Friday, 8 January 2016

The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid

Reviewer: Gillian Hamer, author of The Charter, Closure, Complicit, Crimson Shore & False Lights (
What we thought: As I have recently done with Lee Child, I decided I wanted to start the Wire in the Blood series by Val McDermid on audio from book one, so having dipped into this author’s books only randomly in the past, I found myself back in 1995 with a book titled The Mermaids Singing.

The novel was much darker than I had expected if I’m honest, with the torture and murder scenes described in vivid detail. The thread written from the killer’s POV I found very dark and disturbing and gave a real chill to the novel.

Lead protagonist, Tony Hill is a much more complex character than I remember from television adaptations. When he becomes drawn into a serial killer investigation, he finds himself dealing with his own insecurities as well as assisting the police by trying to identify patterns in the killer’s behaviour. And just as he begins to piece together what could turn out to solve the case, he finds himself more involved than he would have dreamt possible.

The crimes are clever and also gory, and the plot well-paced and full of tension. The reader is left with lots of questions throughout which keeps you turning the page. All of the characters were very strong, I particularly liked the complex tension between Hill and Carol, the female DI who was police liaison officer. I found I had guessed much of the plot a fair way before the end, but there were some clever twists that made for an exciting conclusion.

A strong start to the series and I’m looking forward to working my way through them all!    

You’ll enjoy this if you like: Peter James, Patricia Cornwell, Ian Rankin.

Avoid if you don’t like: Serial killers, torture and psychologists.

Ideal accompaniments: A light salad and dry white wine (to cleanse your palate as you may not feel much like food while reading the novel!)

Genre: Crime Fiction.

Available from Amazon

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