Title: The Mermaids Singing
Author: Val McDermid
Synopsis: Up till now, the only serial killers Tony Hill had encountered were safely behind bars. This one’s different — this one’s on the loose. In the northern town of Bradfield four men have been found mutilated and tortured. Fear grips the city; no man feels safe. Clinical psychologist Tony Hill is brought in to profile the killer. A man with more than enough sexual problems of his own, Tony himself becomes the unsuspecting target in a battle of wits and wills where he has to use every ounce of his professional skill and personal nerve to survive.
My Thoughts: This is the first book in a series, and it was interesting watching Tony and DCI Carol Jordan meet and learn to work together. The book goes into a fair amount of detail about how Tony profiles — setting things up for future stories, I’m sure.
A warning: Some chapters are journal entries in which the murder discusses torture and implements of torture (the rack, the Judas chair) in loving, graphic detail. I’m not particularly squeamish, but a couple of the descriptions got to me. McDermid sets up a good mystery and leaves clues throughout for those sharp enough to pick them up. When the bad guy was revealed, I was taken aback — so much so that I went back and reread a few portions of the book. I found that I’d made some assumptions that caused me to draw incorrect conclusions.
I’m starting to notice a trend. I like my main characters smart, funny, and fucked up. That’s Tony for you. And DCI Carol Jordan isn’t much better. It’s going to be interesting watching the character development that occurs as the series continues. I’ve got two more books on the shelf ready and waiting.
Next up: Shades of Ianto, by sarcasticchick