Newest Review: ... on studying serial killers, though captured serial killers are his really area of prowess. The back of this book states (also the fir... more
The Mermaids Singing - A great gruesome tale
The Mermaid's Singing - Val McDermid
Member Name: Kary
The Mermaid's Singing - Val McDermid
Advantages: Fantastic read and thrilling story
Disadvantages: Might not be for everyone
Val McDermid - The Mermaids Singing:
I had heard of Val McDermid a long time ago and I am sure I can remember reading one of her books a while back, A Distant Echo was, I think the name of the book. I was sure I could remember it being a really enjoyable read but at the time I was engrossed with some of my other favourite authors like Michael Connelly and Jeffery Deaver. However a few years passed and my backlog of books disappeared and I felt it was time to revisit Val McDermid and after doing some research I discovered that this was the first book in a series.
This book, entitled, "The Mermaids Singing" has nothing to do with mermaids and it definitely aimed at an adult audience and I would only recommend it to those that enjoy crime thriller books and I have recommended this book to several people who have all enjoyed it.
"The Mermaids Singing" is set in the North of the country (England) in a town called Bradfield and is centred around the character of Tony Hill, a clinical psychologist who is known for his expertise on studying serial killers, though captured serial killers are his really area of prowess. The back of this book states (also the first lines) "You always remember the first time. Isn't that what they say about sex? How much more true it is of murder" not only do I think this helps draw the reader in but I also think that this is the case for Tony as he tackles his first serial killer outside of the confines of a prison. I think this is a good way to start the series as although there is a lot of background for you to learn you get to tackle things with him from the start. The case really hits home for Tony who has sexual problems of his own, this adds another element to the book and the depth of the character but you should really read the book for details.
Tony of course has a partner in crime, for lack of a better saying; this is Carol Jordan, a police detective that is chucked into the case with Tony, she and Tony being to get along, maybe a bit too well. Carols brother, a computer whiz, also has a part to play in this thrilling story. You do hear things both from the point of view of the killer and Tony and I think this helps you feel part of the story and it is better than just following one character throughout.
The stage is set when bodies are discovered, but this is no usual case, the bodies are of men that have all been severely tortured and mutilated, if you do not like gruesome books then stay away from this one as McDermid does not hold back and many a time I winced or even looked away from the book, yet, at the same time I was enthralled. (If you do turn out to like this book then also give Mo Hayder a try).
Things in this book really heat up when it is discovered that one of the victims is a police colleague and the stage is set to profile not only the killer but also the victims, are they straight? Gay? Selected? Random? ... Hill of course is in charge of profiling the case for the police to help catch the killer, little did he know that a war will develop between him and the madman leading to a typical battle of good vs evil.
Unlike a lot of other books I have read I find that the Mermaids Singing and Val McDermid books in general have a great balance or detail and action. Let me further explain what I mean here, some authors like say Stephen Booth do one of the things I had and that is put in too much detail, I find that this means it can take me ages to get into the book and as much as I enjoy them this annoys me and others will be like James Patterson where I feel that details are left out in favour of a quick thrill that can be read really quickly. McDermid though explains everything perfectly, you get the details you need to feel that you can solve the case first and to get the atmosphere and tension but it is not over the top so you don't get bored.
This book is tense, well written, has twists and character depth to match with its fast pace it is extremely enjoyable and I found that it captured my attention to the point that I didn't want to put it down.
At 443 pages in a good sized font and unlike many other books decent sized chapters (only 18 in total) it is a really nice size and will take a while to read. It is well worth the full price of £5.99 on Amazon. I actually have an older copy of the book which is now available through Amazon marketplace new for under 50p - a great bargain.
Summary: A great book