Fever of the Bone by Val McDermid – Book Review

This is another in the series of Tony Hill/Carol Jordan books, and I love those characters. In this one, there are a series of teenagers being killed, and the key seems to be their online presence. Jordan is dealing with a new boss who is keen on having her move away from her professional relationships with Hill, regardless of how fruitful it is, and Hill is discovering things from his past that are changing his view on himself and his place in the world.

I’ve found when reading slightly old books (this was published in 2009) that while the author is incorporating the internet into their story, it can be really clunky – just because progress in these areas has been so rapid. It didn’t bother me in this, though. I just enjoyed seeing the relationships play out and the cops doing their thing.

Beneath the Bleeding by Val McDermid – Book Review

Criminal profiler Tony Hill is laid up in hospital after being attacked by a man having a psychotic break wielding an axe (yes, that sounds totally ridiculous, but when McDermid sets it in a psych hospital with a patient who’d skipped his medication, it becomes totally plausible), so he is physically limited in how he can assist DCI Carol Jordan as she investigates the death of a local soccer superstar. Then a bomb goes off at the stadium and everything is thrown into chaos.

It’s been ages since I’ve read one of the Hill/Jordan series and I forgot how good they are. As it happens, it was this one I last read, which I realised a few pages in, but I was enjoying it so much that I had to keep going. The characters are great, deeply flawed not only by the things McDermid has put them through in previous books, but also from general past events. So glad I have many more to read… and they’re still coming.

The Distant Echo by Val McDermid – Book Review

In early hours of a winter morning in the eighties, Alex Gilbey and his three mates are triggering home from a drunken night when they come across an almost dead young woman. Unable to save her, they instantly become the key suspects for the police (and many others in the community). The case is not solved, and twenty-five years later it is reopened as one of the first cases for the newly established cold case squad. How can you find the evidence and try to find a killer when that much time has passed?

This is not quite as gory as some of the other McDermid books, but has all the intrigue. If you like a good murder mystery with some top crime procedure type stuff, this is for you.

A Darker Domain by Val McDermid – Book Review

This is the second book in the series of the Karen Pirie series after The Distant Echo, and this confused me a little as, I must admit, I didn’t really remember Karen Pirie from The Distant Echo. But I like her and look forward to reading other books in this series – so, this is a cold case story following two plotlines. First, the disappearance of a miner during the 80s miner strikes – the man was believed to have become a scab, but now, many years later, it turns out he’d disappeared. Then there is the botched kidnapping of a millionaire’s daughter and grandson from around the same time. In the cash handover, the daughter was accidentally shot and killed and the grandson has never been found. Can Pirie solve these?

Of course. But how? I like the way the book jumps from character to character, from plot to plot, even when sometimes it took me a moment to catch up. Still, McDermid tells a good story, pacey and mostly plausible. But the key thing for me is that even when I think I’ve picked the twist or I know what happens next, I can still be surprised.

The Torment of Others by Val McDermid – Book Review

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Carol Jordan was broken physically and emotionally by her undercover investigation in Europe. However, her previous boss, who is struggling with a series of missing children, brings her in to head an elite team. Despite her condition, and with the support of Tony Hill, Jordan gives it a go. And when a couple of prostitutes are killed in a very gory manner – a manner extremely similar to that of a bloke who is currently locked up – Jordan is going to be pushed to the extreme.

I cannot stop reading this series. I really like McDermid’s style and as soon as I finished this one, I grabbed the next. The red herring in this one had my brain going one way and then the next, and trying to figure out how the various interactions actually all fit together. And it’s also violent and horrible. Love it.

The Last Temptation by Val McDermid – Book Review

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Carol Jordan has been recruited to go deep undercover to capture the leader of a group who have been trafficking people illegally into a number of countries. In Germany, she meets a police officer who thinks she may have uncovered a serial killer, and Tony Hill is brought into the picture. But things don’t go smoothly by a long shot, and Jordan is hung out to dry by those who should be protecting her.

I’m still loving these characters, and I think that Val McDermid has found ways to move the characters into different roles and places to ensure that the books are not too similar. Having it set in Europe certainly made for a change, especially when it came to making things more complex. Though there were certain aspects of the operation that seemed a lot too convenient than I’d imagine in real life.

The Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid – Book Review

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This is the second in the series that inspired the television show. Carol Jordan is working with a police team who are investigating a death that occurred in a factory fire. Meanwhile, Tony Hill is working with a group of officers that they are hoping to train up as the first key profiling team in the UK. But when one of his team discovers a link between several young missing persons and soon ends up dead, things get real. And horrible.

It’s not taken me long to get addicted to this series. Both main characters are flawed, but still immensely likable. You want them to recognise their connection and get together, but are also aware that this isn’t an American sitcom, and that there are an awful lot of hurdles to leap before there is any chance of a happy ending. Realistically, there is not going to be a happy ending for these guys, and that’s also ok.