Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Mermaids Singing - Book #106

| Title | The Mermaids Singing |
| Author |Val McDermid, |
| Genre |Mystery |

| Pages |276 |
| Publisher |HarperCollins |
| Copyright |1995 |

Synopsis (from web-site)
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.

Why I read It
I have been working through McDermid’s backlist and this is book one in her Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series. The characters have been adapted into a very successful BBC television series called Wire in the Blood.

The Good
Solid mystery and the two main characters really work. Usually new characters take time to find themselves (i.e. think Friends season 1 versus season 8), but these two are smooth from page one.

The Bad
This is one of the most pornographically violent books I have read in some time – I have to think back to Thomas Harris’ Red Dragon or Silence of the Lambs for a similar feel. It seemed a little over the top but how many serial killers recreate Inquisition era torture devices to kill men for sexual pleasure? Over the top may be the only way to tell that story. The conclusion was a little too convenient and forced – everything worked out just so and just in time.

The Ugly (my opinion)
I liked the characters and will definitely read book two in the series, but if it continues with the extreme violence I will probably put her books on the back burner (i.e. only read when I can find NOTHING else in the library). I really do not have much interest in serial killer fiction because it is usually way to romanticized. By that I mean is overly elaborate and choreographed. I prefer my mysteries more realistic wherein most murders aren’t planned, or at least they are pretty straight forward. But that is probably just me.

I hate sounding so negative when overall I really like McDermid’s writing. The words flow and the story is laid out clearly. There are no lulls in the plot and I get through them very quickly. Most of my dislike comes from a personal preference and that is a statement about me and NOT the writing. What do I know? I think Surviving Christmas is a fantastic movie

Mormon Mentions

Author BiographyCrime writer Val McDermid grew up in Kirkcaldy, Scotland, and studied English at Oxford University. She trained as a journalist and worked on various national newspapers for 14 years before becoming a writer. Her first published book was Report for Murder (1987), and since then, she has written a large number of crime novels.

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