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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Above the Average
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...
Published on 12 Aug 2007 by OEJ

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Murder by numbers that doesn't add up
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...
Published on 26 July 2008 by unlikely_heroine


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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Above the Average, 12 Aug 2007
By 
OEJ - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beneath the Bleeding (Hardcover)
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.

The modus operandi of the serial killer is compared to a hypothetical character in an Agatha Christie novel, something of a cop-out in my opinion, so as to confess to such an analogy before the reader can make such an accusation. But the thoughts, emotions and objectives of the bomber are by comparison absolutely contemporary, relevant and described with chilling effect. It is almost uncomfortable to read at times as it feels like a peep into the mind-set of individuals responsible for suicide bombings (successful or otherwise) which is of course very much a happening-right-now issue in the world we live in.

Beneath the Bleeding is described on the back cover as `The new Tony Hill thriller' but I consider that almost unfair, as in this, just as in the previous four in the series, Carol Jordan plays an equally important and leading role. At the end we are hardly any the wiser as to the status of their personal relationship, one which was rather strangely tested to the limit in this latest outing. I felt that Carol's animosity towards Tony for the majority of this story, in response to his efforts to solve the two murder hunts, lacked any real foundation. Carol and her team, despite their best efforts, continually made no progress at all while Tony was putting forward suggestions that Carol should have taken more seriously, based on their long-running professional respect for one another.

Hand on heart this is not quite up to the brilliant standard of THE MERMAIDS SINGING (the first in the Tony - Carol series, published in 1995) but no fan of Val's will be disappointed, she continues to demonstrate a highly professional approach to story-telling and she will surely gain many new admirers for her writing skills, especially in the crucial area of characterisation.
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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ignore the other reviewers - Val is on top form, 3 Feb 2008
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This review is from: Beneath the Bleeding (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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20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars newest tony hill book, 30 July 2007
This review is from: Beneath the Bleeding (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
2.0 out of 5 stars Murder by numbers that doesn't add up, 26 July 2008
By 
This review is from: Beneath the Bleeding (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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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good but missing something., 5 Aug 2007
By 
M. Thornton (Swansea, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beneath the Bleeding (Hardcover)
I looked forward to reading this book having read all four previous books in the Carol/Tony series. It is an excellent top quality crime thriller yet it somehow felt that it was missing something compared to the previous books.

The story centres around an unexplained murder. Another serious crime takes place midway through the book, however the suspense is somewhat spoiled because the blurb on the cover tells you what this crime is and therefore you know it is going to happen and not be foiled. The story is paced well but is not quite as suspenseful as some of McDermid's previous books, perhaps because it doesn't have quite the same sense of immediate danger that 'The Last Temptation' and 'The Torment Of Others' had.

Throughout most of the book Tony is in hospital following an assualt at work. It was interesting to see how Tony coped with this but I was expecting something more to come out of the events at the very beginning of the book and the storyline featuring Tony's mother. As it stands it felt like the very first part of the book was simply a plot device to get Tony into hospital since there is very little reflection/repercussions from this event.

Carol's team from 'The Torment of Others' are back and it's great to see their characters being developed and the occasional reference to events from previous books. Carol has a slightly worrying habit which I thought would come to be important but again nothing happened about it.

Overall it was a good book with a satisfying ending. With any other author I would have given it five stars, however it's just not quite on a par with McDermid's superb earlier novels.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beneath the Bleeding, 20 Sep 2008
By 
Ted Feit (Long Beach, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Beneath the Bleeding (Paperback)
When one reads a Val McDermid novel, the expectation is that it will involve a serial killer. This book is no exception, although the author intertwines a couple of twists. To begin with, her protagonists--Dr. Tony Hill, psychologist and profiler, and DCI Carol Jordan--are continually at odds in attempting to solve their personal problems, as well as the crimes they are involved with. Tony's insights seem far out to Carol, which she sometimes attributes to the fact that he's in the hospital with a smashed knee, courtesy of a patient in that hospital, where he practices.

Be that as it may, the challenge, at first, is to solve the poisoning of a popular footballer on the eve of a big game. Then during the game, an explosion under the stands kills 35 persons. Are the events related? Is the bombing a terrorist act? Carol and her team's efforts are complicated by the invasion of a specialized terrorist force which takes over with strong-arm tactics. Two more poison murders gives Tony and Carol a few leads, and Tony continues to have free-thinking thoughts about all the crimes.

The intricate lot is surpassed only by the smoothness of the writing. Tony and Carol are two marvelous creations, and they continue to enchant this reader. The book works on several levels--as a mystery, in delving into the relationships and personalities of the characters, and the contemporary nature of the "terrorist explosion," which was set off by a Muslim male.

Great reading, and highly recommended.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing, 12 Nov 2007
This review is from: Beneath the Bleeding (Hardcover)
I was looking forward to this book and eagerly dropped another half way through when this arrived.

Unfortunatley it differs from previous Tony/Carol books. There's no real plot as such and we don't get an interesting killer or insights into their psyche. With Tony being sidelined he gets little to do but be perfect and right in every point he makes. The killings - such as they are - aren't particularly note worthy and both plot strands are wrapped up almost as an afterthought in the last few pages.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars What a beginning, 8 July 2004
If you're interested in beginning to read the works of Val McDermid, this is not a book I'd recommend you start with. This may sound somewhat strange advice, after all, where better to start than the beginning? However, it must be said that McDermid's later works are generally considered to be of a higher calibre than her earlier publications.
This aside, the Lindsay Gordon novels are still a gripping read. The writing isn't so mature, but the story lines are gripping enough for it to be passed over. As the first of the series, this book introduces Lindsay as a character and gives a brief background that is not fully built on until the fourth novel, Union Jack. From the off, it's obvious that Lindsay isn't your average protagonist. Anyone who describes herself as a 'cynical socialist lesbian feminist journalist' has got to break the mould just a touch.
The book works very much to the formula of an Agatha Christie novel, with Lindsay and her new lover Cordelia running around gathering alibis, establishing motives, and narrowing down the list of suspects. The plot takes a number of twists and should leave you guessing until the last chapter as to the real culprit.
Alongside the murder investigation, emphasis is also put on Lindsay's developing relationship with Cordelia, which makes for an interesting sub-plot. Some of the dialogue is somewhat wooden, and McDermid never lets you forget where Lindsay's political and social ideals lie. Nevertheless, the characters are engaging and have a knack of making you care for them and their lives.
Overall, if you're looking to discover what all the recent rave reviews about McDermid are about, this isn't the book for you. But if you're interesting in an entertaining and enjoyable read from a strongly feminist slant, then this may well be the book for you.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars topical and interesting but a little below par, 12 May 2008
By 
Fiona Smith "smithy" (uk) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Beneath the Bleeding (Paperback)
As usual pacy and well written by McDermid. The development of Tony's character has been a long time coming and adds substance to the novels. It also moves them away from being books of TV programme, as most viewers think TV programme came first!!

The footballer theme was well developed, interesting and gripping . It also gave ithoughtful insight into that elitist lifestyle for a non football fan.

However the "terrorist" angle didn't really work in parts, with the exception of the effect on bombers family and how community was affected by the carnage glossed over.

The hospital scenes were not terribly accurate but could be ignored as content added to plotting. Also felt finale a little tenuous involving the "bombers" identity and motives.

Mind you, was a great read despite these faults, I eagarly await next Tony Hill novel, and hopefully with a return to form
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Dreadful - the worst book I've read in a long time, 20 Dec 2010
By 
Mr. Ross Maynard (Glasgow, Scotland) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Report for Murder (Paperback)
Val McDermid was recommended to me as a fine crime writer and I chose this title at random - not realising it was her early teenage ramblings. How did this get published ? Clunky laborious prose; a tedious, totally uninteresting plot; and embarrassingly bad dialogue. It's a real chore to read. Near the end a surprise event had me hoping that, at least, we might get a dramatic twist. I even thought I had guessed the culprit !. Wrong. In an awful, formulaic ending, we find it was the suspect-so-obvious-you-thought-it-was-a-red-herring that did it after all. Please don't criticise me for spoiling: if you'd waded through this dreadful prose in the hope of a twist at the end and been disappointed, you wouldn't care either. I may give Ms McDermid another go for the sake of fairness, but this book is one to avoid at all costs.
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Beneath the Bleeding
Beneath the Bleeding by Val McDermid (Paperback - 3 Mar 2008)
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