• 1979

  • Allie Burns, Book 1
  • By: Val McDermid
  • Narrated by: Katie Leung
  • Length: 11 hrs and 7 mins
  • 4.2 out of 5 stars (86 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Hailed as Britain's Queen of Crime, Val McDermid's award-winning, internationally best-selling novels have captivated readers and listeners for more than 30 years. Now, in 1979, she returns to the past with the story of Allie Burns, an investigative journalist whose stories lead her into world a corruption, terror, and murder. 

The year started badly and only got worse - blizzards, strikes, power cuts, and political unrest were the norm. For journalist Allie Burns, however, someone else's bad news was the unmistakable sound of opportunity knocking, and the year is ripe with possibilities. But Allie is a woman in a man's world. Desperate to get away from the "women's stories" the Glasgow desk keeps assigning her, she strikes up an alliance with wannabe investigative journalist Danny Sullivan. From the start, their stories create enemies. First an international tax fraud, then a potential Scottish terrorist group aiming to cause mayhem ahead of the impending devolution referendum. And then Danny is found murdered in his flat. For Allie, investigative journalism just got personal.

The first novel in McDermid's newest series, 1979 is an atmospheric journey into the past with intriguing insight into the present, and the latest addition to McDermid's crime pantheon.

©2021 Allie Burns (P)2021 Recorded Books

What listeners say about 1979

Average Customer Ratings
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Not my cuppa

I wish I'd more carefully read the blurb about
this one. It is thoughtfully well written but
for me YUCK! I felt as if I'd into wandered into
YA land. Spend your credit elsewhere.

4 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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Classic McDermid

Since June 2020, I have listened, transfixed, to all of Val McDermid's books and have enjoyed the many variations of her craft. This one takes us back to 1979 - perhaps to the early years of her career as a writer. Similar to uncovering the serial killer's first murder, reading this story might tell us more about the writer than all of those that followed. As always, I love Katie Leung's delivery.

2 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Don’t read the trailer!

This is another fine example of Val McDermid’s art. It uses 20/20 hindsight to delve into several issues that still plague Scotland, such as independence from the English rule.

I found the narrator charming. Possibly because my Granny was from Scotland and it sounded familiar!

One disappointment was the descriptive blurb in Audible. That blurb mentions a major plot reversal which doesn’t occur until three fourths of the way through the novel. But knowing this thing was going to happen affected my objective enjoyment of the story. I anticipated it at each turn of a chapter, so when it occurred, I found it anti-climactic.

In conclusion, this, to me, isn’t my favorite McDermid novel, but I think at least one other reviews was far too critical. It’s easily worth the one credit it cost me.

1 person found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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Glimpse of the Scottish world of journalism

Was sucked right back into the Glasgow I used to inhabit in those years. Val McDermid has the knack of getting the details just right. Enjoyed it a lot and the reader was excellent- apart from a few mispronunciations of “Stranraer”, “epitome” and “slavish”! I must be getting old and crotchety!

1 person found this helpful

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Great story great performance

The characters are believable and well written, the plot unfolds with essential details moving to a surprise conclusion

1 person found this helpful

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Narrator very difficult to understand

I've long been a fan of Val McDermid but this book was VERY disappointing. The number one problem was the narrator, whose accent was so strong she was VERY hard to understand and because of that I began to lose interest in the story, and at a certain point didn't really care what happened. If this is the first of a new series which plans to use the same narrator I will NOT be buying future episodes.

1 person found this helpful

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She just knows how to tell a story....

I love Val McDermott's writing and I actually enjoy her standalone novels at this point more than the Tony Hill books. As series often do they have gotten old and it's just hard to find new ways to explore that relationship. But at the end of the day she is a terrific storyteller and writes great characters. I have loved every single one of her standalone books and this is no exception. People complained about the narrator being difficult to understand. I had no issues. her Scottish accent is superb but some people might have to listen to it on a slow down speed.

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Guessing till the end

I was unsure at first about the story because it’s different from the titles of Val’s I normally listen to but kept listening and I am so glad I did.
The characters really grew on me and the plot twists kept you guessing.
I am looking forward to more from Ali Burns and hope she gets with Ronna.

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I almost returned this book

I felt it started slow. I didn’t like Danny at the beginning.
The story brought up interesting perspectives on what is betrayal and entrapment. Especially relevant in the 21st century.
A view of 1970’s politics was also interesting.
I was pretty well engaged in the book by the 3/4 mark.
A few character developments were well telegraphed in advance but that was fine.
I would recommend the book.

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  • Somewhere in Ireland
  • 11-03-21

Good story, let down by poor narration

The story was good, but somehow felt familiar- I did wonder if I had already read this book, or was begin to confuse the plot with one of Denise Mina’s Paddy Meehan books (also well worth reading, by the way).
However the narrator really let it down with some madly off mark mispronunciations. Two examples that stick in my mind are epitome and Stranraer, but there were plenty more that a good editor should really have picked up on.