Review - Distant Echo by Val McDermid

The Distant Echo by Val McDermid
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was my first Val McDermid book and it certainly won't be my last!

McDermid delivers a fantastic crime / mystery story set in my homeland of Fife, Scotland and she does a great job for presenting the different areas of Fife exactly how they are like in real life.

The story begins when four lads drunkenly stumble upon our victim, Rosie, after a night out who has been left for dead. The book then tells the tale of the murder investigation as the public pin the murder on the four lads. The story then picks up again years later when the case is reopened as a cold case.


This book is very much about the effects of false blame and how a close group of friends manage to survive during this. Our main characters are all very lovable and real. McDermid does a great job shows the progression from young lads to fully grown men. You can't help but feel for them all throughout their struggles.


I love how McDermid weaves the story from the past into the present day. You get the full story instead of mere flashbacks.


The writing was crisp, sharp and concise. You can't ask for much more. All I want when reading thrillers/crime/mysteries is writing that moves the story along quickly using simple language. McDermid certainly achieves this. I enjoyed the odd Scots attitude or saying. It was very well done.

Final thought

To me, this book was a look at how police procedure can hinder where it should help. It told the story from the police and from the other characters point of view. I think this adds a lot more flavour than just having it be about the cops, it made it feel very real.

Overall, a very strong book and I'll be reading more McDermid very shortly.



  1. I also enjoyed it, though I thought the first half, set in the late 70's was much more evocative than the second.