My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In 1979, Val McDermid has begun a new series with an investigating journalist, Allie Burns, as the protagonist.
Val McDermid definitely needs no introduction, hailed as the Queen of crime, she establishes her moniker with panache in her latest release. 1979 is no explosive thriller where the readers get a whiplash trying to make sense of the twists and turns that are woven thru the story. In fact, the mystery element in the story as to the identity of the murderer comes in about after almost 60% of the book is done but even then the author magically captures the attention of the reader with her layered story-telling of corruption and danger.
It is not an easy time in history, where the harsh winter and economical changes have already crippled a nation, and having worked as a journalist during the same year, Val McDermid captures the era in such an accurate fashion that the reader is made to acknowledge every step taken by Allie. It is also a time when women are given only the grunge work and it is also a time when coming out of the closet about your sexual preferences can mean the end of the world.
Allie partnering with her colleague Danny has to work for the stories that they can claim, so when a whiff of corruption lands in Danny lap via a passing comment by his brother, Danny seeks out the help of Allie to polish the story and give it that extra zing thus giving it maximum impact upon publication. Allie then returns the favor by pulling in Danny to go undercover among a group of dissidents who wants to nudge the ruling government and make a stand.
It is hard to say which part of the story I loved the best, the writing by the author absolutely magnificent, the scenes where the dissenters actually hatch a plan evokes such pity coz it was easily one of the most fluid piece of the writing by the author. All of them are sitting in a pub and cribbing about being unable to do anything and before they know it, one says something, the other adds to the fuel and just like that a terrorist plot is born. And that is exactly how most of these plans come about, the discontent that breeds to some kind of action for which a heavy consequence has to be paid.
Val McDermid is at her best with 1979, Allie Burns a character I would love to follow thru all her investigations. If you are one who prefers a quick and gripping thriller, this may not work for you but for those of you who love solid and classical suspense stories, 1979 is a perfect choice.
Many thanks to Net Galley, Grove Atlantic, and the author for a chance to read and review this book. All opinions are expressed voluntarily.
Hailed as Britain’s Queen of Crime, Val McDermid’s award-winning, internationally bestselling novels have captivated readers for more than thirty years. Now, in 1979, she returns to the past with the story of Allie Burns, an investigative journalist whose stories lead her into world a corruption, terror, and murder.
The year started badly and only got worse–blizzards, strikes, power cuts, and political unrest were the norm. For journalist Allie Burns, however, someone else’s bad news was the unmistakable sound of opportunity knocking, and the year is ripe with possibilities. But Allie is a woman in a man’s world. Desperate to get away from the “women’s stories” the Glasgow desk keeps assigning her, she strikes up an alliance with wannabe investigative journalist Danny Sullivan. From the start, their stories create enemies. First an international tax fraud, then a potential Scottish terrorist group aiming to cause mayhem ahead of the impending devolution referendum. And then Danny is found murdered in his flat. For Allie, investigative journalism just got personal.
The first novel in McDermid’s newest series, 1979 is an atmospheric journey into the past with intriguing insight into the present, and the latest addition to McDermid’s crime pantheon.
This post contains affiliate links for products and services I recommend. If you make a purchase through those links, I may earn a small commission at no additional cost to you.