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Beneath the Bleeding Hardcover – 1 Aug 2007

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 416 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Second edition (1 Aug. 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 000724326X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007243266
  • Product Dimensions: 23.8 x 16.2 x 4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (118 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 228,890 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Val McDermid grew up in a Scottish mining community then read English at Oxford. She was a journalist for sixteen years, spending the last three as Northern Bureau Chief of a national Sunday tabloid. She divides her time between Northumberland and Cheshire

Product Description

Amazon Review

It seems hard to believe now, but there was a day when Val McDermid was just another crime writer. True, her Kate Brannigan novels were highly accomplished and well-honed pieces of work, and if McDermid had written nothing else, they would have assured her a solid place in the history of the genre. But Beneath the Bleeding (as with most of the other work the author has done more recently) is a much more ambitious and considerable novel, written on a grander scale, tackling pertinent social issues and (most importantly) developing two highly memorable characters: forensic profiler Tony Hill and his police ally DCI Carol Jordan.

The new book, as disturbing as it is compulsively readable, continues to add new levels to the psychological thriller -- something that McDermid seems able to do in every new book. A star footballer has been murdered in the city of Bradfield. Shortly after, an explosion rocks the town's football stadium, wreaking mass carnage. In the current climate of fear regarding home-grown terrorism, it is inevitable that suspicion falls in this direction – but is money -- or something else -- involved here? Such as a bloody working out of some kind of revenge scenario against the football team? Needless to say, this is quite a different case from those that Tony Hill and Carol Jordan have previously been involved with, and the customary relationship (swinging between confrontation and admiration) is worked out with all the rigour that we expect from McDermid. Of course, this is an author who always has more fish to fry than the simple exigencies of the crime novel, and astringent commentaries on many aspects of British society are provocatively incorporated here (always, though, inter alia -- never at the expense of a forward-moving narrative). If you're a fan of the Wire in the Blood TV series, you should do yourself a favour and investigate the original novels – such as Beneath the Bleeding. They offer a considerably more involving experience. --Barry Forshaw


‘McDermid is at the peak of her murderous craft’ Mirror

'The Queen of serial killers in this country keeps her end up…. few can scoop Val on throat-clutching narrative… Marvellous' Daily Mail

‘All the craft, panache and pace that we have come to expect from this outstanding writer… Vintage stuff: unplug the phone, lock the door and prepare to read in a sitting’ Guardian

‘Peerless … One of the world’s finest crime writers, McDermid is currently at the top of her game’ Glasgow Herald

‘McDermid’s writing gets better and better’ Spectator

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Customer Reviews

3.9 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By OEJ TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 12 Aug. 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Val McDermid has written some wonderful crime fiction tales in her time but she is probably best known for the series involving psychological profiler Dr Tony Hill and DCI Carol Jordan, based in the fictional Yorkshire city of Bradfield. Expectations are bound to be high for this, the fifth in the 'Hill-Jordan' collection of novels so far, following hot on the heels of the fifth in the associated Wire in the Blood TV dramatisations. In effect there are two stories running in parallel with each other, one the hunt for a serial killer and the other the search for a mass murderer, each person displaying very different methods but sharing an obsession for careful planning and forward thinking.

Knowing that the author herself recently went through considerable pain and discomfort as a result of major knee surgery, I cannot help but regard her decision to place Tony Hill in a hospital bed recovering from - guess what - major knee surgery for very nearly the entirety of this story's time span as something of an indulgence on her part, possibly a gesture of thanks to those who treated and cared for her, I don't know, but I got the impression that this strand of the plot was slightly at odds with everything else that was going on. It did however enable the author to introduce Tony Hill's mother in a thread that promised interesting developments but ultimately faded into insignificance. On the other hand it did offer an insight into the complicated personality of Dr Hill, and in that respect the mission was successful. Of course, anyone who has seen the Wire in the Blood series on TV will visualise actor Robson Green as Tony Hill in this book, personally I did not find this a distraction at all as the actor plays the part very convincingly.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Clare Hopkins on 3 Feb. 2008
Format: Hardcover
I can't believe some people thought this wasn't Val at her best - why? Tony and Carol are satisfyingly and convincingly at loggerheads here, and Tony's confinement to a hospital add tension to the plot because he can't move (it's a bit like Hitchcock's 'Rear Window' - the sense of paralysis adds to the suspense). Great double-stranded plot, as readable as all Val's books. I didn't find Tony's icy mother entirely credible as a character, but still - few people can write thrillers as well as Val McD, and this one had a less guessable ending than 'The Torment of Others', in which I guessed early on who the psycho-killer was. Brilliant moment too, in this one, where one line of dialogue changes everything - can't say any more without giving away something crucial. Read it - it's fab!
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By irish newshound on 30 July 2007
Format: Hardcover
The latest book in the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan season. Leading on from the Torment of others, Tony and Carol share a house and a complex relationship of co-dependency and intellectual intimacy.
The beginning of the book sees Tony injured by one of the patients in his pyschiatric hospital, and hospitalized for most of the book. This leads to a change in the dynamic of their relationship, with Carol doubting his conclusions due to lack of trust in his ability to reason whilst recuperating. It also leads to Tony utilising Carol's team to assist his lines of enquiry, leading to further antagonism between them.

The new character introduced, Tony's unforgettable mother, Vanessa, tells us more about his troubled background.

The book was excellent with well realised characters and excellent dialogue as Val's readers have come to expect. The hospital storyline did lead to some frustration as much of the flow of the book seemed to be halted by this.

Also, there would be a query over how long such an intimate, but non consumated relationship can remain that way without it escalating into a very difficult position.

It has been left open for the next installment, bring it on, Val!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By unlikely_heroine VINE VOICE on 26 July 2008
Format: Paperback
Val McDermid is a great writer and has written some astonishingly good books in the past, but this book isn't up to par. There is more than the slight hint of the autopilot about the writing as Tony Hill and Carol Jordan investigate two crimes involving the (fictional) Bradfield Victoria football team; the poisoning of their star striker, and a terrorist bomb at their stadium.

"Beneath the Bleeding" is readable enough and I turned the pages quickly to see what would happen, but then felt upon finishing the novel that I had rather wasted my time. Neither of the killers' motivations quite work; for some reason, McDermid decides to give us an insight into the bomber's life, but then has his attack committed for a reason that really does not add up and which contradicts other things we are told about the character. The footballer's killer is slightly more convincing, although not much, and this strand is tied up in a somewhat throwaway way near the end of the book. The inclusion of Tony's mother is a good idea but also does not ring true; she serves more as an irritant to Tony than a believable character.

All in all, passable entertainment, but not a story that stands up to much scrutiny and certain characters don't convince. The fact that the killers and their motives seem overly contrived adds to the sense that this is not a well-worked-through thriller - a bit disappointing, really.
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