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The Torment of Others Paperback – 4 Mar 2010


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Product details

  • Paperback: 576 pages
  • Publisher: Harper; (Reissue) edition (4 Mar. 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007344759
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007344758
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 3 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (96 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 49,172 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 --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

‘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

4.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

36 of 38 people found the following review helpful By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER on 23 Jun. 2004
Format: Hardcover
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 20 people found the following review helpful By O E J TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephanie De Pue TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 9 Dec. 2009
Format: Paperback
"The Torment of Others" is the fourth in the electrifying "Wire in the Blood," Dr. Tony Hill/Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan series by Val McDermid, a quickly-emerging writer. Like her others, it's set in Bradfield, a fictional northern English city much like Manchester, where McDermid, after graduation from Oxford, worked as a journalist for 16 experience-enriching years. McDermid's "Wire in the Blood" series has, of course, become the basis for the 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.

The author was born and raised in a Scottish mining town, and though this series is set in England's north country, she writes the toughest tartan noir going: sharp-humored and bloody-minded. In 1995, she won the Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel of the year. Her novel A Place of Execution won a "Los Angeles Times" book prize, was nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel, and was named a "New York Times" Notable Book of the Year. It has recently been made into a TV series of the same name, Place of Execution [DVD] [2008]. Mind you, McDermid frequently makes use of oft-seen plot devices. Yet she seems to break new ground with each book, always at the margins of society, where most of us have not been.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By G. Keogh on 21 Jun. 2013
Format: Paperback
I had tried a Val McDermid book before (Vanishing Point) and was unable to get beyond the first few chapters as it was just so unbelievable. I'm glad I gave this one a chance as I finished the whole thing and enjoyed it, but it wasn't without flaws. I'm sick to death of every crime novel ending in a dangerous confrontation between a lone officer and an armed and dangerous killer. It's just not realistic and I roll my eyes every time it happens. This one came complete with the other typical crime novel cliches - an officer in the middle of a divorce and one getting over personal issues with too much alcohol. Predictable and annoying. One irritant it did avoid, thankfully, was the officers referring to each other by their surnames.

The killer was completely unbelievable and I felt a bit cheated after sticking with the book for so long, to have such a stupid reveal at the end. Also unbelievable was the behavior of the other characters, such as Carol deciding everyone should go to bed instead of looking for a fellow officer that was in the clutches of a murderer thanks to them.

What saved this was the characters, who were interesting and mostly sympathetic. I liked the dynamics between Carol's new team. I wish Stacey had got some more "air time" as I found her intriguing, but she was a very minor character. I liked the relationship between Carol and Tony and I could appreciate it without having read any previous novels featuring them.
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