Thursday, August 16, 2018

BOOK REVIEW: The Mermaids Singing (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #1) by Val McDermid

The Mermaids Singing is the first book in the long-running mystery series written by Val McDermid which features  Dr. Tony Hill (a psychologist and criminal profiler) and Carol Jordan (police detective) as the main characters. The series has been adapted for British television as "Wire in the Blood" (the  title of the second book) which ran for six seasons. 

This first book is a surprisingly gory but excellent entry in the British police procedural genre. The primary distinguishing feature between this series and numerous others I have read in this genre (Peter Robinson, Deborah Crombie, Elizabeth George all come to mine) is the chemistry between the leads (it doesn't seem to be romantic tension at this point, but I suspect that will change as the series continues). The dialogue is excellent, and we get first-person perspectives on the action from both Tony and Carol, which immediately illuminates how each views the other.

The main criminal in  The Mermaids Singing is a serial killer who is abducting and murdering men and dumping the bodies in the gay district of Bradfield, a fictional West Yorkshire city in the North of England. Mcdermid provides TMI (too much information) about the gory details of the vicious ways the serial killer dispatches his victims. Eventually, the reader gets access to the thoughts of the killer as well.

Two of the key character dynamics in The Mermaid Singing  are Tony's battle to have his work as a psychologist appreciated by the police and Carol's battle with ingrained sexism in the police force.

Overall, I was very impressed with the suspenseful nature of the plot and the level of details provided about the police activity in pursuit of the killer. Both Carol and Tony are very interesting characters and I look forward to reading more books featuring them.

Title: The Mermaids Singing.
Val McDermid.

Paperback: 364 pages.
 St. Martin's Paperback.

Date Published: June 17, 2002.
Date Read: September 17, 2017.


OVERALL GRADE: A (4.0/4.0).


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