Tuesday, 25 June 2013

The Torment of Others

by Val McDermid
Tony Hill & Carol Jordan #4
Crime fiction
Harper Collins - 2005
556 pages - 9.99 $
Why this book

Or why this author in that case. I follow Mark Billingham on Twitter who often tweet with Val McDermid. As he praised her work I decided to give it a try, knowing that he wouldn't praised bad books. 


Two brutal killers with the exact same MO.
For the one twisted mind behind it all, there is nothing more pleasurable than the torment of others.

The blood of prostitutes stains the streets of Bradfield, and two young boys have disappeared into thin air. With grisly crime scenes that mirror the MO of a killer long since incarcerated, it's a hell of a time for Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan to find out if her new elite crime squad is up to snuff.

With help from friend and clinical psychologist Dr. Tony Hill, Carol rises to the occasion and launches an undercover sting operation to solve the crimes. But when the operation goes terribly wrong, tension reaches an ultimate high. Tony must penetrate the mind of one of the most perverse serial killers he has ever encountred, and Carol must block out the echoes of a haunting past in order to catch a murderer before the blood of a detective is on her hands.

What I think of it

That was something! It's gripping, sometimes difficult to read - I won't recommend that book to some people who don't feel to read about rape and its consequences - but it is very well written and the emotions are very realistics - perhaps too realistics for some people. In my case, I appreciated the accuracy of tone and though some passages were difficults, they are just more interesting because they put us in the shoes of the protagonists. We feel Carol's fears, the discomfort of the other cops towards her or the Tony's guilt. The different characters - even the minor ones - are fairly well described so that we can get an idea of ​​the atmosphere that prevails and we can see how the individuals within the team will react. 

The story, or rather stories, since we're following two investigations are also well written. Boths are very sensitive subjects, as it concerns children for one and murder of sexual nature for the other one. We plunge into the horror of these investigations and the frustration experienced by police officers who can't track the culprit fast enough for their liking. The course of the investigation is also a strong point as the methodology and procedures are very well explained. There is no rabbit out of the hat, the results are found through methodical work, although sometimes the searches are based on the reasoning of Tony.

The suspense escalates regularly and ended up really stressing me. This is because we feel empathy - thanks to the talent of McDermid to make us feel the emotions of the characters - just as much for Carol who finds herself in a situation she knows too well as for a character in the book whose life is at stake. I spent a few very short nights, because I tried to read as much pages as possible to move forward in the investigation and it must be said to finish the book as quickly as possible to know the outcome. To close this book before the end - which I had to do because I had to go to work the next day, argh! - it's a bit like putting a thriller film on pause just when the protagonist opens a door and yells when he discovers ...       (yes, that is a pain huh?)

One extract (see how she puts tension just for a friend to say hello? The whole book is like that!)

A few minutes later, he saw what he’d been waiting for. A gleam of blonde hair caught in the security lights by the back door, and he was on the move. He shoved the file back into his briefcase and stood upright, moving towards the back of the car to cut off his target before she could reach the driver’s door.

She looked over her shoulder, calling out a farewell to a colleague. When she turned back, he was only a few feet from her. Shock and astonishment shot across her face and she stopped dead. Her mouth formed an exclamation, but no sound emerged.

‘Hi, Carol,’ Tony said. ‘Fancy a curry?’

‘Jesus,’ she exhaled, her shoulders dropping. ‘You nearly gave me a heart attack. What the hell are you doing here?’

Let's be brief

This book can create some discomfort, of course, but it remains an excellent and gripping book. The suspense is intense: you'll have trouble to put this book down! Personally, I enjoyed it very much and I'll definitely read other books by this author.

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