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74 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding crime fiction
I haven't read a Val McDermid book before but was most impressed by this. While there is clearly a cast of characters here that have been built up through a series of other adventures, this doesn't prevent the reader from soon picking up the personalities and the relationships lying between them.

At first sight, there's nothing unusual about the cold cases...
Published on 6 Sept. 2009 by Keris Nine

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Extremely disappointing
So far, McDermid has always known when it was time to ditch a recurring character (Brannigan, Gordon) before a series started to deteriorate. However, with the Jordan/Hill team, that time was several books ago. Now Tony has been hanging around for so long that endless amateur psychologizing seeps into every minor character, bad cliche follows worse cliche and the whole...
Published on 27 Mar. 2010 by M. Schmid


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74 of 75 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding crime fiction, 6 Sept. 2009
By 
Keris Nine - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I haven't read a Val McDermid book before but was most impressed by this. While there is clearly a cast of characters here that have been built up through a series of other adventures, this doesn't prevent the reader from soon picking up the personalities and the relationships lying between them.

At first sight, there's nothing unusual about the cold cases being investigated by DCI Carol Jordan and her elite investigation unit - only difficulties and impediments put in her way be a new Chief Constable who wants to shake things up a bit in the Bradfield police force. Soon however their talents are called upon in the case of a serial killer case who after much preparation and grooming of young teenagers on an Internet Social Networking site, has just started to draw his victims in and execute them, his motives a complete mystery. With profiler Tony Hill out-of-bounds under the new regime and having some personal issues of his own to deal with, Carol Jordan and her team need to be a bit more creative than usual.

The serial killer element may not initially appear to be particularly original, nor the manner in which the police procedural elements of the investigation are clearly laid out, but McDermid's writing makes this compelling reading, taking the time to lay-out the personalities of the victims, their parents and their lives, and making the damage done so much more intense than that of anonymous discovered mutilated bodies. The police procedural aspects are brilliantly drawn, showing the political pressures as well as the barriers in place that prevent effective cooperation between police forces of different regions (the author in the process nailing regional characteristics well). All this just adds to the intensity of the drama.

Added to all that, you have the personal lives of the police officers, investigators and profilers, which is not a colourful add-on, but can be clearly seen to have an impact on how they think and operate - even minor and secondary characters are well-observed and similarly well-drawn, and there are a few bombshells dropped here and there. This wide cast of characters and what turns out to be a different serial killer angle are all brought together by McDermid with apparent effortless ease. The investigators may be frustratingly slower than the reader to make the connections and work out the identity of the killer, but that only adds to the tension in a terrific crime novel that captures the complexity of the criminal act as much as the political and personal issues that have to be just as carefully navigated.
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39 of 42 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The Hill-Jordan Formula:One to savour, 20 Sept. 2009
By 
O E J - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
Fourteen years after the first, this is the sixth in the highly successful series fronted by clinical psychologist and criminal profiler Dr Tony Hill alongside his friend DCI Carol Jordan, and accordingly it is the sixth to take its title from an extract of a T.S. Eliot poem, thereby having little more than an ambiguous relevance to the story itself. In summary, a serial killer in the fictitious Yorkshire city of Bradfield is being pursued, one who targets teenagers after grooming them on-line. Broadly speaking it is a tale that sticks fairly rigidly to procedural police teamwork but by-passes the traditional forensic elements, so as usual there is a minimum of slicing and dicing in the morgue a la Gerritsen, Reichs or Cornwell moulds. Instead the development of the characters in Carol Jordan's hand-picked team of detectives plays a key role, together with their long-term consultant and trusted colleague Dr Hill.

As a story and plot, Fever of the Bone feels like a combination of a throwback to proven methods from earlier and successful Hill-Jordan novels combined with some conspicuous details that suggest that the author has made a conscious attempt to rejuvenate the brand with some teen-prose and text-speak that should make the finished product feel more up-to-date. Anyone new to McDermid won't notice this of course, but for the many fans with bulging McDermid bookcases who will be loyally buying this latest offering, a 'whatever' here and an 'innit' there might seem just slightly out of kilter to what has gone before, and while teenagers do use such vocabulary of course, the author herself seems to have wandered - knowingly and deliberately - into a territory that has the potential to draw ridicule from those that are familiar with her previous twenty-two novels. It is, however, a return to safe ground after the previous novel which was perhaps too ambitious in capitalising on the threat of terrorist bombs (in Yorkshire!) and dabbling in the world of professional football. In the latest novel there are also some real-life events that, unusually for Val McDermid, serve to 'time-stamp' the tale, by such mentionings of a recession, the property price slump, Facebook and one or two other things that in years to come will make this stand out as a story set in 2007/08 or very close to it. It's nitpicking, to be fair, but noticeable nonetheless. Overall the prose is excellent and as intelligent as one would expect from one of Britain's front-runners in crime fiction, after more than two decades of writing.

Tony Hill and Carol Jordan take centre stage as fans would hope, although they are separated for a considerable period, partly because Tony is researching the father he never knew. Tony and Carol's relationship has almost certainly been the cornerstone of this series' popularity, but it has to be said that something needs to change after fourteen years of will-they-won't-they. But there are several other characters who feature prominently, not least long-term ally DC Paula McIntyre, whose timid foray into a lesbian relationship is authentic and relevant, and the very ambitious DC Sam Evans, who treads a fine line between team player and maverick but whose character, like Paula's, is interestingly and carefully developed in this latest instalment. Somewhat more peripheral to this quartet but still worthy of the reader's attention include ICT specialist Stacey Chen, a couple of senior officers from a West Mercia police force and an egocentric new Chief Constable (replacing the now retired John Brandon) who attempts to exert his influence on Carol's highly-rated MIT by threatening disbandment due to budget pressures from above. There's also a small part for Fiona Cameron, who fans will remember as leading character in Killing the Shadows.

It's hard to deny that this is a carefully woven story with appealing characters, professionally written by a woman who has managed to stay at the top of her game for an unusually long time. Well - almost. I still regard The Mermaids Singing as the best of this sextet; it held more thrills, more suspense and more mysteries to unravel than this one. So when compared with McDermid's best novels - not least her masterpiece A Place of Execution (a standalone) - Fever of the Bone is unlikely to be regarded as the best this author has produced, but when compared to what's out there in the crime fiction marketplace in 2009 it stands up very well indeed. Anyone reading this and liking it can be assured that there are treasures to be found in Val's back-catalogue, and quite a few at that. A very good novel, then, despite its slightly clipped conclusion, and one that any crime fiction aficionado can buy with confidence. It is unlikely to disappoint.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She just keeps getting better, 1 Oct. 2009
By 
Markus Ronald "Ronnie" (Israel) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
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Since previous reviews go in to so much detail, i will be brief and to the point.
Having read everything that Val Mcdermid has written i am surprised by only one thing.The author just gets better and better. Quite amazing as she has written twenty-six books to date.

This book is a page turner. Superbly written and even though we are familiar with the characters we just want to get more and more of them. Val brings in a new profiler as the big wigs want to cut down on expenses. A complete waste of time. Tony is is the best so let's stick with him !

So in conclusion, if this is your first foray into Val's books you won't be disappointed. If,like me you are just a loyal fan, then i say that Fever of the Bone is up there with the best of her novels.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A welcome return to form, 16 Jan. 2010
By 
Sarah A. Brown (Cambridge) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
I thought Val McDermid's last Hill/Jordan book, `Beneath the Bleeding', was comparatively disappointing. One Amazon reviewer noted that it seemed to have been written on autopilot and I think that was a fair observation - it was an entertaining read but completely lacked the dark, brooding intensity of the first novels in the series. `Fever of the Bone' represents a welcome return to form. The atmosphere isn't as murky and tortuous as the earlier Tony Hill books perhaps but it's certainly an unusually rich, thoughtful and absorbing detective story. It doesn't have the power of `The Mermaids Singing' but it's really well paced and plotted and the characters are deftly drawn. Although the murders are gruesome and upsetting it's a bit less nasty than some of the earlier novels - it's in some ways a more straightforward police procedural than these, closer to, say, Stephen Booth or Peter Robinson in tone. Setting aside the fact that four teenagers are brutally murdered, there's actually some warmth and humour in `Fever of the Bone' - McDermid is being a bit kinder to her regular characters than she sometimes has been in the past.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very good addition to the series, 11 Oct. 2009
By 
Phil Robertshaw (North Somerset) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Forget the Wire in the Blood TV series, which has been taken over by other writers using Val McDermid's characters and even a new detective who has nothing to do with the author. The Carol Jordan/Tony Hill novels have been McDermid's central series for a number of years, and Fever of the Bone is another worthy title in it.

Carol Jordan's new boss is looking to trim budgets - which means cutting Tony out of the action and using one of the up-and-coming profilers trained within the police force. Of course, it's evident that nothing is going to keep Tony down for long. Called upon by another force, coincidentally in the home town of his late father, Tony sets off to investigate another killer and combine his work with a look into his own past. Inevitably the investigation he is drawn into soon becomes connected to Carol Jordan's own hunt, and the two work together once more.

McDermid's characters have undergone subtle but significant developments throughout the series and it's sometimes the peripheral players who have the most interesting storylines. In particular, Sam Evans and Paula Macintyre have their own pieces of the limelight, while computer expert Stacey Chen, something of an enigma, is starting to warrant attention as a developing personality. These characters are welcomingly familiar to seasoned readers of this series now, but this is still not a bad starting point for anyone who wants to try McDermid for the first time.

While Fever of the Bone perhaps doesn't quite live up to the first two or three titles in the series in terms of blistering excitement and pure evil, it's still a gripping read and McDermid fans are unlikely to be disappointed. How much mileage the series has in terms of original storylines remains to be seen, but with the continuing developments in the lives of these characters, along with ambiguous hints of future possibilities, there should hopefully be a lot more to come. This is another very good crime novel and is not to be missed.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars a great installment in the series, 25 Jan. 2010
This is book six in the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series, and it's a good one! I gave it to my BIL for xmas (as well as to myself!) and he said the other day that he was reading it and it was very good, so when I came home on Thursday I had to start reading it to see for myself lol. I finished it on Saturday night after spending most of the day reading it and I really enjoyed it in the way that you do when you spending time with familiar characters and settings. The plot was good although I will say that I did start to work out parts of the "why" and the connections a few hundred pages before the (expert)characters did, and there is one part that doesn't ring true which I think might be a little sloppy on the part of the author, but overall it was great and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I don't want to give anything of the plot away, I'll that for other reviewers who feel the need. The best books of this series so far are still the first two in the series The Wire in the Bloodand The Mermaids Singingbut this is a pretty enjoyable addition to the series and definitely moves the overall story forward.

I will mention that it says inside the jacket flap that this is the ideal place to start for new readers (or words to that effect) but I strongly recommend against starting this series at book six! Start at the beginning and work your way up to this latest installment, for the best reading experience.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fever of the Bone, 13 Dec. 2009
By 
Ted Feit (Long Beach, NY USA) - See all my reviews
Val McDermid's latest Carol Jordan/Tony Hill novel more than lives up to the expectations raised by the previous books in the series. DCI Carol Jordan now heads up her own elite Major Incident Team, handling current as well as cold cases, but the status quo is threatened by the new chief constable, as is the team's consulting arrangement with Dr. Tony Hill, clinical psychologist and criminal profiler extraordinaire. The tale covers a series of horrendous murder/mutilations of young, seemingly unconnected victims, and an old case into which new life [so to speak] has been infused. Newly available lines of investigation, of course, in both forensics and information technology, play a large role. In the current case, not the least of the questions is, what possible motivation could there be in the killing and mutilation of 14-year-olds?

There are few straight lines in the narrative, with scenes alternating from one aspect of the story line to another, but somehow that works to only increase the suspense quotient. The portraits of Carol's team members are well-drawn, with each having a distinct personality and set of talents. I found it fascinating to get inside the head of Tony Hill, a man who is troubled by his own psyche, but whose expertise lies in his ability to get inside of the head of the person whose identity he is hunting. The intimate [albeit chaste] relationship of Jordan and Hill is, as always, a thing of beauty and wholly satisfying to the reader [if not always to the participants]. The novel is tightly plotted, the writing containing some small gems, e.g., "offer[ing] up information . . . in the spirit of a dog dropping a soggy newspaper at the feet of its human," and "his phone greeting sounded astonished and wary, as if he was taken aback by a ringing piece of plastic that spoke when you lifted it." Ms. McDermid manages to find just the right turn of phrase to perfectly capture a mood, or an emotion, often bringing a smile or a nod in the process. Parenthetically, I found intriguing that the number 14 runs through the book in several contexts. Refreshingly, the cases are ultimately solved through no sudden [read 'unrealistic'] flashes of brilliance, but by painstaking police work, "old-fashioned coopering," in the author's words. The book is highly recommended.

[The title, in case you were wondering, derives from a T.S. Elliot poem.]
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just keeps getting better and better, 11 Jan. 2010
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I have read most of Val McDermid's books but this has to be one of the best. It is not just the fact that she is such a cracking good read, but her research is second to none and she is right up there with the best when it comes to her contemporary phraseology which just made me laugh out loud so many times because of its cleverness. I don't often read books twice, and certainly not until I have long forgotten them but I am starting it again already - just fab!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars McDermid at her best, 14 Feb. 2010
By 
Wendy Jones "wjones7423" (Dundee, Scotland) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
Having read most of Val McDermids books I can honestly say that this is up there with the best. The basic premise of the story is that children are going missing and being killed having been groomed through a social networking site. Carol Jordan and Tony Hill are again at the centre of the story, but in some ways Tony has been sidelined by Carols new boss who thinks the profiler costs too much money. However, he still manages to stay central to the investigation, and I cannot say too much more than this without giving away the plot. The story flows together seamlessly and the seemingly disparate threads to the plot are pulled together effortlessly, to develop a roller coaster of a book. I would defy anyone to guess how it pulled together and whodunnit. I was kept guessing up until the last page. I cannot recommend this book highly enough and would encourage all those who like a good murder mystery to read it immediately.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another good Jordan/Hill thriller., 30 April 2010
By 
J.Flood (Dublin,Ireland) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Fever Of The Bone: 6 (Tony Hill) (Paperback)
After a slight dip in form in her previous Jordan/Hill novel, Beneath The Bleeding, I was wondering what Fever Of The Bone would be like. In this novel, Carol and Tony are on the trail of a killer who is luring teenagers to their deaths, by gaining their confidence on a social networking website.

I found it a very enjoyable thriller, as good as any in this series, in fact. As always, the characters of Carol Jordan and Tony Hill are engaging and believeable, helped by a good storyline, that kept me interested, throughout. Tony's manipulative mother was introduced in the previous novel, and we see more of her in this story too. We also learn more about Tony's estranged father. If you enjoy faced paced thrillers, with good characters, you should like this one.
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Fever Of The Bone: 6 (Tony Hill)
Fever Of The Bone: 6 (Tony Hill) by Val McDermid (Paperback - 18 Feb. 2010)
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