Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Broken Ground (Inspector Karen Pirie, #5)” as Want to Read:
Broken Ground (Inspector Karen Pirie, #5)
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Broken Ground

(Inspector Karen Pirie #5)

4.16  ·  Rating details ·  3,322 ratings  ·  532 reviews
Alice Somerville's inheritance lies six feet under in a Highland peat bog - a pair of valuable vintage motorbikes buried by her grandfather at the end of World War II. But when Alice finally organises their recovery, she finds an unwelcome surprise -a body with a pair of bullet holes . . . and Nike trainers. DCI Karen Pirie of Police Scotland's Historic Cases Unit is calle ...more
Kindle Edition, 432 pages
Published August 23rd 2018 by Little, Brown Book Group
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Broken Ground, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Antonia Yes, 5th in the Karen Pirie was published 2/18.
Barbara I think you can read these out of order as each plot is standalone. The only issue is that there's one key relationship in Karen Pirie's life which…moreI think you can read these out of order as each plot is standalone. The only issue is that there's one key relationship in Karen Pirie's life which will potentially be spoiled by doing this. As for her bosses hating her and conspiring to get rid of her, that seems to be a constant - different book, different boss, same old persecution.
If you have this book already and you don't want to have to buy all the others just to support the one you've got, then I'd say read and see if you like it then go back and fill in after.(less)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.16  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,322 ratings  ·  532 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Broken Ground (Inspector Karen Pirie, #5)
Nov 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Slow burn multilayered mystery about the search for buried treasure that leads to the unearthing of a body left behind from a crime committed long ago.

While this is book #5 in the series, it can be read as a standalone.

Three crimes are the focus of Broken Ground: a buried body, a rape case, and a murder all of which DCI Karen Pirie, head of the Historic Cases Unit in Scotland, very busy.

Karen is still in mourning for Phil, her former boyfriend who was killed on the job . She and
Sumit RK
Dec 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
A Gripping and Atmospheric Thriller

Broken Ground is a police procedural set in Scotland and the fifth book in the Karen Pirie series. Despite being the fifth book of the series, readers will not have any problem picking up on the main characters or understanding the story. It is absolutely not necessary to read the other books to enjoy this novel.

This is third thriller set in Scotland that I have read this year and I am now convinced that all great thrillers are set in Scotland.The
Nov 24, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley

How have I made it all these years without reading Val McDermid? This is book five of the Karen Pirie series and it’s just one of several series she’s written. Well, I’m happy I finally rectified this problem. And it was easy to jump right in to this series. We are given enough background to feel comfortable with not only the main character but her DC, Jason ‘the Mint’ Murray, as well.

This is an extremely fast moving book. DCI Karen Pirie manages the Historic Case Unit. She’s got a new boss and
Aug 02, 2018 rated it really liked it
Broken Ground by Val McDermid will not disappoint those who will decide to spend several hours with this book. The author, who has written over thirty novels, uses the recipe which always works with lovers of the genre: a mystery going back WW2 blended together with the descriptions of stunning landscapes of Scotland and characters who show both their strengths and weaknesses. Karen Pirie, in charge of Historic Cases Unit, tries to solve the case of a body found accidentally in a peat bog.
I hav
I am such a huge fan of Val McDermid and always look forward to her new releases. If you are like me, you will be excited to know that Broken Ground, her latest in the Karen Pirie series will be released in the US this month.

Alice Sommerville's inheritance is lying at the bottom of a peat bog. However, she gets more than she bargained for when the retrieval specialists discover a body with a bullet hole. Pirie, who is back after a leave, is now working cold case files and is assigned to the cas
Dec 31, 2018 rated it liked it
With her 32nd novel, Val McDermid continues a long winning streak of first-rate Scottish crime fiction. Cold case detective Karen Pirie is called to a remote Highland peat bog where two well preserved vintage motorcycles were found, along with a dead body. Pirie investigates, with the help of “The Mint,” but is targeted and sabotaged by her new boss “Dog Biscuit” and her lapdog McCartney. (Such great nicknames!) One of the things I appreciate most about McDermid is her accurate descriptions of f ...more
Sandy *The world could end while I was reading and I would never notice*
EXCERPT: What appeared to be a crude sculpture of a motorbike had been propped upright on one side of the hole, looking like a potential entrant for the Turner prize. Beside it, his torso twisted at the waist, making an awkward angle to his legs, lay their victim. The peat had stained his skin the color of weak coffee, but apart from that, he was as perfectly preserved as a shop window mannequin.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: Alice Somerville's inheritance lies six feet under in a Highland peat bog - a pair
Oct 30, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Matt by: BAM The Bibliomaniac
Shelves: netgalley, buddy-read
First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Val McDermid, and Grove Atlantic for providing me with a copy of this publication, which allows me to provide you with an unbiased review.

I am always pleased to find a new Val McDermid novel ready to be devoured, particularly because she has a few strong series that I have come to enjoy. After a devastating personal loss, Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is back. Shuffled off within Police Scotland to head-up the new Historic Cases Unit
Dec 14, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: net-galley
I do really like when a book in a series, is so good, it encourages you to go back and read the rest of the series. Such is the case in the book Broken Ground by Val McDermid.

Step into the world of Inspector Karen Pirie, head of the cold case unit in Scotland. Karen is a tough lady who has seen her share of tragedy having lost the man she loved fairly recently. She throws herself into her job and is constantly on guard against her new boss, Ann Markie, (aka Dog Biscuit), who herself holds nothi
Nov 19, 2018 rated it liked it
A complicated cozy mystery surrounding a pair of "Indians" (you'll find out when you read it)., spoils of World War II, and a murder. Detective Inspector Karen Pirie's specialty is solving cold cases, and this one goes back to around 1995 so it's definitely a "cold" case. There are a couple of other cases going on at the same time as the "Indian" case and a bit of a new romance with an interesting guy. DI Pirie has a new boss too that is definitely "out to get her".

This is the 5th bo
Kasa Cotugno
Aug 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This has become my favorite series. Val McDermid's style and attention to detail remind me mostly of Peter Robinson, as their novels usually involve unsolved, historical cases. Karen Pirie heads up the HCU or cold case division in Edinburgh's police department, and here she battles interior forces seeking to unseat her and denigrate her and the importance of the work she oversees. What McDermid does so well is keep at least four balls in the air, with occasional forays into the past. Pirie's att ...more
Magdalena aka A Bookaholic Swede
I had the great joy of reading OUT OF BOUNDS and BROKEN GROUNDS back-to-back. Both books are really good. I quite like that in this book Karen Pirie seems to be on the brink of happiness after the loss of Phil a year before. Also, the case is really interesting. A body is found in with a treasure from WW2, however, the body is more recent than so. So, the question is, who is this man and who killed him?

If there is one thing I love is it cold cases and that's why I enjoy this series s
Aug 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
This is the 5th book in the Inspector Karen Pirie series by award winning author Val McDermid.
Val McDermid has now written over 30 novels and although I have only read a small amount of them I always finish her novels thinking I must read more of her work. This book was exactly the same, great writing, interesting plot and expertly timed.
Alice Somerville is trying to obtain her inheritance that lies six feet under in a Highland peat bog, buried by her grandfather at the end of World
BAM The Bibliomaniac
Buddy read
Netgalley #79

Many thanks go to Val McDermid, Little Brown, and Netgalley for the free copy of this book in exchange for my unbiased review.

So I jumped into the middle of this series, but it had no effect on my comprehension of the plot or the characters. This can be a freestanding read.
Karen is lead detective of the HCU which got involved in two investigations: a rape/murder, and a murder/attempted theft. There is a mole in her department who is a total i
Bam cooks the books ;-)
I used to have a policy not to jump into a series midstream but, since joining NetGalley, that has fallen by the wayside as I take the opportunity to read arcs of new books. In this case, it has led me to discover a prodigious author (32 books!) who is totally new to me. Now I can look forward to reading many more of her books in various mystery series.

Broken Ground is the fifth book in the Inspector Karen Pirie series. Detective Chief Inspector Pirie heads the Historic Crime Unit for Police Sc
Nov 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Engrossing, intricate, and deft!

In this latest novel by McDermid, Broken Ground, we head back to Edinburgh where DCI Pirie and her sidekick DC Murray from the Historic Cases Unit find themselves pursuing new evidence in the case of a serial rapist from the 80s; tasked with identifying a body discovered in a peat bog in the Highlands alongside relics from WWII; and inadvertently involved in a new case of premeditated, cold-blooded murder.

The prose is gritty and descriptive
Jan 03, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: netgalley
This is a fairly difficult book for me to review... It started very slow and the characters were just not interesting. As the story developed, it did become more engaging and the Scottish elements were great. I also enjoyed having a side plot along with the major mystery. Our detective Karen was a strong heroine who held her own against many personal and work-related battles.

Overall a decent novel that I would recommend to mystery readers. Thanks to Netgalley and publishers for the free e-book
Dee Arr
Oct 14, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Val McDermid’s thirty-second novel was my first, so I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. I’ve read novels from successful authors before, at times with mixed results. “Broken Ground” exceeded all my expectations.

While others might write with the belief that their characters always will only work on one case at a time, Ms. McDermid deals in realities. This book keeps your attention, sliding from one case to the next and then back again with such ease that one can easily imagine how bus
Linda Strong

Cold Case Detective Karen Pirie is back in another page turner involving multiple cases she and her team are investigating.

Detective Pirie is facing one difficult challenge after another. Good news ... she's been given an extra 'body' to help with her investigations. Bad news ... The new help is a spy given the post in order to report to the supervisor who wants Pirie gone.

Pirie and her team are looking into a sex crime committed many years ago. Just now receiving some ad
Feb 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
While I have read stand alone novels from McDermid in the past and enjoyed them, this is my first time venturing into her series. (Well, I did watch the Wired in the Blood series on TV based on her Tony Hill novels but never read the books.) Now I find I have been missing out on the Karen Pirie series, but better late than never.

Broken Ground, the fifth in this series, begins with a variation on a treasure hunt in contemporary Scotland, with its origins in WWII. What begins for a loc
Apr 28, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019

Oh,Dear Reader,

My faith in literature has been restored!!

You know that certainty that creeps upon you when the book you’ve started works its magic,enveloping you in a wholesome,warm,secure sense that all is right with the world now that you’ve reestablished your relationship and camaraderie with Karen and Jason ‘The Mint’ Murray.

Yes,the cold cases are wonderfully detailed, intricately drawn but step by step,we are taken by the hand and made privy to the innate inte
Broken Ground is a contemporary suspense series novel, but for new entrants to DCI Karen Pirie (like me!) this is a smooth entry point and well written read.

DCI Karen Pirie is a chief inspector with Scotland's Historic Crimes division, and although she deals with a past murder in Broken Ground, there's also a current murder investigation she finds herself in the thick of, another cold case, and dealing with internal office meddling.

Sound like a lot? It is, and that's before we've ev
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was ok
A Scottish police procedural (thanks to Net Galley for their free preview in exchange for an honest review.) I haven't read a ton of McDermid and I didn't much care for her protagonist DCI Karen Pirie who ostensibly is still suffering from the loss of her significant other and seems to be taking it out on everyone else. That her boss has it in for the Historic Crimes Unit and has planted a spy in her midst in the form of DS McCartney doesn't help. Her boss is but a caricature of the bitch boss. ...more
Bruce Hatton
Oct 29, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: english-crime
Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie is, in many ways, a typical Val McDermid heroine. Feisty, uncompromising, determined and compassionate; certainly cut from the same cloth as Lindsay Gordon, Kate Brannigan and Carol Jordan.
As head of the Historic Cases Unit (which is, in essence, just her and her naive but loyal assistant Detective Constable Jason “Mint” Murray) Karen is called out to investigate the case of a large man buried in a peat bog along with a couple of World War II motorcycl
Sep 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Peat bogs are dangerous places...

DCI Karen Pirie of Police Scotland’s Historic Cases Unit is in the middle of re-investigating a series of rapes when she is diverted to a crime scene in the Highlands. A woman and her husband are on a kind of treasure hunt, looking for something that the woman’s grandfather buried in a peat bog long ago. They find the spot, but when they dig down into the peat, they are shocked to discover not only the looted items but the body of a man, almost perfectly preserve
switterbug (Betsey)
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Until now, I’d been ambivalent about reading McDermid’s novels. I am suspicious and picky when it comes to genre crime and police procedural books, as many tend to be gratuitous and boilerplate. My reason for choosing her this time had more to do with my recent trip to the Scotland Highlands and my wish to indulge in the setting again. However, I was pleasantly surprised with the author’s writing and story, as well as her well-articulated characters.

In fact, Karen Pirie struck a nerv
Laura/Mystery in Minutes
If you are looking for a proper UK police procedural to tuck in to this festive season - or anytime - look no further than Broken Ground, fifth in the Inspector Karen Pirie series, and written by prolific, internationally best-selling author, Val McDermid. Ms. McDermid has been called by many “the Queen of Scottish crime”, as well as “one of the best crime writers of her generation”. Her latest entry is, as they say in the UK, a corker!

To read the complete review, please visit
Elaine Tomasso
Aug 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I would like to thank Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for an advance copy of Broken Ground, the fifth novel to feature DCI Karen Pirie of Police Scotland's Historical Crime Unit.

Karen is out chasing leads on a series of historical rapes when she is asked to divert to Wester Ross where a body has been discovered, buried with some Long sought treasure. As the victim is wearing modern clothing he obviously wasn't buried at the same time as the treasure so who is he, how did he get there an
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: netgalley
Detective Karen Pirie is a cold case murder closer. McDermid weaves two investigations for Karen to unwind while battling her superior's scrutiny. Even though this is part of a series; Broken Ground is very much a stand alone read. There was times the narrative was a bit slow but the skill of this author of getting everything told and tied up by the end made this worth picking up. "A copy of this book was provided by Grove Atlantic Monthly Press via Netgalley with no requirements for a review. C ...more
Jan 15, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mcdermid
Broken Ground ( Inspector Karen Pirie, #5) by Val McDermid.

This author writes books that can be read in a series or stand alone. This series is one I will continue to follow and happy to have found it.
Detective Karen Pirie is a go getter that faces obstacles head on, even if one of those obstacles happens to be her boss. Jason, a newcomer, becomes a trustworthy team mate and one that Karen needs to depend on.

Alice Somerville and her spouse arrive in the Highlands ne
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Forsyth County Pu...: October 2019 - Broken Ground 2 5 Oct 29, 2019 01:58PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Untitled book now has a title 2 22 Jul 27, 2018 06:09AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Careless Love (Inspector Banks, #25)
  • In a House of Lies (Inspector Rebus, #22)
  • The Comforts of Home (Simon Serrailler #9)
  • The Long Call (Two Rivers, #1)
  • Wild Fire (Shetland Island, #8)
  • The Stone Circle (Ruth Galloway, #11)
  • Big Sky (Jackson Brodie, #5)
  • Their Little Secret (Tom Thorne, #16)
  • The Man with No Face
  • The Killing Habit (Tom Thorne, #15)
  • Fall Down Dead (Ben Cooper & Diane Fry, #18)
  • The Stranger Diaries
  • All That’s Dead (Logan McRae #12)
  • Cold as the Grave: Inspector McLean 9 (The Inspector McLean Series)
  • Many Rivers to Cross (Inspector Banks, #26)
  • The Blood Road (Logan McRae #11)
  • The Burglar
  • Sins of the Dead  (Rhona Macleod #13)
See similar books…
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

Other books in the series

Inspector Karen Pirie (5 books)
  • The Distant Echo (Inspector Karen Pirie, #1)
  • A Darker Domain (Inspector Karen Pirie, #2)
  • The Skeleton Road (Inspector Karen Pirie, #3)
  • Out of Bounds (Inspector Karen Pirie, #4)
“Her anger was a memory now. She didn't believe in bearing grudges.
She believed in killing them where they lay.”
“to do with the map. Still, better safe than sorry. He stuck the map and the letter back into the envelope and put it in his inside pocket. A quick reconnaissance revealed the cottage had a back door leading to a tiny yard which in turn gave on to a narrow lane that led back towards the river. Far less chance of being spotted than if he went out the front door. In less than a minute, he was walking along the bank of the Coquet, a man with nothing more on his mind than a riverside stroll on a pleasant morning. Nobody would have guessed how bitter was his disappointment. 50 2018 – Edinburgh” 0 likes
More quotes…