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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy sequel to "The Mermaid's Singing"
To categorise this as a "Police Profiler" story underestimates the sheer power of Val McDermid's prose. For a UK reader, her domestic locations add a realism missing from the American equivalents.
This is not, however, a cosy English mystery along the lines of Agatha Christie or even Colin Dexter. It is a modern commentary on our willingness to be...
Published on 24 Jun 2000 by Mr. D. J. Carr

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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, but is it healthy?
This is a well-paced novel, which keeps you turning the pages and maintains the gruesome fascination you would expect in the sequel to "The Mermaids Singing". My problem with the book is that it really does pick up where "The Mermaids Singing" left off, with detailed descriptions of torture and people inflicting pain. These are common features of modern crime fiction,...
Published on 16 Jan 2002


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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A worthy sequel to "The Mermaid's Singing", 24 Jun 2000
By 
Mr. D. J. Carr "David Carr" (London, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Wire in the Blood (Paperback)
To categorise this as a "Police Profiler" story underestimates the sheer power of Val McDermid's prose. For a UK reader, her domestic locations add a realism missing from the American equivalents.
This is not, however, a cosy English mystery along the lines of Agatha Christie or even Colin Dexter. It is a modern commentary on our willingness to be sucked in by the artificial goodness of media heroes and how we prefer to ignore people of greater intellect than our own on the basis that their insights are somehow suspect.
This is the second of McDermid's longer mature works and proves that the expert command of detail and timing shown in the first was no fluke. Definitely worth full marks.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chillingly brilliant. An edge of your seat thriller., 18 Mar 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: The Wire in the Blood (Paperback)
Dr. Tony Hill has finally put together a team of young, keen profilers. His National Profiling Task Force's first commission is to discover why certain teenagers have gone missing. Though their assignment is supposedly an exercise only, excitement builds within the group when clever, attractive Shaz Bowman comes up with the theory that the crimes have all been committed by famous t.v. personality, Jacko Vance. Vance, the villain of the novel, is plausibly drawn as an important media star who was once a top athlete who lost the use of his arm in a heroic rescue of a lorry driver whose vehicle had been involved in a multiple pile up on a foggy motorway. Vance is a likely serial killer having had a poor childhood, been rebuffed by his fiancee after the accident, and above all being a total control freak. As we learn not only why Vance commits the murders but how in The Mermaid's Singing type of gruesome graphic detail, we are drawn into a world of horror and violence. The fact that we learn early on the identity of the villain moves this novel out of the realm of the whodunit into that of the whydunit and howdunit. McDermid is clearly fascinated by the psychology of her characters and not interested in giving her readers an old-fashioned puzzle to solve. After the mutilation of a member of his group, Hill again teams up with Inspector Carol Jordan who is working in CID in East Yorkshire, encountering all the typical male prejudice of the blunt Yorkshiremen. While Carol helps Tony, she also works to find out who is setting fires in her town, using her own knowledge of a serial offender's signature. The two themes of the efficacy of justice and police efficiency, which are apparent in McDermid's other novels, are also much in evidence in this latest series. Throughout The Wire in the Blood the police are shown as inefficient, blinkered and unwilling to listen to Hill's greater knowledge. The ending of the novel is a fascinating twist, making us question the justice system and our own safety.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars OUTSTANDING, 4 Nov 2006
By 
OEJ - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Wire in the Blood (Paperback)
Val McDermid is one of the very best thriller writers of our time, and although I have only recently finished reading this 1997 novel, it must rank as representative of VM at the peak of her abilities. Wire in the Blood is really hard to fault, and it's one of the very few books that I have read that isn't something to do just to pass the time - no, it's worthy of top choice on any list of means of entertainment. Cancel all appointments and read this first, it's amazing value!

Val is confident enough to name the killer on the first page yet develop and sustain tension for the reader until the very last one. Furthermore she has the ability to create and develop several characters that the reader can truly believe in, and build up a sense of strong like or dislike for more than one. The bad guy is one Jacko Vance, our feelings of hatred for him perhaps cleverly manipulated by the author by way of his iconic status as an adored public hero within the context of the story. The question is how will he be stopped? Fortunately his adversaries are the Hill-Jordan team, which might sound a little Formula One for anybody new to this series but in fact Home Office profiler/psychologist Dr Tony Hill and DCI Carol Jordan are in every sense a well-matched pairing, each with their own wardrobe skeletons and worthy of keen reader attention be they working alone or together. It's perhaps worth mentioning that Tony Hill is possibly the only male character in this story who comes out with any sense of respect or integrity, outnumbered as he is by several shining female roles. Even then, his potential status as Leading Man is undermined by his apparent impotence and subsequent inability to consummate the relationship that exists between he and Carol Jordan, who we assume has no such incapacities. There are more than a few lesbian references or characters which does call to question the accordant leanings of the writer, which I occasionally found distracting, but that's nitpicking in truth - this is a taut, well-paced thriller that makes for a great introduction to anyone new to Val McDermid.

I own all four of the Hill-Jordan novels but unfortunately I have read them in the wrong chronological order...just my luck to begin with the most recent (The Torment of Others), with its references to events in Berlin that I was yet to discover in the third in the series (The Last Temptation). That's what I'm reading right now immediately after finishing Wire in the Blood, and it's every bit as good as the others. Val McDermid is without doubt one of my favourite writers of crime thrillers and I recommend her work unreservedly.

:UPDATE:

Val McDermid has stated that Vance, a TV celebrity with a secret lust for torture, murder and under-age girls who featured in The Wire in the Blood and in two later books, is based on her direct personal experience of interviewing Jimmy Savile
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Even if you've watched the TV series this is worth a read, 21 Mar 2008
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Wire in the Blood (Paperback)
This is the second of Val McDermid's Tony Hill novels. Hill has been asked to head up a Profiling Task Force, where young and talented officers will be taught profiling skills under his watchful eye. A routine classroom exercise results in one of the officers being murdered and Hill reunites with his friend and past partner, Carol Jordan.

I had watched the TV series before I came to this book and was a little hesitant, knowing that I already knew who the murderer was. However, I would still say that this book deserves a read. It is very well paced, the characters are interesting and rather than revealing the murderer at the end, we witness them carry out their crimes learning more about their motivations. The plot turns are also slightly different to those of the TV show, which kept it interesting for me!

Very enjoyable and well written. Recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding, 28 Jan 2006
By 
OEJ - See all my reviews
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Val McDermid is one of the very best thriller writers of our time, and although I have only just finished reading this 1997 novel, it must rank as representative of VM at the peak of her abilities. Wire in the Blood is really hard to fault, and it’s one of the very few books that I have read that isn’t something to do just to pass the time - no, it’s worthy of top choice on any list of means of entertainment. Cancel all appointments and read this first, it’s amazing value!
Val is confident enough to name the killer on the first page yet develop and sustain tension for the reader until the very last one. Furthermore she has the ability to create and develop several characters that the reader can truly believe in, and build up a sense of strong like or dislike for more than one. The bad guy is one Jacko Vance, our feelings of hatred for him perhaps cleverly manipulated by the author by way of his iconic status as an adored public hero within the context of the story. The question is how will he be stopped? Fortunately his adversaries are the Hill-Jordan team, which might sound a little Formula One for anybody new to this series but in fact Home Office profiler/psychologist Dr Tony Hill and DCI Carol Jordan are in every sense a well-matched pairing, each with their own wardrobe skeletons and worthy of keen reader attention be they working alone or together. It’s perhaps worth mentioning that Tony Hill is possibly the only male character in this story who comes out with any sense of respect or integrity, outnumbered as he is by several shining female roles. Even then, his potential status as Leading Man is undermined by his apparent impotence and subsequent inability to consummate the relationship that exists between he and Carol Jordan, who we assume has no such incapacities. There are more than a few lesbian references or characters which does call to question the accordant leanings of the writer, which I occasionally found distracting, but that’s nitpicking in truth – this is a taut, well-paced thriller that makes for a great introduction to anyone new to Val McDermid.
I own all four of the Hill-Jordan novels but unfortunately I have read them in the wrong chronological order….just my luck to begin with the most recent (The Torment of Others), with its references to events in Berlin that I was yet to discover in the third in the series (The Last Temptation). That’s what I’m reading right now immediately after finishing Wire in the Blood, and it’s every bit as good as the others. Val McDermid is without doubt one of my favourite writers of crime thrillers and I recommend her work unreservedly.
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22 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A great book that's impossible to put down., 12 Jun 2001
By 
This review is from: The Wire in the Blood (Paperback)
After reading The Mermaids Singing by the same author I was extremely hesitant about this one, the second in the series and hopefully not the last, could she do it again? The answer is an emphatic YES, another brilliant piece of fiction! The style of this book, which involves the same characters (Tony Hill and Carol Jordan) as the last one, is completely different in that the killer is unusually revealed before the story begins. Even so the tension Val McDermid creates as the team close in on their man is incredible. The refusal of the Police to believe that someone as famous and 'nice' as Jacko Vance could be involved in murder, despite the building evidence, is as frustrating for the reader as for Tony Hill. Will they save the latest victim despite having to work without the help of the Police?
While I still think that The Mermaids Singing has the edge this is another great book.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gripping, Gruesome, Frightening, Unforgettable, 6 Jan 2000
By 
Craig Larson (Maple Grove, MN USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Wire in the Blood (Paperback)
_The Wire in the Blood_ is, quite plainly and simply, an excellent book. It kept me reading late into the early hours for a few nights during the recent Christmas holiday. This is the second book to feature criminal profiler Tony Hill and policewoman Carol Jordan, who were introduced to us in _The Mermaids Singing_.
Though we know who the killer is from the very start of the novel, McDermid keeps us in suspense throughout the book as it grows increasingly apparent that he's been very careful about covering his tracks. Indeed, by the end, it's still rather doubtful that a case can be made against the clever, manipulative, and well-known celebrity serial killer, Jacko Vance.
This was a very fast-moving, gripping page-turner of a novel. As I read, I kept imagining how it might look as a teleplay. It would make an excellent television miniseries, along the lines of _Prime Suspect_ or _Touching Evil_. Very strongly recommended.
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24 of 29 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating, but is it healthy?, 16 Jan 2002
By A Customer
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This review is from: The Wire in the Blood (Paperback)
This is a well-paced novel, which keeps you turning the pages and maintains the gruesome fascination you would expect in the sequel to "The Mermaids Singing". My problem with the book is that it really does pick up where "The Mermaids Singing" left off, with detailed descriptions of torture and people inflicting pain. These are common features of modern crime fiction, but whereas in Cornwell the descriptions of cruelty seem to serve the unfolding of the plot, here I feel that most of the time they are gratuitous additions. One is left with the feeling that we are being given detailed descriptions of somebody inflicting pain just to maintain interest. This is unfortunate, because McDermid does not need to stoop to this kind of thing, she can write excellent crime fiction without cruel props. In my opinion the book is close to the borderline between good fiction and sick fiction, and probably just the wrong side of it.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The Wire in the Blood, 13 Nov 2004
By 
Rich Milligan (Thatcham, Berkshire) - See all my reviews
Following on from The Mermaids Singing, this is the gruesome next chapter in the life and work of Tony Hill the Home Office criminal profiler and DCI Carol Jordan.
The book is written in a totally different way to The Mermaids Singing insomuch as the reader knows from page one who the murderer is and it more a case of the authorities having to gather together enough evidence to charge their main suspect rather than a traditional whodunit.
Like the first book, this novel is quite heavy on the description violence and I got the feeling at times that the author was simply trying to "up the stakes" on either her previous books or those of her contemporaries. Whilst I'm not squeamish I really do question whether so much detail is necessary.
The other slight gripes I have with the books are that McDermid does tend to rely on stereotypes in order to progress the storyline. In the first book we had pages of Carol Jordan's fight again sexism in the Police and therefore it was no surprise to find the Police in Yorkshire being described as both slow on the uptake and chauvinistic. Whilst I have no doubt these were facts of life in the Police surely for a book written in 1997 we don't have to have dialogue from policemen which goes something like "Aye now then lass, you leave it up to us professionals". Mind you it seems with every McDermid book I read the male characters become more and more inept and dim-witted, whilst the female leads become more and more attractive, intelligent and sophisticated.
The plus points for the book are that it is fast moving and never dull and the story composition makes it a compulsive read. The story also ends on a tasty note, just waiting for the sequel to be written.
All in all, this is a good solid thriller and well worth reading but it is by far not the best book I have read this year and whilst I will no doubt return to McDermid's other works sooner or later, there are other authors I would pick off the shelf before her offerings.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome..., 30 Mar 2013
Impossible to put down. Watching the cat and mouse game from both sides is surprisingly compelling and truly satisfying to follow.
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The Wire in the Blood
The Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid (Paperback - 4 Mar 2010)
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