Friday, 3 June 2016

Cross and Burn by Val McDermid

Reviewer: Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter, Closure, Complicit, Crimson Shore & False Lights (

What we thought: Another gritty crime thriller from Val McDermid that takes us through the highs, and mostly lows, of a serial killer investigation in fictional Bradfield.

At the start of this novel, Tony Hill and Carol Jordan are still reeling from the impact of their last investigation. Jordan has lost her brother to a killer she couldn’t stop, and has blanked Tony from her life as she holds him responsible. But when Tony finds himself falsely incriminated in another series of murders by a bizarre series of coincidences, it’s down to intermediary DS Paula McIntyre, a former member of Jordan's MIT squad, to try and heal the rift and bring the two closer together again. If anyone can save Tony from the power-hungry, promotion-seeking new DCI … then surely it’s Carol.

As usual in McDermid’s novels, you aren’t spared any details of the goriest details of the crimes committed against a series of unconnected women. We are cleverly introduced to these individuals enough so that we feel compassion for their suffering. The characterisation is well-handled and the dialogue works for all characters. But for me, it’s the understanding and interaction between the main protagonists that really bring the novel to life. Pace, style and voice are perfect here, suiting the genre and series, and you feel in the hands of a gifted, competent author which adds to the enjoyment of the novel.

Another huge thumbs up from me for this novel, and highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys character driven dark crime.

You’ll enjoy this if you like: Ian Rankin, Peter James, Tess Gerritsen.

Avoid if you don’t like: Serial killers.

Ideal accompaniments: Full English breakfast and strong black coffee.

Genre: Crime Fiction.

Available from Amazon

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