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The Torment of Others [Hardcover]

Val McDermid
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)

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Book Description

24 May 2004

The Number One bestselling crime series featuring Tony Hill, hero of TV’s Wire in the Blood, written by the award-winning Val McDermid. This is a psychological thriller – and serial killer – that will keep you up at night.

For some, there is nothing so sweet, so thrilling, as the torment of others …

A dead girl lies on a blood-soaked mattress, her limbs spread in a parody of ecstasy. The scene matches a series of murders which ended when irrefutable forensic evidence secured the conviction of one Derek Tyler. But Tyler's been locked up in a mental institution for two years, barely speaking a word – except to say that 'the Voice' told him to do it.

Top criminal psychologist Dr Tony Hill is prepared to think the unthinkable – this is not a copycat murder but something much stranger. While DCI Carol Jordan and her team mount a desperate and dangerous undercover police operation to trap the murderer, Hill heads towards a terrifying face-off with one of the most perverse killers he has ever encountered…

Product details

  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; First Edition edition (24 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007142889
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007142880
  • Product Dimensions: 19.8 x 13.2 x 3.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 231,775 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

The Torment of Others is a salutary reminder what an asset to British crime fiction Val McDermid is. Her first books with journalist Lindsay Gordon as heroine gave hints of the talent that was to mature so impressively--and the subsequent series with the resourceful private eye Kate Brannigan demonstrated a sharper eye for the harder edges of society. But the best was just around the corner. McDermid's third sequence with clinical psychologist profiler Tony Hill was something of a quantum leap: as well as forging one of the most memorable figures in contemporary crime fiction with mildly eccentric Hill, McDermid added a degree of psychological acuity that made the earlier books seem like warm-ups for the main event.

The latest outing for Hill, The Torment of Others, also features McDermid's other richly realised creation, DCI Carol Jordan, and the author carries her familiar protagonists into truly unsettling new areas. This time, Hill is coping with a return to practical clinical profiling after a frustrating spell as an academic. And there's another major complication for him: his ex-partner Carol Jordan is no longer sure she wishes to be in charge of a team after the brutal sexual assault she suffered during undercover work. But she is persuaded to do so--and realises that one of her main tasks will be to create a cohesive unit.

A dead woman discovered in a sexual position on a bloody mattress, appears to be the victim of a killer the team knows all about: the monstrous Derek Tyler, who had carried out similarly bloody work two years before. However, forensics have landed Tyler in a mental institution--does this mean that Hill and Jordan are searching for a murderer who is copying the techniques of the psychotic Tyler?

While this may not be the best starting point for those new to McDermid, enthusiasts will find all the key elements are firmly and satisfyingly in place. --Barry Forshaw


‘One of McDermid's finest, which is saying a lot' The Times

‘An especially taut and inventive thriller. This is McDermid on top form’ Daily Mail

'Serial killers are thankfully rare. It is a tribute to the power of Val McDermid's imagination that she made this one seem so believable' Daily Telegraph

'Complex, combative and nuanced' Express

‘No one compares to McDermid’ Guardian

'Val McDermid is an intelligent, supremely talented novelist and with this latest tale, she is writing at the height of her power. Utterly compelling' Glasgow Herald

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
36 of 37 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Torment of Others, Val McDermid 23 Jun 2004
By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER
The Torment of Others is McDermid's fourth novel starring duo Tony Hill and Carol Jordan, who are, along with Stephen Booth's Ben Cooper and Diane Fry, the most interesting pairing in crime fiction. It is also, possibly, the very best. Not least because it's quite a bit shorter than many of her books - the result is a slightly slimmer, more tight, incredibly tense and suspenseful piece of work.
Two plots run parallel here: the disappearance of two young boys, which itself fades a little in importance when prostitutes begin turning up brutally murdered in grotty rooms. After her ordeal in Berlin, Carol Jordan has been off work in London, but is gradually tempted back to Bradfield by her boss John Brandon, to head a special team that will target particularly high-profile murder cases. Tony Hill, meanwhile, is also back in Bradfield, his stint as a lecturer at St Andrews University having come to an end. The job simply wasn't right for him. He much prefers to indulge in his work in the messy heads of the mentally ill. It is where he feels most at home, and is where he's most effective. He's taken a job at the local mental hospital.
The prostitute murders have particular resonance for the new murder squad, in that they mirror exactly a series of four murders from a few years ago. However, the culprit, Derek Tyler, is now incarcerated in the hospital where Tony now works. Tony's reluctant to accept the possibility of a copycat (they're sexual murders; each perpetrator has very differing needs and desires, thus the patterns of killing should very rarely, if ever, be the same), but what other explanation is there?
The general opinion seems to be that this is McDermid at her strongest, and I would probably agree.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High Five 4 Mar 2005
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It's always a pleasure when I take a chance on a new novelist and it pays off as well as it did here. Val McDermid is, I now know, one of our best writers and I won't hesitate to buy any book in the future with her name on the cover. In The Torment of Others, you'll get everything you want from a thriller and more : intelligent characters, gripping imagery, a powerful plot, clever pacing and just entertainment all round. The lead characters Jordan and Hill are very much individuals whose personalities and concerns are so well described that we almost feel that we know them; the key point is that we can easily believe in them. The side-plot of their 'relationship' is actually intriguing, dealt with subtle aplomb by their creator and cleverly left unfinished within the context of this story so that we can carry on where they left off in the next one. The main story line of this book is quite daringly graphic in its description without being gory for its own sake. It just leaves you wondering "Jeez, what a way to go"...and I'm not a woman! This is a writer of high intellect, vivid imagination and the bringing together of those rare skills makes for very enjoyable reading. Call me a fan.
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars More mayhem from McDermid 15 July 2004
By A Customer
Val McDermid's Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series has never been for the squeamish, and The torment of others is no exception. This book resisted being left on the coffee table and so I carried it around with me for the 48 hours it took me to read it. Tony and Carol are the most unusual crime fighting duo around and McDermid has had the sense to keep the romantic aspects of their relationship unrequited, a la Mulder and Scully. (You'll have to read The torment of others to find out if this is still the case.) Fans of Val's other works might think this series is too 'straight' for them, but don't be put off because there is always plenty of interest, and to admire. In short, McDermid pulls off the most difficult thing for a writer in her position, pleasing all of the readers all of the time.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Advice: Read it! 3 April 2005
By Claudia
I am young and new on the murder story scene and having only recently finished 'The da vinci code' I was not looking forward to searching for a book to match it. 'The torment of others',however, was recomended to me by a friend not long ago and this problem seems to be reoccurring! I find that many books suffer from an exciting and gripping first chapter only to be followed up by a really tedious 300/400 pages. Val's book isn't like this. A gripping first chapter, followed up by 552 pages of pure brilliance. Good murders, good plot, exciting twists.
As I said, I'm only young, but at only 15 I really can't recommend a more exciting, 'don't-speak-to-me-until-I'm-finished' thriller for all ages.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A high tensioned thriller 19 Oct 2007
This is the fourth book in the series featuring Dr Tony Hill and DCI Carol Jordan.
Two crimes to solve..... a past case involving two missing children and a murderer who is brutally killing women in a fashion which is identical to previous murders but with the killer already convicted and locked up.
This is one of the best books in the series, a high tensioned thriller with twists and turns along the way.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Very Good 17 Sep 2007
By J.Flood
A murderer is killing prostitutes, in a very gruesome manner. The method of the murders, is identical to a series of murders committed a few years earlier. However, that killer, Derek Tyler, has been put away, and could not have been involved, with the new cases.

I found this book a rivetting read. I felt the characters, DCI Carol Jordan and Tony Hill, along with the rest of the crime investigating team, seemed quite believable, and that the dialogue between them was realistic, as well.

The storyline never got dull, and there are a few twists in it, too. It kept me interested throughout.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Another corner of a book
Another amazing book by Ms.McDermid. The twists and turns make this book very difficult to put down, which is why I have just finished reading this at 3.45 a.m. Read more
Published 5 days ago by Mrs. M. F. V. Mcknight
5.0 out of 5 stars Riveting
I couldn't put it down! It held my attention from the beginning to the end as all this author's works do. Thanks, Val!
Published 1 month ago by Penny Tham
5.0 out of 5 stars cliff hanger from beginning to end.
As always a well written, nail biting story. Impossible to put down. Can't wait to get stuck in to the next one.
Published 1 month ago by S. Morgan
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
loved how quickly this book arrived, what can I say I think val McDermid is a brilliant writer so I will be ordering agan
Published 2 months ago by Carol Francis
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant
A real 'can't put it down' read. Brilliant as are all the books in this series. Would thoroughly recommend this book.
Published 3 months ago by joyce
5.0 out of 5 stars Compulsive
I have read most of Val McDermid's book & this was a compulsive read again. Story line is following on from a previous book, but you can still enjoy it without having read the... Read more
Published 7 months ago by A. O. Davies
5.0 out of 5 stars McDermid at her Best
Clever, intelligent, eloquent. I wanted to know who but I didn't want it to finish. Her books make reading one of life's great pleasures.
Published 7 months ago by Taymallow
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it
I bought this as one of those double books and, for some strange reason, this book was before The Mermaids Singing - which is the one that introduces the relationship between Tony... Read more
Published 8 months ago by Galning
4.0 out of 5 stars Great read
As with all Val McDermid books a fascinating plot, twists and turns all the way through, a truly great read
Published 8 months ago by Ant and Ken
5.0 out of 5 stars A fantastic gripping read!
A gripping read from the first chapter to the last. Another great Tony Hill story. Great characters and amazing plot.
Published 9 months ago by higgy
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