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The Mermaids Singing [Paperback]

Val McDermid
4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Feb 2003

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.



Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; (Reissue) edition (3 Feb 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006493580
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006493587
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 11.2 x 3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 381,296 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

Review

'Compelling and shocking', Minette Walters

'Terrifying but stylish, cruel and compassionate. Truly, horribly good' Frances Fyfield , Mail on Sunday

'Gripping, intelligent stuff' The Times

'A superb psychological thriller' Cosmopolitan

'A deliciously gruesome serial killer thriller. Ms McDermid finds new ways to shock and revolt us' New York Times

From the Back Cover

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.

In the northern town of Bradfield four men have been found mutilated and tortured. Fear grips the city; no man feels safe. Clinical psychologist Tony Hill is brought in to profile the killer. A man with more than enough sexual problems of his own, Tony himself 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, brilliantly written psychological thriller, The Mermaids Singing explores the tormented mind of a serial killer unlike any the world of fiction has ever seen.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
By Mr. D. J. Carr VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Val McDermid is one of the few writers which successfully merge the reality of a UK setting with the thrill of the chase.
Her background as a newspaper reporter seems to enable her to write developing stories in a style that makes you feel you are there. Her characters are more human than those found in Patricia Cornwell's police thrillers, and the characters have more depth than the typical James Patterson. She avoids the new realism which seems to demand more explicit torture scenes in short chapters, relying instead on a more thoughtful exposition of the motives involved and a true sense of time in the plotting.
Her development of the personality of Tony Hill is well-paced, and manages to blend the abstract analytical facet of his work with his human frailties and self-blindness.
This book encouraged me to read her back-catalogue works; the schoolgirl mystery stories of Lindsay Duncan and the Warshawski-like Brannigan series which although lighter in tone show the love of detail on which this more mature work depends for its success.
I unreservedly recommend it as a more human approach than Cornwell and created with rather more thought and insight than Patterson.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
By Stephanie De Pue TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
"The Mermaids Singing"(1995), a British mystery, was the first of Scottish author Val McDermid's "Wire in The Blood" mystery series, and quite a stir it made, too. McDermid, who is now a prize-winning, best-selling author of 22 novels, is, of course, a leading exponent of the "tartan noir," school of mystery-writing: the specifically Scottish, bloody-minded, tough but slyly humorous approach to a thriller, lightened by the mordant wit for which the Scots are known. As does the entire "Wire" series, "Mermaids" deals with the psychological profiling and stalking of serial killers. It introduces us to, and stars, Dr. Tony Hill, forensic psychologist and criminal profiler; also introduces us to Detective Inspector Carol Jordan, with whom he works. It's a police procedural and rather a suspense/thriller. Her "Wire" series is now, of course, the basis for a popular ITV television series of the same name, Wire in the Blood: Series 1 and 2 (5 Disc Box Set) [DVD] [2002], starring the toothsome Robson Green as Dr. Tony Hill.

McDermid jumped to worldwide fame and popularity on the heels of her A Place of Execution, which was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Novel, won a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She was born and raised in a Scottish mining town not far from Edinburgh, north of the Firth of Forth; won a scholarship to the ancient, highly-prestigious Oxford University,where she read English; and worked for sixteen years as a journalist in Manchester, where she still resides.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Grippingly Superb! 4 Sep 2002
By A Customer
Format:Paperback
What a great book! I was hooked from the minute I began to read. The characters became so real and the plot so nerve-tinglingly tense, that I could not put this book down! By the time I got to the last few chapters, I found myself reading faster and faster just so that I could find out what would happen next - would Batman arrive in time?!!! Seriously though, the detailed descriptions of the killer's methods (to me) were necessary for the heightening of the tension. Without such detail, the killer would not have seemed half as scary or crazy. If you love a good read and have a very strong stomach, read and enjoy!
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A psychological thriller 21 Sep 2007
Format:Paperback
This is the first in the series of clinical psychologist Tony Hill, and it kicks off to a good start.
Tony Hill explores the mind of a serial killer, which in turn puts the reader inside the mind of the killer also.
This is a well written psychological thriller which keeps you guessing right till the very end on who is brutally torturing and mutilating men to death.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Worth staying an extra stop on the train for! 5 April 2001
Format:Paperback
I have read all of Val McDermid's books, but this one really had me sneaking a look at the book at work, walking down the street etc etc. McDermid involves you fully with the characters and the action and although you are horrified by the sickness of the crime, you are somehow allowed to understand the killer's mind. I wasn't sure whether to read quickly to get to the end or savour slowly so that I didn't finish it too soon.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
By Mr. R. N. Lock VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is good read and explores sexuality in a harsh and graphic way. The story is around catching a serial killer with the backdrop story of a Doctor in Psychology helping form a profile for the police. It was interesting the way the book described the police tactics and struggles - there were good characterisation, which kept you hooked in to the plot and kept the tension up throughout. This book is revealing and not for the feint-hearted.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Still Singing 9 May 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Ms McDermid can absolutely pull it out the bag when necessary and this book is a full-strength industrial beast of a thriller. If you like loads of gore coupled with rather unrealistic police procedure then Ms M is your girl.
My maxim is if you want by the book policing read the manual not the novel.
I read to be entertained not to further my understanding of policing procedure, so long as it is fairly believable I am down with it. As I have no intention of joining up anytime soon it is of no moment.
With that proviso this is very entertaining and has an enjoyable twist. Well I liked it but I wasn't 100% convinced it would pass scrutiny close to hence my down-grade to four stars.
The Wire In The Blood series is what Ms M does best in my opinion but they are not a direct lift from the television series so don't read this expecting a linear progression, you will be disappointed. That said this makes for a jolly few hours of diversion, if murderous mayhem is your particular bent.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars graphic but gripping
Very gripping story , but not for the fainthearted - some of the writing is very graphic and leaves nothing to the imgination. My second Val McDermid . I'm hooked.
Published 5 days ago by EJ
4.0 out of 5 stars Very absorbing
This was my first Val McDermit and I really enjoyed it! Right from the beginning you are gripped by the tight plot, the well drawn characters and the suspense. Read more
Published 9 days ago by Michele Grainger
5.0 out of 5 stars and really introduces him as a tormented but brilliant profiler. The...
This is one of the first Tony Hill books, and really introduces him as a tormented but brilliant profiler. Read more
Published 10 days ago by Jeannie
2.0 out of 5 stars Not to my taste
While the book has a strong narrative drive, and I did read it to the end, I found the graphic sadistic sexual scenes overdone and unpleasant. Read more
Published 11 days ago by twistedsister
5.0 out of 5 stars Brill
I love this authors books and this one didn't disappoint, story is great as always and I didn't want to put the book down
Published 13 days ago by Bobbybj
5.0 out of 5 stars Kindle purchase
Another page turner from Val McDermid and I thoroughly enjoyed it.She has an excellent way of writing a story that keeps you interested. Read more
Published 16 days ago by RonCotton
5.0 out of 5 stars wire in the blood
even though I watched the series on tv. I thoroughly enjoyed this book, so much so, that I am going to look for the other books in the series. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Mrs L Kelly
5.0 out of 5 stars sensational as always
Every books ever written by Val McDermott are wonderfully written. After the first couple of pages it is as though you loose all of your control to put the book aside. Read more
Published 20 days ago by Sally savril
4.0 out of 5 stars The Mermaids Singing
As I have just started reading this book, it is a little early to say what I really think of it. I am a great fan of Val McDermid, but generally do not like the Tony Hill series... Read more
Published 20 days ago by gill jackson
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
This is not my normal read I prefer light hearted flick chick books,this was recommended to me by a friend and had me gripped by the first chapter,this book gets your mind racing... Read more
Published 21 days ago by Jan
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