Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Retribution - Val McDermid

Wow...Val McDermid's latest book, The Retribution, was literally a non-stop read for me. Picked it up in the morning and finished late that night.

Now, I don't know if you're familiar with this fantastic Scottish author, but if you love crime novels, she's an author you want to read. She has written three series, but my favourites are the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan books. A television series - Wire in the Blood - is also based on these characters.

In The Retribution, Hill, a psychological profiler and Jordan, a Detective Inspector with the MIT - major incident team - are stunned to learn that Jacko Vance, a charismatic serial killer they imprisoned, has escaped. Jacko - "killer of seventeen teenage girls, murderer of a serving police officer and a man once voted the sexiest man on British TV", promised he would seek retribution against those who put him away. At the same time, the MIT is working to solve the gruesome murders of local prostitutes. All this while the higher ups have decided to dismantle the crack team Carol has put together, due to budget constraints.

These two characters have always fascinated me. Neither one of them completely 'fits' into society, especially Tony. "When he interviewed the psychopaths that became his patients, he heard so many echoes of his own empty childhood. It was, he thought, the reason he was so good at what he did. He understood them because he had come within a hair's breadth of being them." The tenuous building of the relationship between Carol and Tony has been building over the course of the series. We get to know more of what makes Tony tick in this offering. My opinion of Carol changes from book to book - still no final opinion. The MIT team is filled with interesting support characters with their own stories.

Vance is a diabolical character. We are privy to his plans and thoughts and they are truly disturbing. The second case involving the prostitutes was good but had a bit of a 'filler' feel to it. That being said, McDermid's plotlines are always ingenious, complex and gritty. I was caught a bit off guard by the ending of the book, but then again, I like it when an author can keep me on my toes.

Definitely recommended. Read an excerpt of The Retribution. You can find McDermid on Twitter.

9 comments:

Kay said...

I look forward to reading this as I love Carol and Tony and their whole bunch. It's been a bit different in that the filmed version took Carol out of the picture, yet the books have her still in Tony's life. I like that actually because I missed her. This author is a bit gritty, but I like that too.

Luanne said...

McDermid takes us on a roller coaster this time with their relationship Kay!

Kay said...

Ah, well, their relationship is a bit of a puzzle all the time. Can't wait to read this one and see what's up. :-)

Emidy @ Une Parole said...

This is my type of book! Don't you love it when a novel doesn't let you put it down? I've got to get my hands on this one. Fantastic review!

Marce said...

I have never read her but decided to start with Mermaids Singing. Her newest sounds fantastic.

Great review, i'm excited to experience her.

Dorte H said...

I think Val McDermid is a brilliant writer, but I prefer her standalones. The Hill-Jordan series is too gory for my taste - even though I can see the attraction of the main characters.

bermudaonion said...

I've never experienced McDermid, but your review and the comments make me want to.

Luanne said...

Emidy - you're right - it's so great to find a book you can't stop reading!

Marce - I really can't say there's one I haven't liked!

Dorte - yes, she can get a bit gritty...

Kathy - try one and let me know what you think.

Marjorie said...

I'm a big Val McDermid fan, and thoroughly enjoyed 99% of this book. However I have to say I thought the ending was just ridiculous :(