Cheri Reviews 1979 by Val McDermid

1979 by Val McDermid

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


4.5 rounded up.

Where to start… Well, first, don’t read the damn blurb on Goodreads! It has a massive spoiler that doesn’t happen until about 80% into the book. I had read the blurb on NetGalley when I requested the book and I’m glad I did. Let me paste it here for you so you don’t have to go anywhere else. I’m still pissed about reading the spoiler.

“It’s only January, and the year 1979 has already brought blizzards, strikes, power cuts, and political unrest. For journalist Allie Burns, however, someone else’s bad news is the unmistakable sound of opportunity knocking, an opportunity to get away from the “women’s stories” her editors at the Scottish daily The Clarion keep assigning her. Striking up an alliance with budding investigative journalist Danny Sullivan, Allie begins covering international tax fraud, then a group of Scottish ultranationalists aiming to cause mayhem ahead of a referendum on breaking away from the United Kingdom. Their stories quickly get attention and create enemies for the two young up-and-comers. As they get closer to the bleeding edge of breaking news, Allie and Danny may find their lives on the line.

The first novel in a brand-new series for McDermid, 1979 is redolent of the thundering presses, hammering typewriters, and wreaths of smoke of the Clarion newsroom. An atmospheric journey into the past with much to say about the present, it is the latest suspenseful, pitch-perfect addition to Val McDermid’s crime pantheon.”

Now that we have that out of the way, we can get to the actual review.

I’ve read a few books by McDermid and I think this is my favorite. I honestly can’t wait to get my hands on the next in the Allie Burns series. She’s my kind of heroine: smart, brave, and open minded. And she’s just starting with her journalistic career so I know there will be plenty of great adventures in her future.

I listened to the audiobook and am not sorry at all because I LOVE a Scottish accent. Helen (Simone Lahbib) from Bad Girls got me hooked. I might have appreciated having both the audio and the ebook for this one because the Glaswegian accent was a bit tough to understand at times and I know I missed some words here and there.

The story and the writing were fantastic. I was drawn in immediately and loved Danny and Allie and wanted to kick brother Joseph in the nuts so many times it would have constituted a workout. Bastard. And because it was set in 1979, there’s plenty of misogyny and homophobia and other shit you would expect.

Huge thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for hooking me up with the audiobook and an even bigger thanks to Ms. McDermid for writing such a great book and characters that felt incredibly real. I’ll miss Allie and Danny. And Rona. Can’t wait to see more of Rona.



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