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‘Out of Bounds’

by Val McDermid

(Grove Atlantic)

Detective Chief Inspector Karen Pirie has always been a workaholic. But now immersion in her work doesn’t just give her life structure, it also has become a kind of comfort that allows her to deal with grief in “Out of Bounds,” Val McDermid’s latest exciting novel about this Scottish police detective.

Pirie, now head of Police Scotland’s small Historic Cases Unit in Edinburgh, tackles a decades-old murder after 17-year-old Ross Garvie goes on a high-speed ride with three of his friends. A horrific crash results in the death of the three drunken teens and leaves Garvie in a coma.

Karen and her partner, Detective Constable Jason Murray, become involved when Garvie’s DNA is shown to be a familial match to that of a Glasgow hairdresser whose rape and murder has gone unsolved for years. But maneuvering the Scottish legal system to track down Garvie’s male relatives is fraught with complications.

Another case also occupies Pirie’s time — the alleged suicide of Gabriel Abbott, who lived in Kinross. The Abbott case isn’t Pirie’s, but she becomes nearly obsessed with finding out if his death was in any way linked to the death of his mother, who was killed in a plane crash decades earlier.

Pirie is easily the smartest person in the room. She often infuriates her bosses, who grudgingly acknowledge that her insight and intelligence gets the job done.

McDermid balances the intense character studies in “Out of Bounds” with an inside view of the Scottish legal system and again shows her acuity in producing intelligent thrillers.

— Oline H. Cogdill

‘The Princess Diarist’

by Carrie Fisher

(Blue Rider Press)

“I’ve spent so many years not telling the story of Harrison and me having an affair on the first ‘Star Wars’ movie that it’s difficult to know exactly how to tell it now,” Carrie Fisher announces on page 49 of her brisk but vague new memoir, “The Princess Diarist.”

“Excellent, here we go,” any solid fan of the real “Star Wars” movies will think, settling in for the literary equivalent of an ice-cream sundae of the more offbeat flavors.

But Fisher, who accepts that she will be known as Princess Leia until the end of time, lets the reader down. Having waited 40 years to publish what one expects to be a dishy tell-all about the romance behind the iconic movie of a generation, the actress, writer and raconteur only offers a few wisps of the goods.

Fisher blames her hazy recall of the behind-the-scenes affair with Harrison Ford on the potent marijuana they smoked on their lost weekends between scenes. She also decides that “with uncharacteristic reservation and scruples that I quash any details” of their first weekend together. Sex is private, she says.

No problem, but she also draws the curtain over the interesting bits: their chemistry, their conversations, her point-blank impressions of a man poised to become one of Hollywood’s biggest stars.

Or maybe we’re supposed to believe, as she insists, that Ford just didn’t talk a lot when they were together. In any case, we are left with a few interesting glimpses wrapped around excerpts of the diaries Fisher says she kept while shooting “Star Wars” and recently discovered. Even the diary bits are not very revealing of a young woman on the cusp of 20 years old.

It’s clear from the final two chapters of the book, one of them titled “Leia’s Lap Dance,” that Fisher published this book with making money in mind. Her closing meditation on fame leaves Ford and the affair far behind. However, many “Star Wars” fans will read this book anyway or likely did the instant it appeared.

— Cara Anna

Best-sellers

For the week ending Dec. 4, 2016.

Hardcover fiction

1. “The Whistler” by John Grisham (Doubleday)

2. “Cross the Line” by James Patterson (Little, Brown)

3. “Turbo Twenty-Three” by Janet Evanovich (Bantam)

4. “No Man’s Land” by David Baldacci (Grand Central Publishing)

5. “Two by Two” by Nicholas Sparks (Grand Central Publishing)

6. “Night School” by Lee Child (Delacorte)

7. “Small Great Things” by Jodi Picoult (Ballantine)

8. “Prince Lestat and the Realms of Atlantis” by Anne Rice (Knopf)

9. “The Whole Town’s Talking” by Fannie Flagg (Random House)

10. “The Chemist” by Stephenie Meyer (Little, Brown)

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