Review Blog

Oct 18 2017

Insidious intent by Val McDermid

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Little Brown, 2017. ISBN 9781408709320
(Age: senior secondary to adult) Highly recommended. Crime thriller, Forensic science, Murder. When a young woman's body is found in a burnt out car in a remote part of Northern England, DCI Carol Jordan and psychological profiler, Tony Hill, are part of the team, now called the ReMIT, short for Regional Major Incident Team, called in to handle major cases in the north. Carol heads this new team, but is treading on wary ground, having been party to a cover up of her drink driving charge the year before, and only now admitting to being an alcoholic, receiving help from Tony to remain sober.
The murdered girl has only recently teamed up with a man she met at a friend's wedding, and the team has difficulty adding any new information as to who this man might be. Floundering, it is only when a second woman is found in identical circumstances, that some members of the team uncover some small but significant clues. McDermid's knowledge of police procedure and forensic investigation makes for marvelous and informed reading.
Meanwhile, Tony and Carol rub against each other in the same way that McDermid has presented in the previous nine Tony Hill/Carol Jordan novels. An edgy relationship that borders on the fraught, both members of the pair can be infuriating in their addiction to their work. Tony has little empathy with the living and often underestimates the effect some of his words will have, while Carol's blunt approach often leaves her with enemies. One of these, Sam, was not picked to be in her new team and harbours grudges, so much so, that he hitches his star to an investigative reporter, out for Carol's blood. Meanwhile, Paula and Erica, having taken on the son of a friend who was killed, Torin, find that parenting is much more difficult than they expected it to be.
A taught multi layered thriller of a read, the ease with which some women can be picked up is staggering and in the face of such an orgnaised killer, they have little chance of seeing through the facade he presents.
But what do you do when the killer is known, and the evidence not clear enough to have him arrested? In her heightened state, Carol is under extreme pressure and how she reacts to that pressure makes for a fascinating read.
Fran Knight

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