Val McDermid,
Beneath the Bleeding
(Harper, 2008)

He is back. Tony Hill may be bedridden, but in this well-woven tale he is in top form. Author Val McDermid weaves another tale of wonderful crime amid very human turmoil. Whether it is the conflict between Tony and Carol or the procedural conflicts in a police station, the feeling is that you are the fly on the wall experiencing the story from a hidden vantage point.

This new book dovetails two great storylines seamlessly -- two books for the price of one over the course of nearly 500 pages. One story revolves around the poison murders of a number of seemingly disparate characters who are only drawn together when the hospitalized profiler with more personal issues than most of his subjects gets his laptop powered up and his brain in gear.

The other is a tale of our time. It has fundamentalists, bombs and the anti-terrorist squad, but is it all that it seems? McDermid never gives too much away so read carefully.

While all these threads are being woven, unpicked and rearranged, we get wonderful insights into the often damaged characters that inhabit the elite squad of Bradfield Police. Having read of their exploits and troubles in earlier novels is a plus, but it will not diminish the joy of this book for the new Tony Hill fan.

As usual I cannot say too much about the story in case I spoil the suspense, but I guarantee you will not have long to wait for the denouement because you will race through the book barely stopping to breathe.

review by
Nicky Rossiter

19 April 2008

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