted over a roundabout. All three passengers dead. The driver is still alive, but in a coma. T
Luanne Ollivier
Mar 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Val McDermid is simply one of the best crime writers around. I have loved every book she's written. She has a number of series. Out of Bounds is the fourth novel featuring Inspector Karen Pirie. But you could absolutely read this as a stand alone.

Pirie is working cold cases. When a DNA sample from an accident victim turns up a match with a twenty two year old unsolved murder, Karen hopes for a quick solve to an old case. But it's not as straight forward as she hoped. And being Karen, she can't h
Oct 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Murder in the family...

When some drunken lads steal a Land Rover and then crash it, a blood sample is taken from the driver and routinely checked for DNA matches. The results show a familial match to the perpetrator of a horrific unsolved rape and murder from 1996, so DCI Karen Pirie and her cold case team, consisting of herself and one DC, reopen the case. However it becomes more complicated when they discover the car crash victim was adopted, so they will have to seek the Court's permission to
Aug 31, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Out of Bounds is the 30th novel written by Val McDermid, yes, 30th and despite being an accomplished author with an impressive back catalogue, the writing in this is as fresh as it was back when I was knee high to a grasshopper in the late 1980s. Having discovered McDermid's books in my teenage years (thanks to my parent's extensive book collection), I have been an avid fan ever since and it's nice to see the master continue writing phenomenal books.

Even though this is the second book to feature
Louise Wilson
Nov 25, 2016 rated it really liked it
A teenage joyrider crashes the stolen car and ends up in a coma. A routine DNA test connects it to an unsolved murder investigation 22 years ago. Will solving the cold case bring all the answers or will this twisty read have DCI Karen Price drawn into another case.

This is a well written and engaging read.

I would like to thank NetGalley, Grove Atlantic and the author Val McDermid for my ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Apr 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Karen Pirie is a Detective Inspector working in Edinburgh. She hails from Fife, still referred the Kingdom of Fife, which lies across the Firth of Forth from the capital city. Her bumbling assistant is the only other person in the Historic Cases Unit, in other words, the cold case division. In this novel, Karen is called in when the DNA of a teenage joyrider is a familial match to the DNA found in the rape and murder 20 years earlier of a young woman in Glasgow. Karen also gets involved in the c ...more
Dec 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
When a teenage drunk driver is found to share familial DNA with a rapist twenty years in the past DCI Karen Pirie from the Historic Cases Unit is called upon to hunt down the murderer and give the rape victim’s family some closure. While she and her young assistant DC Jason Murray hunt down leads in what turns out to be a less than clear cut investigation, Pirie is pulled into another case which involves a possible suicide of a young man with links to another cold case from the past. This is Val ...more
Heather Fineisen
Oct 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I haven't read the Karen Pirie series in its entirety as I have the Tony Hill series or McDermid stand alones. McDermid is at the top of her game and continuously presents interesting cases as well as strong character development. This story tackles adoption and family law and privacy issues all centered around a DNA hit. A second cold case comes to Pirie's attention after the death of a son twenty odd years after the mother died in an airplane explosion. Pirie doesn't believe in coincidence wh ...more
Really enjoyed this book. I love the attitude of Karen Pirie and the way she handles authority.
I started off wondering if I had the right book and it wasn't until I was a little way in did I realise what a brilliant way Val Mcdermid had dealt with the death of Karen Pirie's significant other. I have nothing but praise for Val mcDermid over this.
I really hope that this series will run and run. Having now read all 4 books via the library I am off to purchase them as they are definitely a revisit b
Sep 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2016-books
Dear reader,

A little over a week ago I entered my local bookstore intent on treating myself to a good book!

When I spotted this,the latest offering from Val McDermid,an author that I greatly admire,I cast all other books aside and headed to the till,hugging this as if it were a treasured possession!!!

When I started to read it,I felt that sweet sensation,that undeniable tingle down my spine and knew,yet again,that I was onto a winner!!

Karen Pirie and her colleague Jason,the duo who make up the
Midwest Geek
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of police procedurals.
Shelves: mystery, audiobook
I am aware that Val McDermid has had a long and distinguished career as an author of mysteries and thrillers, but I must admit that this is the first of hers that I have read. This is an extremely good police procedural that builds suspense gradually and kept me wondering who the antagonist(s) might be. I grew to admire the MC, Chief Inspector Karen Pirie, a strong-willed, dedicated, cold-case detective who has experienced her share of personal tragedies. I found her situation and circumstances, ...more
Craig Sisterson
Aug 02, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, scottish
I've read and thoroughly enjoyed many of Val McDermid's books in recent years, but I'd yet to dip into her sporadic series starring Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie (four books since 2003).

When I finally did, with this latest instalment, what a treat awaited me! I was effectively reading it as a standalone, but I was aware DCI Pirie had featured in previous books, so there was a 'past history' for regular Pirie readers that I didn't know. Perhaps such readers may get even more from OUT OF B
Bruce Hatton
Jul 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: scottish-crime
When Val McDermid is at the top of her game there are few who can touch her, and she's certainly flying high with this, the fourth novel in the series featuring the wonderfully feisty DCI Karen Pirie of Police Scotland's Historic Cases Unit.
Here Karen finds herself investigating two older cases linked to recent events. A DNA sample taken from a fatal road accident has a familial link to a rape-murder from 1996; also the apparent suicide of a young man whose mother was killed by a terrorist bomb
Roman Clodia
Oct 03, 2016 rated it liked it
Well, of course this is competent - it's Val McDermid: but it feels like a formulaic piece and a formula which is well-worn to the point of becoming tired. So here we have yet another maverick DCI with a slightly helpless sidekick, solving a cold case, and poking her nose into a contemporary death which is nothing to do with her.

Karen Pivie is a kind of Olivia Coleman figure: slightly shabby on the outside, pin-sharp inside with (of course) a personal tragedy in her past. It all feels overly pa
Apr 17, 2017 rated it liked it
After reading Splinter the Silence by Val McDermid, I said I would not read any more of her books. While they are great psychological mystery thrillers, the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series has got more and more extreme and graphic violence - I have to make a real effort not to think about some of the cruelty in that book. However, I read reviews of Out of Bounds that were interesting, and at least one made the point that this Karen Pirie series does not have such a lot of graphic cruelty - alt ...more
Christina McLain
May 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
Having just finished this book I now remember why Val McDermid remains the Scottish Queen of Crime. A few books ago, I began to dislike the Tony Hill/ Carol Jordan series she writes (and which made her famous), mainly because of its excessive depiction of extremely graphic violence. I'd almost forgotten what a great mystery writer McDermid can be. This story features an extremely likeable female protagonist and it's tight and well-plotted, with a sharp ending -- unlike the Hill series it doesn't ...more
David Highton
Feb 05, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another in the series of cold cases for DCI Karen Pirie, recovering from the murder of her partner at the end of the previous book. She pursues the DNA trail started by a familial match to a rape and murder 20 years earlier but gets sidetracked into another case as well, relating to a bomb in a small plane 22 years earlier. Clever plot and a typically good read from McDermid - I hope there will be another Pirie book
Jun 14, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018
Book four in author Val mcDermid's DCI Karen Pirie series. Having read three of the four I'm just not a fan of DCI Karen Pirie. The author does love to drop Donald Trump's name in this yarn. Three stars out of five stars possible. (2.5 read, I rounded to a 3)
Minty McBunny
Feb 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017, february-2017
Best book of this series so far.
Mairead Hearne (
Karen Pirie finds herself irresistibly drawn to another mystery that she has no business investigating…

What have I been doing??

Why did I not read Val McDermid books before?

Out of Bounds is the latest novel from Val McDermid, published early this year by Little, Brown Book Group.

Having heard only all positive reviews, here was a book I was so looking forward to getting my teeth into and it certainly did not disappoint….

Please continue reading for my thoughts….

Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pir
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Val McDermid is a No. 1 bestseller whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have sold over eleven million copies.

She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009 and was the recipient of the CWA Cart
More about Val McDermid

Other books in the series

Inspector Karen Pirie (4 books)
  • The Distant Echo (Inspector Karen Pirie, #1)
  • A Darker Domain (Inspector Karen Pirie, #2)
  • The Skeleton Road (Inspector Karen Pirie, #3)
“Patsy McDonald had the artificial brightness and dead eyes that go hand in hand with prescription antidepressants. They” 1 likes
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