This is a book of two halves: half is excellent as we follow the emotional fall-out of the past which has left Carol Jordan and Tony Hill both severely traumatised and alienated from each other and from the police force. In this part of the book, McDermid shows herself to be a sensitive, emotionally-intelligent writer with a fine streak of darkness running through her fictional world.
The other half is a run-of-the-mill psychopathic, misogynist serial-killer plot where, once again, we are shown a man who hates women and wants to re-make them into Stepford wives. The gratuitous sexual violence is sickening, and the plotting feels half-baked: it's obvious from the start who the perpetrator is because the clues are clumsily dropped and, apart from a single red-herring, there's no-one else it could be. The `investigation' is also all a bit pat, and leaves loose ends (the fingerprint on the phone?).
So this is like a very good book and a mediocre `me-too' one crushed together. I can't work out why McDermid falls back into the generic and derivative when she is clearly capable of so much better: a sop to her long-time fans? publisher pressure? who knows. But the contrast between the two halves demonstrate that she is a far better novelist than this book overall shows.
(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)