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Val McDermid

Scotland (b.1955)

Val McDermid grew up in a Scottish mining community then read English at Oxford. She was a journalist for sixteen years, spending the last three as Northern Bureau Chief of a national Sunday tabloid. She is now a full-time writer and lives in South Manchester.

Genres: Mystery, Literary Fiction
Series contributed to
Non fiction
Short stories
When Larry Met Allie (2000)

Dagger Awards Best Book nominee (1994) : Crack Down
Dagger Awards Best Novel winner (1995) : The Mermaids Singing
Dagger Awards Best Book nominee (1999) : A Place of Execution
Barry Awards Best British Crime Novel winner (2000) : A Place of Execution
Anthony Awards Best Novel winner (2001) : A Place of Execution
Dilys Awards Best Book winner (2001) : A Place of Execution
Edgar Awards Best Novel nominee (2001) : A Place of Execution
Macavity Awards Best Novel winner (2001) : A Place of Execution
Barry Awards Best British Crime Novel winner (2004) : The Distant Echo
Dagger Awards Best Novel nominee (2004) : The Torment of Others
BCA Crime Thriller of the Year Best Novel nominee (2008) : The Grave Tattoo
Barry Awards Best Paperback Novel winner (2011) : Fever of the Bone
McIlvanney Prize Best Novel nominee (2016) : Splinter the Silence
McIlvanney Prize Best Novel nominee (2017) : Out of Bounds

Val McDermid recommends
An Air That Kills (1994)
(Lydmouth, book 1)
Andrew Taylor
"The most underrated crime writer in Britain today."
A Likeness in Stone (1997)
Julia Wallis Martin
"This is a compelling psychological thriller with echoes of Barbara Vine and Minette Walters. Well written, intelligent and chilling."
Head Count (1997)
Ingrid Noll
"A first-rate example of the eurocrime novel."
No Laughing Matter (1997)
(Nick Madrid, book 1)
Peter Guttridge
"Made me laugh out loud and wince in sympathy at both the violence and the humiliation meted out to the narrator . . . enormous fun."
Panicking Ralph (1997)
(Harpur & Iles, book 14)
Bill James
"Extraordinary and electrifying."
Death Duties (1998)
Phil Lovesey
"Chilling and deviously plotted."
The Locust Farm (1998)
Jeremy Dronfield
"A tense page-turner... dodging between serial-killer thriller, psychological suspense and full on action drama."
Bad Vibes (1998)
(Fizz and Buchanan, book 3)
Joyce Holms
"Engaging and entertaining... Deft, daft and definitely delicious."
Blood Guilt (1998)
(Kit O'Malley Mystery Series, book 1)
Lindy Cameron
"Kit O'Malley, smart-mouthed, sharp-witted and sexy. Don't start this book if you have somewhere to be."
Walking with Ghosts (1999)
(Sam Turner, book 4)
John Baker
"His characters endear themselves to us, and we care what happens to them. The writing is always quirky, never flashy, and . . . he leaves us wanting more of an engaging crew who feel like friends by the end of the book."
Pushover (1999)
Dianne Pugh (Dianne Emley)
"Sharp and stylish... Clever and cool."
Past Reason (1999)
Margaret Murphy
"Set vividly in Liverpool, this journey into psychological suspense should not be missed."
Fresh Flesh (1999)
(Saz Martin, book 4)
Stella Duffy
"Gets better with each book."
Birdman (1999)
(Jack Caffery, book 1)
Mo Hayder
"Not for the faint-hearted...what sets Birdman apart is Hayder's talent."
Over My Dead Body (2000)
(Eddathorpe, book 6)
Raymond Flynn
"A solution as clever as any I've read this year. DI Graham, with his homicidal Lakeland terrier, is an unconventional copper form the same breed as Frost and Morse. On this form, like them he should win fans and keep them."
Cruel Habitations (2000)
Kate Charles
"An intelligent and convincing story."
Unnatural Fire (2000)
(Countess Ashby De La Zouche, book 1)
Fidelis Morgan
"Fidelis Morgan's tale of love and greed and alchemy in 1699 is a heady compound of wit, wisdom and wildness. It's an unsentimental warts-and-all portrait that reeks of authenticity, written with a brio that reflects the age."
Folly (2001)
(Folly Island, book 1)
Laurie R King
"One of the most literate and gifted writers the mystery world has seen for some time."
In the Midnight Hour (2001)
(Laura Principal, book 5)
Michelle Spring
"Laura Principle is Britain's coolest woman private eye."
Walking on Water (2001)
Gemma O'Connor
"A story that holds the reader's attention and builds suspense with subtlety and charm."
Resolution (2001)
(Garnethill, book 3)
Denise Mina
"Denise Mina is set to carve a niche for herself as the crown princess of crime."
Out of the Dark (2002)
(Trish Maguire, book 4)
Natasha Cooper
"Trish Maguire is a heroine for our times."
The Desperate Remedy (2002)
(Henry Gresham, book 4)
Martin Stephen
"Henry Gresham is a hero for all seasons, and The Desperate Remedy is a dashing delight that challenges what we think we know."
Dreaming the Eagle (2002)
(Boudica, book 1)
Manda Scott
"A staggeringly imaginative invocation of Britain's secret history ...Breathtakingly good, it reveals the best and worst in all of us."
Kisscut (2002)
(Grant County, book 2)
Karin Slaughter
"Grips like a vice from the first page."
Bitter Blue (2003)
(Sal Kilkenny, book 6)
Cath Staincliffe
"It's always exciting to see a writer get better and better, and Cath Staincliffe is doing just that."
Touching the Dark (2003)
(Naomi Blake, book 2)
Jane A Adams
"A Major Talent."
Mean Woman Blues (2003)
(Skip Langdon, book 9)
Julie Smith
"Julie Smith writes like jazz should sound - cool, complex, and penetrating right to the heart."
The Fire Baby (2004)
(Philip Dryden, book 2)
Jim Kelly
"Quirky, emotionally intelligent crime fiction that leaves the reader hungry for more."
Flashback (2004)
Jenny Siler
"A dark star is born."
Locked Doors (2005)
(Andrew Z. Thomas, book 2)
Blake Crouch
"One of the most exciting new writers I've read in years."
The Opposite of Mercy (2011)
Tom Winship
"An intense, gripping, scary thriller."
The Wicked Girls (2012)
Alex Marwood
"Genuinely disturbing and emotionally unsettling... irresistible."
Dead People (2012)
(Glyn Capaldi mystery, book 2)
Ewart Hutton
"More stings in the tail than a bag of scorpions."
In the Rosary Garden (2013)
(Vincent Swan, book 1)
Nicola White
"A mesmerising tale f secrets and lies rising from the past to strangle the present."
What Dark Clouds Hide (2015)
(Vik and Stubo, book 5)
Anne Holt
"Anne Holt is the latest crime to reveal how truly dark it gets in Scandinavia."
The House of Fame (2016)
(D.C. Belsey, book 3)
Oliver Harris
"A pitch-perfect portrait of contemporary London."
A Rising Man (2016)
(Sam Wyndham, book 1)
Abir Mukherjee
"One of the most exciting debut novels I've read in years."
Crash Land (2016)
Doug Johnstone
"An unnerving tale of what happens to ordinary lives when the wheels come off."
Rattle (2017)
(DS Fitzroy, book 1)
Fiona Cummins
"It's a rare debut that has this much polish. Harrowing and horrifying, head and shoulders above most of the competition."
Sirens (2017)
(Aiden Waits, book 1)
Joseph Knox
"Sirens is a powerhouse of noir. Joseph Knox owns Manchester and paints it in all its grimy colours."
Fateful Mornings (2017)
(Henry Farrell, book 2)
Tom Bouman
"Fateful Mornings is a haunting dissection of the broken heart of America."
These Darkening Days (2017)
(Mace & Brindle, book 2)
Benjamin Myers
"There is no hiding place from the darkness because the writing is so damned good."
Shadow Man (2017)
(DI Lukas Mahler, book 1)
Margaret Kirk
"A harrowing and horrific game of consequences."
This is How it Ends (2018)
Eva Dolan
"It couldn't be more timely. Or more imbued with passion."
The Woman in the Window (2018)
A J Finn
"Twisted to the power of max. Hitchcockian suspense with a 21st-century spin."
The Lost (2018)
(Stone and Oliver, book 1)
Mari Hannah
"Nobody understands the many faces of cops better than Mari Hannah."
The Quaker (2018)
(Duncan McCormack, book 1)
Liam McIlvanney
"Atmospheric and arresting, The Quaker reveals 1960s Glasgow in all its lurid shades."
Trap (2018)
(Sonja, book 2)
Lilja Sigurðardóttir
"Tough, uncompromising and unsettling."
Carrion Comfort (2018)
(DI Kelso Strang, book 2)
Aline Templeton
"The crime czar of the Scottish small Town."
Shadows of Athens (2019)
(Philocles, book 1)
JM Alvey
"As vivid and lively as a Greek wedding - but with rather more blood!"
The Art of Dying (2019)
(Way of All Flesh, book 2)
Ambrose Parry
"Victorian Edinburgh comes vividly alive and- it's world of pain."
Keeper (2020)
Jessica Moor
"It made me want to shout out in anger."

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