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Wednesday 18 May 2016

‘Splinter the Silence’ by Val McDermid

Published (USA) by Atlantic Monthly Press,
1 Dec 2015.
ISBN: 978-0-8021-2408-1 (HB)
Published (UK) by Little Brown,
27 Oct 2015.
ISBN 978-1-4087-0689-3 (HB)
Published (CAN) by Harper Collins,
1 Dec 2015.
ISBN 978-0-7515-6142-5 (HB)

The good news is that Val McDermid’s Tony Hill and Carol Jordan are back.  The even better news is that this book is perhaps the best yet in this terrific series (and that’s saying a lot!).Carol has two love/hate relationships, in the two most important aspects of her life: the professional, and the personal.  As to the former: Carol was for years an ace detective and the boss of an elite murder squad, which she gave up when she handed in her resignation.  “The career she’d defined herself by was over.  At moments like this, she had to remind herself that had been her own choice.  She could have been Detective Chief Inspector Jordan yet.  But she had chosen to be plain Carol Jordan.”  Until now, that is, when she is offered the chance to run and to “run a free-standing Major Incident Team, hand-picking her officers, and handling murders, serious sexual assaults and the like over six distinct forces

As to the personal aspect of her life, her relationship with Dr. Tony Hill, the socially awkward but brilliant criminal profiler who had worked as consultant with Carol and her squad for a long time, is more like a not-quite-love/not-quite-hate relationship, she has gotten the ok to have him on her new squad.  And when push comes to shove, Tony is the one she calls upon when things in her life take an ugly, alcohol-fueled turn.  (On his part, he is said by one of the other characters to be “trapped in her
orbit like a captive moon.”)   But before her MIT space has even been
completed, Carol and her team, including Tony, start to look into what appears to be a spate of cyber-bullying suicides, each of women in their mid-thirties who were very outspoken on women’s issues.

Tony has an office in Bradfield Moor secure mental hospital.  “All his working life, he’d been held up as the expert in empathy, the one who knew how to stand inside other people’s skin and report back on what they felt and why they felt it.”  And his expertise has never been more important than with this investigation, as he and Carol both feel they have a serial killer on their hands.  (The reader gets to see exactly how Tony goes about putting together a criminal profile, and it is fascinating indeed.)

The investigation, and the evolution of Carol and Tony’s relationship, are brilliantly done.  The writing, as always, is excellent, and the novel a page-turner.  Not a slim book, I nevertheless tore through it in two days.  It is, obviously, highly recommended.
Reviewer:  Gloria Feit

Val McDermid  grew up in Kirkcaldy on the East Coast of Scotland.  Val was accepted at 17 to read English at St Hilda’s College, Oxford,  one of the youngest undergraduates they’d ever taken on, and the first from a Scottish state school. She worked for fourteen years on national newspapers in Glasgow and Manchester, ending up as Northern Bureau Chief of a national Sunday tabloid
Her first book Report for Murder  was published by The Women’s Press in 1987. She finally gave up the day job in April, 1991, and has been making her living by writing ever since. She still reviews regularly for various national newspapers, and also writes occasional journalism and broadcast regularly on BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio Scotland.
Val divides her year between writing and promoting her work at home and abroad, and when she is not travelling, she divides her time between South Manchester and Edinburgh where she lives with her partner and her son.

Ted and Gloria Feit live in Long Beach, NY, a few miles outside New York City.  For 26 years, Gloria was the manager of a medium-sized litigation firm in lower Manhattan. Her husband, Ted, is an attorney and former stock analyst, publicist and writer/editor for, over the years, several daily, weekly and monthly publications.  Having always been avid mystery readers, and since they're now retired, they're able to indulge that passion.  Their reviews appear online as well as in three print publications in the UK and US.  On a more personal note: both having been widowed, Gloria and Ted have five children and nine grandchildren between them.

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