#BookReview Past Lying by Val McDermid @valmcdermid @PGCBooks #PastLying #InspectorKarenPirie #ValMcDermid #PGCBooks Title: Past Lying

Author: Val McDermid

Series: Inspector Karen Pirie #7

Published by: Atlantic Monthly Press on Nov. 14, 2023

Genres: Mystery/Thriller, Police Procedural

Pages: 464

Format: ARC, Paperback

Source: Publishers Group Canada

Book Rating: 9/10

In this superb new addition to Val McDermid’s masterful crime series, DCI Karen Pirie returns in a propulsive thriller of deceit and vengeance, set against the disquiet of a global pandemic

Britain’s reigning “Queen of Crime” (The Scotsman), Val McDermid is the award-winning, internationally bestselling author of over thirty novels. The long-awaited seventh novel in the acclaimed series that has captivated audiences for twenty years, both on the page and now in the Edgar Award–nominated ITV/BritBox show, Past Lying is a full tilt novel of ego, retribution, deceit, and just how far one will go to settle the score.

It’s April 2020 and Edinburgh is in lockdown. It would seem like a strange time for a cold case to go hot—the streets all but empty, an hour’s outdoor exercise the maximum allowed—but a mere pandemic doesn’t mean crime takes a holiday. When a source at the National Library contacts DCI Karen Pirie’s team about documents in the archive of a recently deceased crime novelist, it seems it’s game on again. At the center of it, a novel: two crime novelists facing off over a chessboard. But it quickly emerges that their real-life competition is drawing blood. What unspools is a twisted game of betrayal and revenge, and as Karen and her team attempt to disentangle fact from fiction, it becomes clear that their investigation is more complicated than they ever imagined.

A tense, atmospheric page-turner, Past Lying reaffirms McDermid as one of the most talented crime writers of her generation.


Sharp, intricate, and gripping!

Past Lying is a well-paced, enthralling police procedural that sees Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie and her HCU team investigating the case of a missing woman during the deserted streets of lockdown when an archivist stumbles on an unpublished manuscript of a recently deceased author that seems to represent life imitating art involving two authors and the perfect crime.

The writing is compelling and tight. The characters are intelligent, multilayered, and persistent. And the plot, set during the COVID pandemic, is an intense, mysterious tale filled with twists, turns, deception, infidelity, revenge, jealousy, red herrings, suspicious personalities, lies, secrets, deduction, greed, and murder.

Overall, Past Lying is another complex, intriguing, atmospheric addition to the Karen Pirie series by McDermid that ultimately left me surprised, engrossed, and undoubtedly confident that this is still a must-read series for me.


This book is available now.

Pick up a copy from your favourite retailer or from one of the following links.




Thank you to PGC Books for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review.


About Val McDermid

Val McDermid is a No. 1 bestseller whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have sold over eleven million copies.

She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009 and was the recipient of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2010. In 2011 she received the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award.

She writes full time and divides her time between Cheshire and Edinburgh.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email