Search Loading suggestions...

The Distant Echo

On a freezing Fife morning four drunken students stumble upon the body of a woman in the snow. Rosie has been raped, stabbed and left to die in an ancient Pictish cemetery. And the only suspects are the four young men now stained with her blood.

Twenty-five years later the police mount a ‘cold case’ review of Rosie’s unsolved murder and the four are still suspects. But when two of them die in suspicious circumstances, it seems that someone is pursuing their own brand of justice. For the remaining two there is only one way to avoid becoming the next victim – find out who really killed Rosie all those years ago…



Val’s thoughts on THE DISTANT ECHO‘I know there are always dozens of books clamouring for your attention, but I really hope you can take the time to sit back with a glass of something comforting and immerse yourself in The Distant Echo. This is a very special book for me – its taken me seventeen novels to get there, but finally I have set a book in the place where I grew up. Fife, on the East coast of Scotland, is a unique environment; so special those of us who come from there call it the Kingdom. Its quite separate from the rest of Scotland, so its the ideal place to set a psychological thriller whose roots lie deep in the past. This is also a rather different book for me because there is no professional investigator at its heart. Rather, it is the story of ordinary people caught up in extraordinary events, and thus it is less about process than it is about character. I like the challenge of writing something different each time; I hope you enjoy the experience of reading it.’

‘Val McDermid is going from strength to strength… the way she dances effortlessly between so many important characters and switches between events in 1978 and others in 2003 is a delight to observe and read… [There is] mounting suspense as the novel reaches its ingenious climax. A real page-turner and another McDermid triumph.’ Peter Guttridge, The Observer

‘Without flinching from the pain inflicted on murder victims and their families, or any of the manifold sorts of misery human beings can visit on each other, Val McDermid has used the crime genre to write a novel that, above everything else, celebrates life and loyalty.’Times Literary Supplement

‘This absorbing psychological novel of revenge shows McDermid at the top of her form. … Only the careful reader will anticipate the stunning conclusion, which makes perfect sense. Outstanding pacing, character and plot development, plus evocative place descriptions, make this another winner.’ Publishers Weekly

‘Val McDermids THE DISTANT ECHO is, even more so than with her previous work, a masterpiece of trickery and misdirection. … This is an effective thriller because it is so intelligent about the ways in which time changes things …[and] about the ways in which things do not change … this is a novel that makes us care passionately about victims and suspects alike.’ Roz Kaveney,

‘The plotting is impeccable, the atmosphere palpable, and I doubt that it will be surpassed this year’ Sunday Express

‘a powerful story of murder and revenge … in McDermid’s hands it becomes and exciting page-turner.’ Susanna Yager, Sunday Telegraph

‘cunningly plotted narrative… McDermid administers the venom drop by drop… the characters are sensitively drawn’ New York Times Book Review

‘Another cracker from McDermid… a substantial and riveting read… There’s no doubting the sheer quality of the storytelling, and the thrill that McDermid delivers.’ Manchester Evening News

‘[McDermid has written] a rich brew of psychology, action and atmospherics with a story of detection that twists and turns like a corkscrew.  Her authenticity is unchallengeable … the depth of characterisation, breadth of social inclusion and complexity of plot offer an entirely new experience.’ Scotland on Sunday

‘This many layered novel has tense and genuinely frighteneing moments, and the relationships between the four friends, played out over the years, are fascinating. Tension escalates as the novel progresses towards a sickening conclusion. This is a novel of subtly powerful psychology combined with a gripping read. Riveting stuff. Sherlock Magazine

‘a tender investigation of friendship among a group of young men under intense stress… Their emotional and physical journeys make for a novel that is both subtle and exciting.’ Natasha Cooper, Crime Time

‘Her novels have become increasingly atmospheric and complex… In this, she is firmly in control of her intricate plot’ Maggie Pringle, Daily Express

‘McDermid, whose reputation and popularity are growing incrementally with each new book, is very like P.D. James in her masterful missing of forensic science with brisk plots and in-depth characterisation.’ Booklist

‘electrifyingly fast-paced… A long, spiralling denouement [has] an ending as neat and strong as a reef knot… [a] splendid thriller’ Glasgow Herald

Keen psychological insight and a cracking plot keep the tension high. Woman & Home

Pick up a Val McDermid book and you are guaranteed a page turner.  THE DISTANT ECHO is no exception… with an impeccable plot. … Her ever-growing reputation is well deserved.  More power to her elbow. ***** Aberdeen Press & Journal

‘If you still havent absorbed the fact that Val McDermid is writing at the top of anyone’s game, heres another chance to join the celebration.’ Chicago Tribune

‘absorbing’ Entertainment Weekly

‘Val McDermid is one of the top UK crime writers… it’s her strong, unusual characters and powers of description that are her real strengths… this powerful novel… is her finest work to date. … McDermid manoeuvres around her characters, letting them be confused, frightened, smart weak. The setting is essential and beautifully rendered. You won’t read this in one day, but you’ll remember it months later.’ Globe & Mail, Canada

‘Scottish writer Val McDermid writes superb thrillers that probe psychological soft spots, and her latest doesn’t disappoint. THE DISTANT ECHO, in telling its creepy tale, distinctively evokes the gritty atmosphere and bleak humour of its northern setting.’ Seattle Times

‘Val McDermid’s new one-shot has the kind of premise that hooks you at once… characters are remarkably vivid… What stays with you from THE DISTANT ECHO is its melancholy portrait of youthful camaraderie battered by experience. Its a terrific mystery and a novel whose sadness does not dissipate.’

‘Highly recommended…this could well be the crime fiction novel of the year.’Ali Karim, Shots Magazine

‘an elegantly plotted look at the bonds of friendship, the taint of suspicion and the insidiousness of revenge… McDermid again shows she is at the top of her prowess as a writer’ The Sun-Sentinel

Dubbed the Queen of Crime, Val McDermid has sold over 18.5 million books to date across the globe and is...