The Bookseller – Published June 10, 2016 by Katherine Cowdrey
Scottish crime writer Val McDermid is publishing her 30th novel, a suspenseful thriller called Out of Bounds, with Little, Brown this August.
as twisted as the DNA helix itself
McDermid has sold over 11m books to date, according to the publisher, translated into 30 languages, and this year she is being honoured with the Outstanding Contribution award at the Theakston’s Harrogate Crime Festival. McDermid’s last standalone novel The Skeleton Road (Sphere) was a number one bestseller in paperback and in the top 10 for three weeks.
Her new hardback, Out of Bounds, will be “a gripping, chilling book” that deals with the way in which families live with the impact of violent crime years after the media have forgotten about their once-newsworthy sufferings.
Bringing together grief, terrorism, murder, justice and forensics, the plot takes off when a teenage joyrider crashes a stolen car and ends up in a coma and a routine DNA test reveals a connection to an unsolved murder from 22 years ago. The answer to the cold case is “as twisted as the DNA helix itself”. A mystery rooted in a terrorist bombing two decades ago is also simultaneously investigated.
Out of Bounds was part of a two book contract for UK and Commonwealth rights, bought from Jane Gregory. It will publish on 25th August, priced £18.99.
On Saturday, at Linlithgow’s bijou book festival, Val McDermid could not tell her audience very much about her new novel, Splinter the Silence, for fear of giving away the plot.
What she did reveal, however, is that its subject is the rise of internet trolls, those offensive patrollers of the online world who make twitterers of thin skin and anxious disposition nervous to broadcast even the blandest remarks. If J K Rowling can be savaged for expressing delight at the Scottish rugby squad’s performance in the world cup quarter final, what is safe for someone to say without fear of cyber assault?
McDermid believes that women are far more often the butt of trolls than men, despite the fact she has rarely been targeted. Even when she appeared on Question Time, a programme where, with the exception of politicians, most women’s performance is routinely met by twitter abuse, she emerged unscathed. Perhaps, as her teenage son has helpfully suggested, this is because she looks “so scary”. Or because, as her fiction attests, she knows countless undetectable ways to kill people.