EXCERPT: Muttering a prayer to the God she didn’t believe in, Allie slid her fingers through the letterbox and groped for the string. At first, she couldn’t feel it but when she slid her hand to one end, her fingertips brushed the nub end of the knot. She struggled to grasp the string, realising it was snagged around something on the inside. She feared it had been tied but at last she worked it loose and pulled the key through.
Sweating now, she let herself in. Hopefully the neighbours hadn’t heard her. She wasn’t planning on being there long, but she would still prefer the police to be unaware of her visit. Allie headed for the kitchen. She knew that’s where she’d find what she was looking for.
There on the wall above the table in the bed recess was a family photograph. Danny, his parents and his brother Joseph. The man most likely to have a flash car with Paragon folders on the front seat. Allie reached up and lifted it from the hook. She was about to put it in her bag when she heard a sound that turned her guts to water.
The front door that she’d carefully locked behind her was opening.
ABOUT ‘1979’: 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.
MY THOUGHTS: McDermid writes great crime fiction and 1979 is an excellent start to what promises to be a great new series.
While not as graphic nor dark as some of Mcdermid’s work, 1979 is a compelling look at a time in the not so distant past, but a time that was very different to today. Women were still very much second class citizens, struggling to make their way in a man’s world. There are no computers, no mobile phones.
Allie has ambition. And talent. So when an opportunity arises to collaborate on a story that doesn’t involve items for the women’s desk, she jumps at the chance. Then, knowing that a reporter’s reputation is only as good as her last story, she embarks on a dangerous exposé.
Allie is a wonderful character, determined, bright and dedicated, and her growth as a person in 1979 is phenomenal as we see her confidence in her own ability increase, along with others respect for her.
Mcdermid’s writing is, as always, excellent. Her characters are humanly flawed and relatable, the plot superbly crafted. I can always ‘hear’ her characters as I read, and 1979 was no exception.
It is going to be exciting to see where McDermid is going to take Allie’s character in the future. I will be at the front of the line waiting to find out.
In her acknowledgements, McDermid pays tribute to the booksellers, who she describes as having been ‘heroic’ and ‘innovative’ over the past year (2020/2021).
I: #valmcdermid @groveatlantic
T: @valmcdermid @groveatlantic
#crime #historicalfiction #murdermystery #series #thriller
THE AUTHOR: Val McDermid, FRSE, FRSL is a Scottish crime writer, best known for a series of novels featuring clinical psychologist Dr. Tony Hill in a grim sub-genre that McDermid and others have identified as Tartan Noir. At Raith Rovers football stadium, a stand has been named after McDermid.
DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Grove Atlantic via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of 1979 by Val McDermid for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.
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