Splinter the Silence is the newest (and ninth) entry in Val McDermid's Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series. (one of my favourite crime/detective series)
Splinter the Silence picks up a few months after the end of the last book Cross and Burn. (my review)
After a catastrophic case, ex-DCI Carol Jordan left the force and took refuge in restoring her dead brother's home. She's also taking refuge more and more in excessive drinking. Criminal psychologist and profiler Dr. Tony Hill is worried - very worried about Carol. Fate - and Tony - intercede and maybe, just maybe Carol has the chance to again prove why she's a brilliant DCI.
McDermid opens Splinter the Silence with the antagonist's thoughts...(and I was hooked immediately)
"Weekends were best. It was easy to avoid working then. So it was easier to watch the women he was interested in. Mostly they didn't go to work then either, so he had a chance to observe their routines and work out the best way to kill them."
McDermid uses a very current issue as the basis of her plot - on line bullying by trolls. Tony isn't looking for a case, but a recent spate of suicides just feels wrong to him. "Years of working alongside Tony had instilled in her an understanding that odd was often where the answers started." Familiar recurring members from previous books are assembled as they attempt to reunify as a team and discover if the deaths are suicide - or murder. Of course, as readers we know the answer but the thrill is in following the team's progress.
McDermid's plotting is always inventive and she is a master of the police procedural. But for this reader, it is the characters that draw me back time and time again. I truly had no idea where McDermid could take this series after the ending of the last book. I enjoy each and every player, but it is Tony and Carol's storyline is the one that intrigues me the most. It's real and raw - I sometimes feel like an interloper, inadvertently intruding on someone's private conversations and grief. Their relationship progresses two steps forward and one step back. Stacey is given a louder voice in this outing and the addition of two new players looks promising for future entries.
Splinter the Silence is brought to a satisfying end...but then McDermid throws in one last twist guaranteed to whet the reader's appetite for the next book in this absolutely wonderful series. Highly recommended.
Although you can read any of this series as a stand alone, I heartily recommend starting at the beginning with the first book, The Mermaids Singing. A television series - Wire in the Blood - is also based on these characters. You can find Val McDermid on Twitter and on Facebook as well.