1979 by Val McDermid #bookreview

On my blog today, I’m sharing my thoughts on the gripping new novel by Val McDermid, 1979.

1979: The unmissable first thriller in an electrifying, brand-new series from the Queen of Crime (Allie Burns) by [Val McDermid]


She’s on the hunt for a killer story . . .

1979. It’s the winter of discontent, and Allie Burns is chasing her first big scoop. One of few women in the newsroom, she needs something explosive for the boys’ club to take her seriously.

Soon Allie and fellow reporter Danny Sullivan are making powerful enemies with their investigations – and Allie won’t stop there. When she discovers a terrorist threat close to home, she devises a dangerous plan to make her name.

But Allie is a woman in a man’s world . . . and putting a foot wrong could be fatal.


I’ve been really looking forward to reading 1979 by Val McDermid. I need to read more of Val McDermid’s books, so I was really excited to hear that this was to be the start of a new series featuring journalist, Allie Burns. Having been a reporter herself, in the same time period the novel is set, Val McDermid writes with real authenticity.

Val McDermid brings Allie Burns, and the environment she works in, to life really well. I really liked Allie, and Danny, who she works with. You can see that they get on together well and this comes through in their dialogue. Allie is a journalist who is determined to achieve more, which, for the time period the novel is set in, isn’t an easy thing for her to do, especially as she is working in a male dominated world. She loves the thrill of chasing down bigger stories, and not the mundane ones that may make the reader smile when they read them, such as an unexpected birth on a bus ride. She wants to capture something explosive and that’s what she sets out to do. Soon, she finds herself in the midst of investigating a big story that will have serious ramifications for all those involved.

I did feel, as I was reading, that this was a much more slower paced book, but there is definitely tension when Allie and Danny are actively investigating the story they are intent on chasing down. You can see clearly that they are putting themselves in danger, and it made me wonder just how far they would be willing to go to get a breakthrough. This kept me hooked as I wondered what was going to happen to them. They both work together really well.

What I thought was interesting as well, was learning about what was happening in the political spectrum in Scotland in this time. Allie attends a few meetings hosted by the Scottish National Party as the referendum on devolution fast approaches. This again added to the authenticity of the book. It is an important time in Scotland’s history in this book.

I really enjoyed 1979. I engaged with the characters and their personal stories kept me gripped. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing how this series progresses and where Val McDermid takes her characters next.

Publisher: Little Brown

Publication date: 19th August 2021

Print length: 394 pages

1979 is available to buy:

Amazon UK Kobo Waterstones

4 thoughts on “1979 by Val McDermid #bookreview

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