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English teacher interested in language and culture, and also in fiction using magic, myth, folklore and the supernatural. Now teaching part-time in a Leicester Upper School (ages 14-19) and also writing for children, teens and teachers.

Monday, 22 April 2013

Review: The Retribution by Val McDermid

New Tony Hill/Carol Jordan novel - excruciatingly tense as ever! 

If you haven't read any of the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series before, and you're a crime fan, I'd strongly recommend that you do - and also that you don't go on reading this review, as this is book seven in the series. I won't be spoiling this book here, but I can't promise to be spoiler-free for earlier novels.

I've always enjoyed the complexity of the relationships in these novels, and this instalment goes further than ever before in making life impossible for Tony and Carol. There are two major plotlines here: Jacko Vance, villain of The Wire in the Blood, escapes from prison and is hellbent on revenge, and an unknown killer is murdering prostitutes and tattooing them "mine". As always with McDermid's writing, this is not a book for the faint hearted; she does not shy away from the gruesome and the grisly, even when this means tormenting much-loved characters. But of course, it's not just Carol and Tony: Carol's Major Incident Team are under new pressure as they are being disbanded, they want to solve the prostitute killer case to prove themselves and, as the team who put him away, they are all in danger from Vance as well.

As ever, we see the story from various angles, and are often privy to what a killer will do next. There is an incredible amount of tension in this novel, which is heightened by this additional information. This is a skilful piece of writing which controls reader expectation perfectly, managing pace and tension to an exquisite degree.

Overall, this is an essential part of the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan story and I would urge lovers of earlier instalments to read it.

From the Book Description:

There is one serial killer who has shaped and defined police profiler Tony Hill's life. One serial killer whose evil surpasses all others. One serial killer who has the power to chill him to the bone: Jacko Vance.

And now Jacko is back in Tony's life. Even more twisted and cunning than ever before, he is focused on wreaking revenge on Tony - and DCI Carol Jordan - for the years he has spent in prison.

Tony doesn't know when Jacko will strike, or where. All he knows is that Jacko will cause him to feel fear like he has never known before - and devastate his life in ways he cannot imagine...

Published Feb 2012 by Sphere
Find it at Goodreads

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