Saturday, February 21, 2009
A Darker Domain: Val Mcdermid: I'm ambivalent about this one. Most Val Mcdermid books I've read have been the Tony Hill novels -- those that the BBC show Wire in the Blood was based on. I get really involved in those and find those characters interesting and often unpredictable. A Darker Domain is a stand-alone novel, and, while I found the story interesting and the history of the 1984 Scottish miners strike thought-provoking, I knew all along what had happened with the two intertwined murders that DI Karen Pirie must solve. That would have been fine if Karen herself had been more compelling -- in the middle of the novel I had to go back several pages because I'd forgotten her first name. Mcdermid gives us some glimpses into the character that, if she'd fleshed them out, would have helped make the Detective Inspector a more intriguing person. That way I would have cared less that I'd predicted the entire solution to the mysteries. Instead of being annoyed that they couldn't seem to catch up to me in solving the crimes, I would have just wanted to read the book to see what finally got Pirie to the same point I was at. Also the ending of this novel feels rushed to me -- as if Mcdermid were writing about all these characters and then suddenly a few hundred pages in realized she needed to end the novel.