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Just as i thought Val Mcdermid couldnt get any better... she has!
Fever of the bone is a gripping psychological thriller that will leave u wanting more from the brilliant mindset of the genius author Val McDermid. It is part of her Tony Hill series of Novels which follow psychological profilers (Tony Hill), life, at and out of work, and focuses on a very complicated relationship between him and his long term friend and colleague, DCI Carol Jordan.
As always, McDermid has more than one story line happening at the same time. In this novel there is a story of a cold case in which new evidence is discovered to potentially prosecute a man who allegedly murdered his wife and children, as well as a current case of a murderer who lures his teenage victims via a social networking site, as well as Dr Tony Hill and DCI Carols Jordan's search for information on Tony's father, which leads Tony into a deeper personal search about his own identity.
The way in which each of the separate stories unfold, is just genius and i seriously could not put this book down as soon as I read the first page. If you're looking for a truly brilliant psychological crime thriller, written by a mastermind who has written many alike this one, then Val McDermid's Fever of the bone has to be the book for you.
The big draw to this series for me is the characters. Dr Tony Hill is the endearingly wacky consultant profiler to Carol Jordan, head of the Major Incident Team, who investigate both old and current cases. Both of these characters are great for different reasons, here we see the best of bumbling Tony, with some great comic scenes involving him and Carol being her typical hard headed self. As always, the plot of the actual investigation- a series of murders of teenage kids who are preyed upon via internet social networking sites, plays second fiddle to the private lives of the two main characters.
In this novel, Tony explores his past with the (unwanted) help of Carol. His unknown father has passed away, leaving him a large legacy. Tony travels to his father's home in order to find out more about the man and his reason's for leaving him alone with his deranged mother, someone who has damaged Tony to the point where he can understand and empathise with the criminally deviant characters he profiles.
Unknown to Tony, Carol is also investigating the reasons for his father's disappearance from Tony's life and they edge closer together, even though they have to professionally take a step away from each other due to her new boss, who is committed to a cost cutting exercise. One of the costs to be cut is Tony, a great loss to the close knit team.
The murders themselves are an interesting little back drop to the real action, but the motives for them were very obvious from the start, even if there are a few twists along the way, they feel half hearted. Saying that, it was an interesting concept as a plot and as always, the action is very well written and involving.
A great addition to the series, it's always interesting to find out how these two characters are moving on in their fictional lives!
~ A Parent's Worst Nightmare~
When teenager Jennifer Maidment is murdered and her mutilated body is found dumped by the roadside near Worcester, West Mercia Police have little to go on and call in the support of criminal profiler, Tony Hill. Hill has time on his hands since back in Bradfield - the Sheffield/Bradford fictional location where Hill lives and usually plies his trade - his friend and lodger, policewoman Carol Jordan has been banned from using Hill's services. Hill has other personal reasons for thinking that an excuse to go to Worcester is very timely too.
When a teen-aged boy goes missing on Carol's patch, it's only a matter of time before his mutilated body is found and another boy is reported missing. With Tony in Worcester and Carol banned from talking to him, neither knows that the other is involved with a similar case. Suddenly young people across the country are disappearing and the only thing that links them appears to be an on-line social networking site. Each of the victims has been in contact with mysterious members who claim to know their secrets - secrets so confidential that even the children themselves don't know them.
Of course we as readers have the advantage of the whole picture - Tony and Carol each have only their own parts of the puzzle and neither knows what the other is working on or they'd be quicker to get on the scent of the killer. As readers, we must wait like frustrated pantomime-goers screaming out "behind you" as they move along without the benefit of the connections that quickly become apparent to us as observers. Can Tony's knowledge of human behaviour and Carol's old fashioned policing skills combine to catch a serial killer whose motives are so hard to fathom?
What seems to make the loss of these children so much more poignant is discovering just how much each of the parents adored their child. All are only children, several conceived only after many years of trying and one born to a lesbian couple. With so many heart-broken and devastated families impacted by the loss of their children, there's a parallel theme of a less conventional and much more dysfunctional family running in the background. In the previous book in the series (Beneath the Bleeding, 2007) we were introduced to Tony's horrible mother and discovered her plot to swindle her only son out of his inheritance. In Fever of the Bone, it's time for Tony to make some hard decisions about that inheritance and confront the issues that led his father to abandon him before he was even born and for Carol to uncover just how far Tony's mother would go to get what she wants.
~Six Down and Still Going Strong~
Fever of the Bone was released in 2009 and is the sixth of Val McDermid's books to feature the sleuthing team of Jordan and Hill. The pair were first introduced by McDermid way back in 1995 in 'The Mermaids Singing' and have been used as the inspiration for the TV series 'The Wire in the Blood'. After 14 years of buying and reading McDermid's books, I've come to view Carol and Tony as old friends. Of course their lives have changed since we first met them - Carol is now a Detective Chief Inspector and runs a special team that investigates major incidents and comprises a group of well-painted characters whom we've got to know over the previous books. Unfortunately Carol's new boss sees the team as less of a feather in the cap of the police force and more as an expensive indulgence that's a drain on his budget. Tony's profiling skills are now so well established that he's helping the Police training colleges to train up a new generation of in-force profilers who will one day do him out of a job. Both are older, occasionally wiser, and even more damaged and down-beaten by years of working at the coal face of human depravity. Carol's still drinking too much, Tony's still living in his own private world of introspection and even after 6 volumes we're no closer to getting a romance out of the pair of them.
~McDermid Walks on Water~
I loved this book - which was not a surprise as McDermid has never written a book I've read and not adored. She's a master artist when it comes to revealing just a little bit more to the reader than she does to her protagonists. If we pay attention and stay sharp, as readers we should always be able to keep a half-step ahead of the police. I had the connection between the victims worked out relatively early - certainly I think earlier than I was supposed to - but the killer was still a mystery up to the moment they were caught red handed. I had half the reason for the killings worked out before the 'reveal' but not the actual detail of the twist. I hate nothing more than ploughing through hundreds of pages to discover at the very end that there was absolutely no way that anyone could have worked out the plot because the writer has stuck a silly unconvincing twist on the end.
I loved the way that the novel integrated very contemporary themes around internet security and social networking with examination of how the 'family' has changed in recent decades and the contribution of advances in medicine and genetics to those changes.
No doubt knowing that her regular readers have come to love the two characters at the heart of this series, she wisely shied away from the temptation to dangle a 'will they won't they' carrot of romance over our heads and instead offered us deeper emotional developments in the characters of both Jordan and Hill, showing us Tony battling his demons to come to terms with getting to know about the father he never had and giving us Carol fighting like a mother-cat to defend him from his evil mother.
~So How Does McDermid Succeed Where Others Fail?~
Despite being on their 6th volume, McDermid is still keeping Jordan and Hill fresh and providing us with plenty of surprises. We're not just getting the same old stuff book after book and the characters are still developing as each new book comes along. She spaces the books to no more than one every couple of years so that we greet the news of the release of a new novel with the enthusiasm of a visit from old dear friends. In short, when you read McDermid, you never get the sense that she's already bored with her characters - not something I can saw for some of her competitors.
Perhaps part of this ability to 'keep it fresh' comes from the way in which McDermid keeps several writing 'balls' in the air at any time. She has several series of books all running in parallel. She started out with the Lindsay Gordon series and their lesbian journalist heroine (yes - you guessed, McD is a lesbian journalist) which are published under the name V.L.McDermid to distinguish them from her other writing. I've not read them but they ran from 1987 through to 2003. I first got to know her through the lighter-hearted Kate Brannigan series (1992 to 1998) with their Manchester-based private investigator and then I got hooked on Jordan and Hill when 'The Mermaid's Singing' came out in 1995. In between these serial-sleuths, McDermid still finds time to crank out some stunning stand-alone novels such as 'A Place of Execution', which looks at the legacy of the Moors Murderers or 'A Darker Domain' which is set during the Miner's Strike.
Perhaps it's the resolutely British settings and the northern grit of these novels that keeps many of them fresh when writers on the other side of the Atlantic just seem to bore me these days. I lived and worked in the Northwest for many years so the places McDermid writes about are real to me in a way that those of generic US serial-killer writers can never hope to be. She's our Scottish home-grown talent, a deeply clever and insightful woman of strong opinions who you can't miss if you're a regular Radio 4 listener since she's one of those people they roll out when they want a good debate. McDermid is just so consistently and reliably brilliant that money spent on any of her novels is a sure bet for a good read. Long may that continue to be the case.
Fever of the Bone
ISBN (Hardback) 978-1-4087-0198-0
Published by Little Brown
This is the first book I have read by Val McDermid, and only got it because there was an offer in WHSmiths of buy one get one free on the top 50 paperback charts. So I got this one because the write up on the back seemed like a good storyline and it was a bonus being free!
DCI Carol Jordan has yet another murder case to try and solve. A 14 year old has been murdered and their genitals removed. Normally, Carol gets help from a clinical psychologist called Dr Tony Hill who helps in murder cases by being a profiler. Unfortunately though, Carol is denied permission to use Dr Hill in the latest murder.
Within 24 hours another 14 year old has been found murdered, again with their genitals removed viciously. Carol has to admit that they could have a serial killer on the loose. Unable to use Tony, he accepts another case - a 14 year old has been murdered, and yes, their genitals have been removed. This has happened in another county though, so the two cases have not been linked together.
Unable to discuss cases between each other, Carol and Tony set about finding the murderer separately. Nobody knows the link between the 14 year olds and finding this out might be the key to finding their killer. They hope that no more bodies will turn up, but then even more 14years olds disappear, and they have to work against the clock. Finding the link is now even more important than before otherwise they could have more dead teenagers turning up.
The book had a really good storyline and I didn't figure out the possible link between the victims until it was revealed. However, because the book kept flipping between all the victims, Carol and Tony, I found it really hard to keep up. The storyline was brilliant but in my opinion it could have been put across a lot more easily.
As well as having the storylines of all the victims, there is also background information from Tony's life. Even though it kind of links together at the end of the book, I still think that all of his background information could have been taken out of the book and the story would have still have been as good. However, all this information coming in from every possible character in the book really confused me and after putting the book down for even an hour, I had to go back and reread some of the last chapter so I knew where I had got to.
I think I would read another one of Val McDermid's books because sometimes authors can have a confusing book that is not really reader-friendly even if they are top authors (as Val is). My all-time favoutire author at the moment is Jodi Picoult and I found one of her books to be a bit confusing but in the long run, her books are brilliant. This may just have been one of McDermid's downfalls, so I will try and read another one to see if her other books are easier to read and understand.
I give this book 3 out of 5 dooyoo stars. If there wasn't so much irrelevant storylines then I would have given it 5/5 because the overall storyline of the murders was fantastic. I wouldn't recommend this book if you want a book that's easy reading, but if you don't mind having to think a lot about your books, then try this one.