Today’s book review of a crime novel is brought to you by yours truly, Morgen Bailey. If you’d like your book reviewed or to send me a book review of another author’s book, see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog.
The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid
Synopsis: The Gold Dagger award-winning serial killer thriller that began the Number One bestselling crime series featuring clinical psychologist Dr Tony Hill, hero of TV’s much-loved Wire in the Blood.
You always remember the first time. Isn’t that what they say about sex? How much more true it is of murder…
Up till now, the only serial killers Tony Hill had encountered were safely behind bars. This one’s different – this one’s on the loose.
Four men have been found mutilated and tortured. As fear grips the city, the police turn to clinical psychologist Tony Hill for a profile of the killer. But soon Tony becomes the unsuspecting target in a battle of wits and wills where he has to use every ounce of his professional nerve to survive.
A tense, beautifully written psychological thriller, The Mermaids Singing explores the tormented mind of a serial killer unlike any the world of fiction has ever seen.
Review (of the audiobook)
Skillfully narrated by Alan Cumming, this novel, set in the fictional town of Bradfield, has a great opening: You always remember the first time. Isn’t that what they say about sex. How much more true it is of murder.
The narration switches from first person (gay fashion-savvy man whose memory of a domineering mother still haunted him) and third-person (mostly about Tony Hill and DI Carol Jordan).
Apart from the domineering mother being a well-worn excuse for an antagonist doing what they do, this is a very well-written novel with few blips (I spotted the cliché ‘Cross turned on his heel’) and with very clever phrases including Carol being compared with a lesbian, and ‘he changed his tune more than a jukebox’, with subtle threads including Carol’s brother being in ‘leading edge software development’.
I listened to this twice and still didn’t get the significance of the title (have you read this and could let me know?) and for that alone, it loses a point.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Based in Northamptonshire, England, Morgen Bailey (“Morgen with an E”) is a prolific blogger, podcaster, editor / critiquer, 2015 Head Judge for the annual H.E. Bates Short Story Competition, Head Judge for the NLG Flash Fiction Competition and creative writing tutor for her local county council. She is also a freelance author of numerous ‘dark and light’ short stories, novels, articles, and very occasional dabbler of poetry. Like her, her blog, https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com, is consumed by all things literary. She is also active on Twitter, Facebook along with many others (listed on her blog’s Contact page) and has created five online writing groups and an interview-only blog.
Her debut novel is the chick lit eBook The Serial Dater’s Shopping List ($0.99 / £0.77) and she has nine others (mostly crime) in the works. She also has eight collections of short stories available (also $0.99 / £0.77 each) – detailed on https://morgenbailey.wordpress.com/books-mine/short-stories.
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If you would like to send me a book review of another author’s books or like your book reviewed (short stories, contemporary crime / women’s novels or writing guides), see book-reviews for the guidelines. Other options listed on opportunities-on-this-blog. And I post writing exercises every weekday on four online writing groups.