My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Many thanks to Net Galley, Grove Atlantic and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
My favorite series with Karen Pirie is back with the 6th installment in the series. All the books can be read as standalones but for the personal developments in Karen’s life, which is much better understood if read in order.
Karen Pirie is the DCI for the Historical Cases Unit in Police Scotland and along with detective constable Jason Murray aka The Mint believes firmly in providing justice to the dead irrespective of the time the case has been moldering as cold file.
Val McDermid, like always has worked wonders with 2 cases being handled simultaneously. While Karen is following the trail of a skeleton found in a camper van hidden in a garage, a body is found in the chill waters of the Firth of Forth. As DCI Charles and DS Daisy Mortimer identifies the victim as that of suspect in a missing person case of 10 years, Karen is pulled into the crime scene. There are enough twists and turns in both the cases to keep the reader hooked and reading late into the night. Art theft, forgery, money laundering, murder, Karen’s world explodes into areas she has never experienced before as the case takes her up on a journey across France, London and Ireland.
Readers who are familiar with the work of the author hailed as the Queen of Scottish Crime will once again applaud the mastery of the police procedural delivered in Still Life. And if you are a first time reader, make sure you stick to the end coz Val McDermid does not provide any wham bam entertaining police action, it is the painstaking work of dotting every I’s and crossing all the T’s. But absolute pleasure is definitely guaranteed at the end.
Karen’s strained personal life is not much in focus here, but I loved how Jason has grown stronger and more confident in his detective skills and is self-assured of his worth. Daisy as the young and chirpy team member was a wonderful addition to the story.
Amidst the police procedural, Val McDermid also weaves different threads of the current political scenarios of Brexit and even the Covid pandemic is seamlessly laced into the storyline. What I have always favored in the author’s books is that there is not much flowery language used to describe the beauty of Scotland, but her words still transport the reader and gives an atmospheric ambience. The Scottish culture comes alive also the different flavors of food, each part of the story being entwined beautifully.
One of the best police procedurals I have read in recent times, Still Life is a must read for all fans of crime thrillers! I can hardly wait for the ITV adaption to be up and running ASAP.
From internationally bestselling author Val McDermid comes a propulsive new Karen Pirie thriller that delves into a historic missing persons case, fake identities, and art forgery.
Val McDermid is the award-winning, international bestselling author of more than thirty novels and has been hailed as Britain’s Queen of Crime. In Still Life, McDermid returns to her propulsive series featuring DCI Karen Pirie, who finds herself investigating the shadowy world of forgery, where things are never what they seem.
When a lobster fisherman discovers a dead body in Scotland’s Firth of Forth, Karen is called into investigate. She quickly discovers that the case will require untangling a complicated web—including a historic disappearance, art forgery, and secret identities—that seems to orbit around a painting copyist who can mimic anyone from Holbein to Hockney. Meanwhile, a traffic crash leads to the discovery of a skeleton in a suburban garage. Needless to say, Karen has her plate full. Meanwhile, the man responsible for the death of the love of her life is being released from prison, reopening old wounds just as she was getting back on her feet.
Tightly plotted and intensely gripping, Still Life is Val McDermid at her best, and new and longtime readers alike will delight in the latest addition to this superior series.
This review is published in my blog https://rainnbooks.com/; Amazon India, Goodreads, and Twitter.