Best known for her series featuring Dr. Tony Hill (The Wire in the Blood), Val McDermid's latest is about the disappearance of a man who's been missing for 25 years. Somehow tying into that disappearance is the kidnapping of a wealthy woman and her son, which also took place nearly three decades ago.
A Darker Domain mixes elements of fact along with the fiction, using the Scottish miners' strike of 1984 for a key plot point. This is an area of personal interest for McDermid, as she grew up in the Scottish mining country and is the granddaughter of miners.
Unfortunately the different threads of the story are overly complicated and don't come together very neatly. As a result, the plot seems forced and has a tendency to drag. McDermid still has a way with character and she uses her setting to good effect, but A Darker Domain ranks as a disappointment.
From the Chicago Sun-Times, February 8, 2009