Read A Darker Domain by Val McDermid Online


1984, Fife. Heiress Catriona Maclennan Grant & her baby son are kidnapped. The ransom payoff goes horribly wrong. She is killed while her son disappears without trace. 2008, Tuscany. A jogger stumbles upon dramatic new evidence that re-opens the cold case. For Detective Sergeant Karen Pirie, it's an opportunity to make her mark....

Title : A Darker Domain
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780007243297
Format Type : Hardcover
Number of Pages : 371 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

A Darker Domain Reviews

  • Matt
    2018-07-24 05:09

    McDermid returns with a novel that gives Karen Pirie the central role she lacked in the series' opening novel. Now a Detective Inspector with Cold Cases, Pirie is approached by a woman who wishes to report her father missing after twenty-two years. Pirie learns that Mick Prentice was presumed to have left for Nottingham during the miner's strike of 1984, where he worked as a scab. However, the more Pirie learns, the less likely Prentice appears to be prone to cross the union, no matter his financial situation. She agrees to poke around, off the books, already on bad terms with her superior. When handed a high-profile case, Pirie heads out to meet with Sir Broderick Maclennan Grant, whose daughter and grandson made headlines in the late 1980s. After Catriona Maclennan Grant and her son, Adam, were kidnapped, a group of purported anarchists contacted the family and demanded a significant ransom. During the ensuing exchange, Catriona was shot and killed, leaving the kidnappers to flee with baby Adam. For the past twenty years, Sir Broderick has been unsure what might have happened to his grandson. Distrusting of the authorities, Grant liaises with a journalist in hopes that she can use her skills to investigate and hopefully crack the case wide open. Pirie works on a few leads, though both cases seem to be going nowhere. None of the other miners who left Scotland had seen Mick Prentice since heading to Nottingham, though Pirie did uncover proof that life in the Prentice household was anything but peaceful. This fuels her belief that Mick abandoned his family, though there is no clear lead as to where he might have gone. The Grant cases takes Pirie to Italy, where the kidnappers might have fled with Adam, offering him a new identity and life, wiped clean by the little one's young age. With her superiors breathing down her neck, Pirie pushes forward to piece together the new evidence and offer two families the answers they have lacked for the better part of twenty years. With all cold cases, answers are sometimes met with frigid responses for all parties involved. Another fabulous novel, chock-full of flashback narrative, that pulls the reader in from the early pages and refuses to let anyone rest before justice is served.While I did make mention of Pirie's smaller role played in the opening novel, McDermid has changed this by placing her in the middle of these two convoluted cases, which push the authorities to their limits. McDermid build a great plot around numerous well-developed characters, each bringing their own flavour to the story. With two cases running parallel to one another in the narrative, McDermid must juggle all aspects effectively, keeping the story from getting too confusing or bogged down. As with any narrative dealing with cold cases, use of flashbacks fuels the story and the reader learns much from the use of past and present. However, McDermid has a means of using varied timelines effectively while not convoluting the larger picture. The reader can confidently navigate the story without losing their way as they seek answers. Additionally, the novel boasts realistic dialogue peppered with colloquialisms and Scottish settings, allowing McDermid to write using what she knows best while delivering a superior product. Readers will not be let down by this novel, which paves the way for another explosive story to come. Kudos, Madam McDermid for an exciting novel. It kept my attention and had me wondering where you'd take your twists until the very end. Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at:

  • Barbara
    2018-07-21 04:02

    This is the second of the Karen Pirrie novels. It is a complicated story of a kidnapping gone wrong, and a separate case of a missing miner. Both cases date back to 1984. I didn't realize that Scotland had extensive coal mining, and were part of the Miners' Strikes 1984-85, when Thatcher and the union leader Arthur Scargil, shared the blame for destroying the livelihood of so many. A UK journalist on holiday breaks into an abandoned villa in Italy. She discovers a large blood stain, and a silkscreened poster that is familiar. She learns squatters had been living there until recently, and that the poster is connected to a Scottish kidnapping. Karen Pirrie is in the mix as she is investigating the missing miner case, and suspects a connection to the kidnapping. As always, Karen manages to infuriate her boss, and alienate some of her co-workers. We see her relationship with her colleague, Phil, develop.I listened to the audiobook which was not the same narrator as Karen Pirrie #4. She didn't differentiate the accents although the author clearly describes the character's accent and its origin.Worth a listen (or read) for those who like the Karen Pirrie series.

  • BrokenTune
    2018-07-31 05:01

    Karen leaned back in her chair, not liking the answer she came up with, but knowing there would be nothing better coming from the man opposite her. ‘You were a right bunch of fucking cowboys in the old days, weren’t you?’ There was no admiration in her tone.I don't know what I expected but I did not expect to like this book as much as I did. I gather from a lot of comments and other reviews that this is one of McDermid's weaker offerings but I actually really enjoyed the mix of interlinking stories, each of which had it's own element of suspense:The search for a donor that is compatible with a sick child.The disappearance of a man who seemingly one day walks out on his family in the midst of the 1984 miners' strikes.The journalist in search of a story.The business oligarch in search of his peace of mind.And DI Karen Pirie searching for the solutions to all of these puzzles. As mentioned before, I'm not keen on reading gory tales or scary thrillers, and I was pleasantly surprised that the suspense - and there are oodles of suspense in this - was built not on gory facts but on characters and atmosphere. The elements of forensic detail just helped piece the clues together and follow the investigation. So, yes, my apprehension of reading this was totally unwarranted - and yes, it was all in my head. Just as well, because having read this one I look forward to reading more by McDermid. It's is not just her writing style that made me hungry for more but also the setting - Kingdom of Fife - and the historical snippets.

  • Barbara
    2018-07-31 05:52

    3.5 starsThe 1984 coal miners' strike in Great Britain hit the Scottish town of Newton of Wemyss very hard. Miners' families had no heat, no food, and no hope. In desperation, a few blacklegs (scabs) went south to work in the mines of Nottingham, England. The scabs were scorned and despised by Newton townspeople, and the families they left behind were vilified. So.....when miner Mick Prentice disappeared from Newton in 1984 his wife Jennie and daughter Misha assumed he'd gone scabbing and wrote him out of their lives forever. Jump ahead to 2007 and Misha's little son Luke is dying from leukemia and in dire need of a blood marrow transplant. Unable to find a compatible donor among local family members, Misha tries to locate her father.....and discovers he never went to Nottingham. So after 22 years Misha goes to the police and declares Mick Prentice a missing person. Detective Inspector Karen Pirie, a cold case cop who tends to go her own way, dives into the inquiry. However she has to hide this from her disapproving boss, Assistant Chief Constable Simon Lees - who's been nicknamed 'The Macaroon' and considered a 'numpty' (bit of a fool). ACC Lees doesn't want to spend money on this old case, and his interactions with Karen are the funniest parts of the book. Karen is soon assigned an additional cold case. More than two decades ago an heiress named Catriona Maclennan Grant and her infant son Adam were kidnapped. Catriona's father, Sir Broderick Maclennan Grant, agreed to pay a huge ransom, but the handover went wrong. In the confusion Catriona was killed, the kidnappers escaped, and baby Adam disappeared.Now, 20-plus years later, a freelance journalist named Bel Richmond is vacationing in Italy when she happens upon a clue to the Catriona kidnapping. The journalist parlays her discovery into an interview with the reclusive Sir Broderick Maclennan Grant, who reports the clue to the cops and insists that DI Pirie handle the case. Grant also asks Bel to (secretly) gather more information in Tuscany.....perhaps thinking of dispatching a little frontier justice. Bel readily agrees to go, hoping to get a book deal - or even a movie - out of the whole business. Meanwhile, DI Pirie and her partner - DS Phil Parhatka - juggle the two cases. To locate Mick, the detectives speak to his family and friends as well as officers of the old National Miner's Union. They also ask the Nottingham police to interview the scabs who settled there years before. To find Catriona's kidnappers, the cops talk to her father and ex-boyfriend and get help from the carabinieri in Italy. As the investigations proceed new information and discoveries come to light regarding both inquiries. The story alternates between the past and present, so we learn what was going on in the characters' lives twenty years ago and how the investigations are proceeding now. To say much more would give away spoilers. I will say, though, that there's a little flirty tension between DI Karen and DS Phil. However Karen - who sees herself as plain, chubby, and rumpled - doesn't really believe Phil could be romantically interested in her. As the investigations into the two cold cases proceed some readers may think they know how things will turn out....but there are some big surprises. I'd recommend the book to mystery fans.I'll definitely read more Val McDermid mysteries. (I've read McDermid's non-fiction book Forensics: What Bugs, Burns, Prints, DNA and More Tell Us About Crime - which is excellent.)You can follow my reviews at

  • Hana
    2018-07-27 07:59

    A Darker Domain started strong with a cold case involving miners who went missing during the brutal strike of 1984-1985. Having recently read How Green Was My Valley I appreciated being brought up to date on UK mining and the strike's impact. There were some interesting settings including the Wemyss Caves in Fife that actually exist and have famous Pictish wall drawings. DI Karen Pirie is likable character who describes herself as a wee fat person. But there were far too many characters (quite literally dozens!) and almost as many shifts in POV. McDermid's attempt to tie the miners story in with a kidnapping gone wrong gets impossibly complicated. I particularly loathed the improbable romance thrown in at the end for no apparent reason except perhaps to prove (view spoiler)[that wee, fat, somewhat elderly ladies can have sex too. (hide spoiler)] By the end all the characters had morphed from being real people into mere plot devices and I no longer gave a hoot about any of them. I guessed the basic solution 80 pages from the end and skimmed to reach the last page...on which McDermid has the nerve to introduce yet another new character. One final sore point: McDermid's plot resolutions relied heavily on DNA analysis, yet she has not done enough homework to know how DNA testing really works, how long it took in 2007 with even ideal samples, how shaky the results can be, and how slowly actual police labs work. This is the first McDermid I've read and I'm not likely to read another, though now that I've read more GR review of this it seems I was unlucky enough to pick one of her weaker books. Content PG: Lots of F bombs and a stupid sex scene.

  • Michael
    2018-08-18 11:08

    It may have been a mistake to read "A Dark Domain" as close to the new Laura Lippman novel as I did. Lippman's stories always set my expectations bar high for mystery stories. I really did think Val McDermid had it in her to compete with Lippman. I consumed "A Place of Execution" a few years ago, but I have to be honest that McDermid's novels since then have been rather hit or miss for me. Chalk "A Dark Domain" up as a miss.And it's got such an intriguing premise. A woman walks into the cold case division, wanting them to help her find her missing father. He vanished under mysterious circumstances 20 years before, during the British coal strike. The family never bothered to look for him since they felt abandoned by him. Now, the daughter is married and has a child with a rare disease who could use a bone marrow transfusion from a close family member. With options running out, she decides that the time has come to try and track down her dad, to see if he might help the grandchild.Meanwhile, a journalist on vacation stumbles across evidence in the cold case of a vanished woman and her son. The woman is the daughter of a wealthy Scottish man and the disappearance has gone unsolved these many years.Two cold cases involving the disapparance of family members. The story is told between the present and the past, with each flashback illuminating the case in a different way. It's a simliar storytelling technique to the one used on "Lost" where our glimpses of the past help illuminate things currently unfolding in the present. And yet as intriguing as the premise is, it never really connected with me. There is a clock ticking, but there's not a sense of urgency to the solve the cases. And once you do get to the solution, it's a bit disappointing and not as rewarding as I'd hoped it would be. The worst thing you can say about a mystery novel is that the solution isn't worth the journey. Unfortunately, that's the case with this one.

  • Karen
    2018-07-26 10:12

    Val McDermid has tackled some social history that is obviously very dear to her own heart in A DARKER DOMAIN, and it has to be said, she's done it with considerable style. Not only does this book give you a fascinating glimpse into the social chaos and personal pain caused by the Miner's Strikes in early 1980's Britain, it carries the story of three unfathomable disappearances.Cold Case squad detectives DI Karen Pirie and DS Phil Parhatka are initially looking into the disappearance of Mick Prentice - reported missing 22 years after he supposedly broke ranks and joined the scabs in the devastating miners' strike of 1984. There's also the baffling disappearance of Mick's mate Andy about the same time. Unfortunately Karen's boss thinks that new evidence in the case of the dead heiress and missing son (and grandson) of a wealthy and powerful man is more important. Karen isn't all that fazed by pressure from on high though, and she's able to dance a fine line between both investigations.The action in this book does take a couple of overseas trips to Tuscany, but mostly it stays within the small mining community of East Wemyss (a place that Val spent time with her grandparents as a child), and the way that the setting is portrayed in this book is wonderful. Not just the look and layout of the place, but the psyche of the place. The damage that the miners' strike caused, within families, throughout the community, the fractured lives demonstrated was really moving in some places, but at no stage did it become sentimental or overblown. There's also romantic element to this book which is also well done and quite funny. In fact that is something about this book which you wouldn't expect - there is a sense of humour amidst the sadness that lifts the story beautifully.DI Karen Pirie is a tremendous character, with (hopefully), real possibilities for an ongoing series. An archetypal maverick police officer maybe - she's just not afraid to manipulate, defy and flat out be as devious as she needs, to do what she thinks is the right thing. Phil as her offsider is perfect, less emotional, equally as determined, they are a really good team.An extremely solid and nicely twisting plot; a couple of very engaging central characters; an interfering and weak boss; a powerful man who wants to know where his grandson is; a daughter who needs to find her father; a wife who cannot forgive; and a sister who is grief stricken 22 years after the unexplained; there's an enormous amount in A DARKER DOMAIN. But at the base of it is a community that was destroyed - to the point where the abnormal was accepted as the normal, and there's no sign of recovery. Beautifully done, A DARKER DOMAIN is simply and utterly a wow of a book.Link operations

  • Catherine
    2018-08-07 07:54

    Meh.This started out promising. DCI Karen Pirie has been promoted from The Distant Echo, as a cold case detective and as a character, after having put her former boss in prison for murder. Two cases from December 1984 (during the Scottish mining strike) come to the surface at the same time. One is the disappearance of a miner who was presumed to have departed with a group of Scabs, but his daughter has discovered that he didn't go with those men after all. (As she now has a young son dying of leukemia, her interest in finding her missing father has returned.). The other is the kidnapping and subsequent murder of a young heiress. Her infant son was ransomed with her, but after the botched payoff, he and the kidnappers disappeared without a trace. Of course these two cases are connected, because this is a mystery novel and not real life, but the solution to the mystery is too bizarre, plot developments come out of nowhere, and the conclusion is unsatisfying. Some of the forensic science is unrealistic (i.e. how quickly DNA can be tested). This may be my last Val McDermid.

  • Lynn
    2018-08-07 06:11

    Detective Inspector Karen Pirie is in charge of cold cases in the Kingdom of Fife (I love that). A young mother contacts the police to report her father missing. The trail is a little cold, he's been gone for 25 years. The back story is that Mick Prentice disappeared during the 1984 miner's strike, presumed to have gone off scabbing with a group of fellow coal miners. The case is interesting enough to catch Karen's attention, but her boss has other plans. A clue to an unsolved kidnapping surfaces in Italy. The victims were the family of a wealthy man whose name carries a lot of weight in Scotland. Politics dictate that Karen focus on that case. She is determined though and manages to switch some resources to the other investigation.This was a decent story with a background highlighting a disturbing time in Scotland's history. The ending was not up to Val McDermid's usual standards as the storyline began to lean towards the preposterous. That doesn't impact my love of her writing. McDermid is one of the best crime writers in the market.

  • Robin
    2018-08-14 05:04

    This is another standalone from the talented Val McDermid, who as usual is able to weave together many threads to produce one compelling narrative. By the time I got to the end of the book I couldn't stop reading it. The main character is Detective Karen Pirie, a cold case detective in Fife, Scotland. She gets two cases that are real heartbreakers: one is the case of a young woman looking for her long missing father - she hopes his bone marrow can help save her gravely ill son. The other is the case of the long murdered Catriona Grant, who was kidnapped with her infant son and killed. New evidence has surfaced that suggests the case isn't cold and that her son may be alive somewhere. THe investigative threads weave back and forth while the skillful MDermid paints the characters with her usual detailed brush. This is a perfect combination of plot, character, setting and lovely writing.

  • Peter Birchenough
    2018-08-11 07:10

    Not having previously been keen to read a Val McDermid book after my first experience, I was persuaded to pick up another; A Darker Domain being the recommended novel to start with. After getting through the first through chapters and getting used to the prose, I was finding myself being drawn in to a very well written mystery. I found I was soon truly drawn in and didn't want to put it down. There were a number of plot lines going on that got the imagination running away with itself and the build up to the grand finale was excellent and a real page turner. The suspense built up and the outcome was satisfactory, however the last page just seemed to be an afterthought and it confused me slightly..... I just seemed like an afterthought and a bit vague. But, on the whole, well worth a read and will encourage me to try another of Val McDermid's novels.

  • Joyce
    2018-08-07 06:09

    Part of my disappointment in this was that I was reading it for a purpose--making a list of Celtic Noir mysteries. Lots of it takes place in Italy, which didn't fit what I was looking for. Still an interesting series. I had listened to the first, Distant Echo, when it came out in 2009, without knowing it was the first in the series--wasn't marketed that way. Interesting series character, prickly detective Karen Pirie, who works cold cases in Scotland. Two cases are intertwined here, and the first is almost lost with most emphasis on the second, until they come together at the end. Not McDermid's best work--though that puts it above many mysteries written today. I've always liked the Carol Jordan/Tony Hill thrillers and McDermid's standalones, especially The Place of Execution. A good author but not the series or title to start with.

  • Sandra
    2018-08-12 08:03

    Bought to read on an 11 hour plane journey and did the job, i.e. was well-enough written to enable me to read it and sufficiently intriguingly plotted to keep me interested, but overall impression was it was all a bit too stretched, a little far-fetched (not really a criticism in a fictional tale!) and jumpy in its delivery.

  • Carol/Bonadie
    2018-07-25 05:58

    A Scotland detective head of cold cases investigated two from twenty years back, one a kidnapping gone wrong, the other the case of a missing miner. Val McDermid is a master at thrillers with a dark twist and this one does not disappoint. This was a rare out-of-order read for me as I didn’t notice this was a series. Luckily it is only #2 and I have #1 on the TBR. I liked this so much I may even read it next, even though I know the outcome of that case because it played a small part in the unravelling of one of these crimes. Wonderful narration by Fraser.

  • M.L. Rudolph
    2018-08-12 05:49

    2008. A cold missing persons case in a Scottish mining town reopens an unsolved twenty-two year old kidnapping and murder and leads Detective Inspector Karen Pirie to a pair of "unrelated" disappearances which altogether unravel the complex relationship between the miners and the most powerful man in Scotland. If that sounds like a huge story, it is. We've got: Class warfare. Gender warfare. Abuse of power. Press connivance. Provincialism. Nationalism. Union busters and scabs. Art versus commerce versus love. Marital infidelity and betrayal. Families versus families versus neighbors and friends. Murder, robbery, conspiracy. And the 1984 miners strike in Great Britain. Plus, to set the clock ticking, a young child is in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant from his missing father. I admire Val McDermid and so do alot of other people. She's won a shelf of awards and has had her characters and novels brought to life in acclaimed TV programs and serials. She doesn't need me to write a few words about anything she's done as journalist or novelist. Her place is secure. My two stars will twinkle in the nighttime sky unseen by anyone but me.But I barely got through this book. Which made me wonder why we like one book and not another. What makes us connect to a character, say, or a voice? Why do we fall deeply into one story and not care about another? It isn't simply that one book is well-written and another one isn't. McDermid writes expertly. She is a master of her craft. I have read other work by her and been blown away.I like the genre. I lived in London--not Scotland, I admit--and traveled the novel's terrain. I remember the time and the history of the miners strike. But reading this book was a chore. So why didn't I just chuck it and move on to something else? No one forced me to keep reading. That's what puzzles me. I kept reading even though I felt led along by made-up characters purposefully created to bring out the class warfare etc as listed above. The plot was overly complex and over the course of four hundred pages it unfolded backwards, as any good mystery does, at a snail's pace. It didn't help that nothing was much of a surprise. It didn't help that nearly all the characters were unlikeable, with the exception of the protag, DI Pirie. It didn't help that--without giving anything away--a key character explained everything he did in a fifteen page letter, the epistolary equivalent of a drawing room confession, making that character utterly despicable in the process. McDermid's fans will probably tell me to get stuffed. Even though the author has deep heartfelt passion for the community of miners, that's not enough to make for a great or even a good book. Her passion is genuine. The well-crafted book though is a failure. It is flat. It is predictable. It is paint-by-the-numbers. I guess I'm getting to the reasons why I don't like this book. But does that translate to why we don't like one book over another? Do we need to be surprised, if not wowed, or at least steered into a new direction by either story, voice, or character? Do we need to be transported somehow somewhere? Do we need to be more than entertained? Do we need to look up from the book and consider our world a bit differently? What makes a story work, resonate, remain with us?Don’t have those answers yet. But I'll keep trying.Looking on the bright side, if someone with McDermid's talent can turn out an occasional clunker, maybe there's hope for the rest of us. We might just turn the tables on the writing muses and toss off the odd winner.

  • MeinKampfy
    2018-07-19 08:53

    Val McDermid, i like to imagine, is good with dogs. she always seems to make some reference to dogs in her books, be it in analogy ("she shook the rain out of her hair like a wet dog") or as direct appellation (depicting the expressive eyes of an actual dog). most importantly, The Dog That Did Not Bark--that the absence of an expected happenstance is a red flag-- is a practiced axiom in her oeuvre, where the most genuine of communications often takes place in What She Did Not Say, and What He Did Not Say. 'A Darker Domain,' unfortunately, has far too much barking, accompanied by a dog translator.'A Darker Domain' is the most 'cinematic' of Val McDermid's novels, in that the whole book is mostly structured as Scene (usually of Interview/Confession)-> Flashback, wherein each flashback is a reveal in the mystery, and so the plot plunges forward, only to drag into another Scene -> Flashback, ad nauseam. geography features prominently with generous descriptions of scenery and time, but ultimately fails to facilitate the tedious time travel; such a style not only hearkens back to History channel reenactments with all their cheesy awkwardness, but also persistently frustrates the reader who solves the cases the instant they are introduced--in the very opening of the book. it was just all so obvious.the ending ending feels too rushed and tacked on, while the characters lack certain impetus (protagonist's romance materialises too suddenly, references to previous cases and other minor characters are quick and numerous), which leads me to question whether this might have been an old skeleton for a new series (novels, or, more likely for reasons stated here, a short tv show) that was, for whatever reason, abbreviated. so, the barking. there is a lot of talking. at length. in fact, all the revelations come inside quotation marks, even to the extent that the author will use someone as her mouthpiece to reiterate the reveal immediately afterwards, to make certain your daft reader got it. the author will often have a character say cliches, always qualifying that by admitting to doing so, right afterwards. surely, Val, you are better than this! one of the major points in the story occurs through a confessional letter from beyond the grave. very by-the-numbers, sophomoric, and disappointing from Val McDermid.

  • Gail
    2018-08-13 06:13

    Oh this is good, very very good. The second in the series featuring the great, DI Karen Pirie. I actually couldn't put it down or stop thinking about it when I wasn't reading it. I just love the way it's written.Briefly, it starts with the report to the Cold Case Review Team (which Karen is head of) of missing Mick Prentice (by his daughter) who disappeared without trace some 22 years previously. Karen is also then summoned to the home of mega wealthy businessman, Sir Broderick Maclennan Grant, after evidence has come to light, quite unexpectedly, about the kidnap and ransom of his daughter and baby grandson in 1985 after the handover went horribly wrong: his daughter being killed and his grandson taken by the kidnappers, never to be seen again. Karen's boss, Assistant Chief Constable Simon Lees, nicknamed by the team as the Macaroon, is an unintentionally hilarious character. He is completely bumbling and Karen literally runs rings around him. One particular chapter where Karen is summoned to his office, had me hysterically laughing. All well and good, but when it's 2am and your husband is sound asleep at the side of you, not good! Totally terrific writing and I liked the fact we got the background from the various witnesses on what has happened between the two very different cases. I just love Karen and can't wait to start the next in her brilliant career, which I am just about to rectify now. Terrific and highly recommended.

  • Alex
    2018-08-05 05:04

    While McDermid doesn't play all of her cards too early, A Darker Domain almost completely runs out of steam once everything is revealed. She attempts to inject some thrills into the last thirty pages but they are damp squibs in what was, up to them, a fairly compelling crime novel powered by two interesting protagonists acting both together and at cross purposes.Using several of the same characters of The Distant Echo, A Darker Domain dredges up the ghosts of both the 1984 miner's strike and a bungled abduction from the same time. Naturally, these cases intersect. Up until a certain point everything works, and then it just stops working so well. The machinery begins to grind and McDermid falls back on ideas that are not lazy so much as they are typical and half-baked.DI Karen Pirie gives A Darker Domain breath and carries it over the finish line, but the last stretch of this book brings it down from the four it would otherwise have enjoyed.

  • Carey Combe
    2018-08-17 07:00

    This was spoilt, for me, by the unbelievable sink into murderous behaviour by Adam and the unrealistic death of Mike's friend by Cat. The continual back and forth of the story got annoying too. However, said that up to then cleverly plotted and good characterisation.

  • Bettie☯
    2018-07-19 08:17

    (view spoiler)[Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  • Mainer207
    2018-07-25 09:48

    Wow! So much in this one book. I liked it. The story jumps from the present to past events to describe events in real time as opposed to having someone relate them. Took a while for me to get used to especially as I was listening to the audiobook. It made me pay attention to the dates. I enjoyed the story. How seemingly unrelated incidents set DI Perie against her boss and on a complicated journey involving kidnapping, murder (of course), puppets, Tuscany, the miners' strike, and a potential love interest. Good stuff!The ending surprised me. It was abrupt and I wasn't expecting it. I'm looking forward to more about Karen and Phil. The characters are well developed and the writing is excellent. I'm sorry it's taken me so long to read McDermid's work. This is my second and won't be my last.

  • Jerry B
    2018-08-08 10:17

    Having read two each of McDermid’s Kate Brannigan and Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series, we thought we’d try one from her newest set featuring the Scot (police) Inspector Karen Pirie. We happened upon this second entry, “Darker Domain”, but in retrospect wish we had started with the first novel, “Distant Echo”, as some of that back story would have been good to know, plus the ending of that prior book is mostly totally spoiled in this one.At any rate, Pirie is working in a cold case unit, and has been assigned (after discovery of a new clue in Italy) to work the 22-year-old kidnapping case affecting the county’s wealthiest and powerful resident, in which his daughter was killed and his grandson never recovered. Pirie gets concurrently sidetracked by a missing person case from roughly that same time frame which earned some exigency because a child seriously ill needing a bone marrow transplant might be able to use the missing man as a donor. The two cases fight for her attention, with her boss seriously restricting her ability to access and pursue the wealthy Grant family despite wanting her to put all her efforts on that case. Meanwhile, the Grant patriarch, used to controlling everything in his life and family, hires an investigative journalist to essentially play private eye on the same matter – so much of the story traces her efforts "competing" with the police.Unfortunately, the bulk of the tale is written as alternating sections about each plot – which moreover, to make matters worse, alternate between present day investigative efforts and flashbacks to first-person narrative about things happening two decades ago. We hate that technique; and found it a long, boring, and often confusing presentation of the story’s developments. Then after wading all through that, the book suddenly reveals and solves all in a few short concluding chapters. It seems we needed far less of the middle book and far more of the end. Other readers more familiar with local history see efforts by the author to “document” and perhaps comment on the social ills of a big miner’s strike that upset the economy at the time – illumination mostly wasted on us.We liked protagonist Pirie, but did not at all appreciate the storytelling and flashback techniques. A relatively good plot saved what otherwise might have been a pretty unenjoyable reading adventure.

  • Michael
    2018-08-12 10:53

    Det Inspector Karen Pirie and Det Sgt Phil Parketak of the cold case squad are asked to find a person who had been missing for over 20 years.Michelle "Misha" Gibson is searching for her father, Mick Prentice, who apparently became a strikebreaker in the 1984 minor's strike, and then disappeared. The reason Misha waited so long to report his absence is that both she and her mother felt that becoming a strikebreaker was equivalent to treason to the other minors and they wanted nothing more to do with him.Now, things have changed, Misha and her husband, John, are looking for Mitch because they need a bone marrow donator who will be a match for their son, Luke, who has a type of anemia and getting the bone marrow donation could save the boy's life.As Karen is investigating Mitch's disappearance, she is sent to the home of Sir Broderick Grant, one of the wealthiest men in Scotland. Grant's daughter and grandson were kidnapped in 1984. Something went wrong with the payoff, Grant's daughter, Cat, was killed and the grandson never seen again. Now a tourist, Bel Richmond, who is also a reporter, has found some important evidence while on vacation in Tuscany.Two interesting, interwinding cases. This was a lot for the reader to follow without becoming a bit confused. Still, a good read. Val McDermott always provides good suspense. Karin Pirie is a strong character who is professional and yet compassionate.

  • Iowa City Public Library
    2018-07-28 04:48

    I am a Val McDermid fan. She writes a couple of series featuring characters Tony Hill, Kate Brannigan and Lindsay Gordon. A Darker Domain is a stand alone title featuring Detective Inspector Karen Pirie of the Fife, Scotland Cold Case Squad. Karen is working simultaneously on the long delayed (over twenty years!) report of a missing father and a kidnapping gone tragic. Mick Prentice disappeared during a 1984 miners’ strike and was thought to have gone ‘scabbing’, but his daughter is now in need of bone-marrow transplant for her very ill child and is trying to find him… only it doesn’t look like he ever showed up where people thought he had gone. Simultaneously a journalist vacationing with friends in Italy stumbles on new evidence in a kidnapping case that resulted in the death of a mother and the disappearance of a child. She sees an opportunity to write a blockbuster and pursues an investigation at the request of the wealthy father/grandfather. The chapters jump back and forth between the two cases and between the past and the present. The history of the miners’ strike and story of their community is very interesting. If you like British mysteries be sure to try this one. --SusanFrom ICPL Staff Picks Blog

  • Mark
    2018-07-27 03:53

    Val McDermid definitely knows how to construct a mystery plot, and how to make seemingly parallel lines meet by the end of the story. Although The Darker Domain was entertaining and had interesting characters and situations, it was a little too easy to see where it was going. Read The Distant Echo before this one if you want to avoid some major spoilers.

  • Margie
    2018-08-13 05:58

    This was my introduction to Val McDermid. I'll read more of her, but I don't think this will prove to be her best work. I liked the setting (Scotland, the miners' strike), and clearly she's a good writer, but the mystery was made apparent with more than a hundred pages to go, and my interest wasn't sustained. It felt as though McDermid really struggled with the last third of the book. I don't think it was well handled.A minor complaint is that the story is told in chunks, with headers indicating the location and date. There are converging plot lines from different time frames and locales. I don't think that the headers help - in fact, I found them distracting and confusing. There are easier and more elegant solutions to multiple time lines.I liked the book, and I'll give McDermid another chance, but I'm hoping for better on my next selection of hers.

  • Bayneeta
    2018-08-08 08:08

    Hadn't read McDermid in a while--sorry I wasted time on this one. Two cold case crimes are being investigated. So there are two plot lines and two different time periods for each of them. Two key females investigating--police officer and investigative journalist. It wasn't just confusing jumping back and forth from crime to crime and from current day to the 1980s, it was annoying. I'd just get involved in one storyline and suddenly I'd be ripped away and thrown into the other storyline. And, while I will not spoil it, the ending was far from satisfactory. I did like the female cop. Overall, a dispointment.

  • Kristine R.
    2018-07-25 07:02

    My only complaint about Val McDermid is that the Scottish slang is sometimes difficult to process. I've read entire paragraphs where I've had to Google every sentence. This is another fantastic book in the Karen Pirie series, although the end is mildly confusing and leaves some issues unresolved (that I am sure are dealt with in a later series book). My favorite thing about her books is that the stories are so intertwined there are several outcome possibilities and you never know which one she will choose (usually it's one I hadn't even considered). Great read.

  • Linda
    2018-07-19 05:07

    Val McDermid has crafted a genuine page turner here, expertly revealing bits of evidence via the technique of interspersing chapters about then amongst the chapters about now. The reader gets the evidence as soon as the tecs do, and puzzling yet intriguing bits they are. The Italian bureaucracy, the ethics of journalism, the corrupting power of money, and the refusal to cave under any of these pressures, drive this plot to a truly surprising conclusion. A Darker Domain is crime fiction at its best, and McDermid is at the top of her game.

  • Roger
    2018-07-29 08:53

    Karen Pirie is assigned a cold case file, an interesting one involving the daughter of a very powerful and wealthy (synonymous) man who has also "hired" a reporter to get to the bottom of the death which occurred 22 years prior. A very convoluted, back-and-forth chase for the truth ensues and at times we are unsure who to suspect and, for that matter, who exactly is who. I give it four stars for the story, and five for the writing. I wish I could have read it in one sitting (and taken notes...).