This stand alone novel by Val McDermid is helping elaborate my background for an upcoming trip to Scotland. I am probably going to be seeing murderers everywhere I turn. To keep in balance I'm also watching the BBC Hamish Macbeth television series.
McDermid tells the story of four male college students who happen upon a young woman who has been brutally attacked and dies as they try to help her. The four become the police's primary suspects although they are innocent of the murder. No charges are ever brought against them and the murder goes unsolved. The four have to live of with the suspicions of the murdered girl's brothers and other community members. The investigation is reactivated as a cold case with the advent of DNA testing and other advances in forensic science.
I have read almost all of McDermid's Tony Hill novels. The Distant Echo did not really capture my imagination as much as the Hill novels do. The novel spans 25 years and has to keep two parallel time frames sensible to the reader. I thought McDermid handled this quite well however, it did make for some mental exercise on the part of the reader. She also took two of the main characters to America for their adult lives. I still don't quite know how I feel about this intrusion of America into her world in Scotland.