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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just Revenge
Retribution-1. Something justly deserved; recompense.
2. Something given or demanded in repayment, especially punishment.

Jacko Vance, a serial killer of seventeen teenage girls, and a police officer, has escaped from prison where he was sentenced to life. He was once a British Television Presenter and an almost Olympian athlete. He may be the most...
Published on 29 Oct. 2011 by prisrob

versus
11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars High promises, mediocre outcome
Hill-Jordan #7, or in a way Wire in the Blood: The Sequel. The original The Wire in the Blood, back in 1997, was top-notch in its time but this latest one is rather ordinary compared to what's out there these days.

There are two stories going on here. The main one revolves around the prison escape of life-termer Jacko Vance and his immediate lust for...
Published on 20 Sept. 2011 by OEJ


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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars High promises, mediocre outcome, 20 Sept. 2011
By 
OEJ - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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Hill-Jordan #7, or in a way Wire in the Blood: The Sequel. The original The Wire in the Blood, back in 1997, was top-notch in its time but this latest one is rather ordinary compared to what's out there these days.

There are two stories going on here. The main one revolves around the prison escape of life-termer Jacko Vance and his immediate lust for retribution against those who locked him up some twelve or more years ago - profiler Tony Hill and DCI Carol Jordan of course. Bookending this plot is another that could possibly have been padded out to become a fully-fledged novel on its own, involving a number of murders of prostitutes by a serial killer. There is no link between the two, other than the fact that Carol Jordan's team of detectives has to deal with both. Jacko Vance and his murderous exploits occupy the bulk of the page space, with Jordan deeply involved not only as a cop but on a shockingly personal level as well. Tony Hill has his fingers in both camps, and as is often the case gets inside the minds of both killers remarkably quickly and predicts what will happen before it actually does. Well, almost - he makes a few mistakes, but no-one's perfect, eh?

Having watched the TV series Rizzoli & Isles a few days ago, I was reminded how similar Tess Gerritsen's 'The Apprentice' is to Val McDermid's latest - a killer from a previous novel escapes from prison and returns to his killing ways, with the same leading character as before the object of his provocation. I'm disappointed that a writer as good as McDermid has to resort to digging up old characters (and doubtless playing on the success of her own TV series, The Wire in the Blood) and coming up with a story that has more than a few similarities with works by peer-group authors in years gone by. The Retribution is well written and contains good character development, but the meat and bones of it lack originality. The best thing about it is the dust-jacket for the hardback edition - I just love it. Superb colours and perfectly capturing the mood.

But as a McDermid fan I have to confess to being disappointed with the story offered here. I love tales of retribution so I had the highest of hopes before reading it, the journey and the destination were a let-down however. Not only that, but the conclusion was plain absurd, and gave the impression of being rushed. Anyone completely new to Val McDermid will probably like this more than her fans will, at least that's my take on it. For the many of us who have followed Carol Jordan and Tony Hill down the years, though, this seems a rather contrived patchwork of old ideas and commercial desperation. It's not bad, not at all, but this author is capable of so much better. She reached a peak with her standalone A Place of Execution and hasn't done anything to match it since - and that's more than ten years and ten novels ago.

Val McDermid has stated that Jacko Vance, a TV celebrity with a secret lust for torture, murder and under-age girls who featured in The Wire in the Blood as well as the novel reviewed here, is based on her direct personal experience of interviewing Jimmy Savile
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Just Revenge, 29 Oct. 2011
By 
prisrob "pris," (New England USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
Retribution-1. Something justly deserved; recompense.
2. Something given or demanded in repayment, especially punishment.

Jacko Vance, a serial killer of seventeen teenage girls, and a police officer, has escaped from prison where he was sentenced to life. He was once a British Television Presenter and an almost Olympian athlete. He may be the most diabolical and ruthless killer that Val McDermid has introduced to her many readers. Jacko was introduced in the second book by DCI Carol Jordan, leader of the MIT, or 'minorities integration team'. She is stationed in northeast England in the city of Bradfield. She also introduced us to Tony Hill, a psychological profiler, who has appeared along with DCI Jordan in the past six books, Val McDermid is one of the more inventive and exciting mystery thriller writers from the UK. Her name excites visions of her readers sitting for long periods of time, red sleepless eyes, and extended periods of tachycardia.

We begin with Jacko Vance and his years in prison planning his escape. He has assistance from the outside, millions of dollars placed in off shore accounts, and people who believe he is innocent. He also has inside help from other prisoners who will do anything for money. His plans are so efficient, timely and well thought out that I found myself fascinated and entranced with his character. He tells his story from his personna, and we get to examine his thought process. He is a charmer and is able to convince almost any woman what he wants them to believe about him. Tony Hill knows him all too well, he and DCI Jordan were the essential law enforcement officers to put him in prison. Now he has escaped and they may be at the top of his list for Retribution.

At the same time, DCI Jordan, finds her department is about to be dismantled due to budgetary effects. She and her group have solved every serial murder case and other cases brought her way, and her boss feels she is too expensive. Well, she has shown him up in every case, that may be the real problem. DCI Jordan has found a new position in a city near-by. Tony Hill has also decided to move with her. They have a very complex relationship, loving friends, impotence by Tony is mentioned, and we wonder if the sexual failure has become the real problem for them. Whatever, they work well together, and seem to solve most of the cases that come their way. As one of DCI Jordan last cases comes a serial killer who is murdering prostitutes and leaving a tattoo on their wrists. Jordan and her team are on it. Simultaneously trying to hunt down Jacko before he kills again.

Val McDermid keeps the novel moving quite adeptly between both cases. She has the ability to convey such caring of her characters that we become very fond of them. We like the entire MIT team, and we dislike the villans and the upper echelons of police who try to hinder investigations so they won't show up as fools. It is the relationship between Carol and Tony that we most care about. They are both damaged souls from their past and their work. We think they belong together, but at the same time, wonder if they are too damaged to have a true relationship with anyone.

The ending left me feeling a little 'verklempt'. I am not sure where this series is going, but we do know that much is left unresolved, which opens the door for at least one more book with DCI Carol Jordan and Tony Hill.

Highly Recommended. prisrob 10-28-11

Fever of the Bone: A Novel

The Mermaids Singing (Dr. Tony Hill and Carol Jordan Mysteries)
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Running out of steam?, 17 Oct. 2011
By 
Boof (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
I first discovered Val McDermid's Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series about 7 or 8 years ago and I have been a dedicated fan ever since. The Retribution is not only the latest in the series of seven books but it also reintroduces one of the serial killers from a much earlier book The Wire in the Blood - the evil and twisted Jacko Vance. To be honest, I could barely remember a thing about that book so it wouldn't make any difference to reading this book out of sequence if you haven't read McDermid's earlier ones yet.

Jacko Vance is clever - brillianlty clever and charming to boot. He has spent the last 16 year behind bars for the murder of a teenage girl (although he murdered many, many more but the prosecution couldn't prove it). In The Retribution, Vance escapes from jail (no spoiler - it's in the blurb) and is hell bent on payback to those who landed him in prison in the first place, including both Tony Hill and Carol Jordan. At the same time, another serial killer is on the lose in Bradfield killing prostitutes and Detective Carol Jordan's team set out to track him down.

The fact that both these stories are running in tandem with each other means that not enough time was devoted to either. The prostitute killer felt almost like an afterthought and his ultimate capture was bordering on eye-rolling. The sotry of Jacko Vance's escape and revenge would have been more than enough to keep us on the edge of our seats and, at times, I was. Waiting to see who would feed Carol Jordan's cat (it will make sense when you have read it, I promise) had my pulse racing overtime and trying to figure out who was next on his hit-list was great stuff. Jacko Vance is such a brilliantly evil character that despite his psychopathic nature, I wanted to spend more and more time in his company in the book; I had to know what he was thinking and planning on doing next and loved seeing how he doesn't see anything wrong with himself, just everyone else. However - and it's with a heavy heart that I write this, being such a fan - I felt that this book wasn't on a par with others in the series. In fact, Beneeth the Bleeding (two books earlier) was also somewhat lacking and I wonder if Tony Hill and Carol Jordan are finally running out of steam..... or maybe McDermid is?

Despite my overall enjoyment of the book, I was left with a feeling that the ending was rushed and that the prostitute killer had almost been forgotten and that Hill and Jordan were not acting completely in character. As for the end....it felt so implausable that I almost saw the character involved as a charicature of themselves, complete with moustache-twirling "mwahahahahaaa". The book also ends very abruptly, almost like the end of a chapter than the end of a book and it left me with a feeling of "now what?" rather than satisfaction.

Verdict: A really good read, just not a great one. I felt a little short-changed which is disappointing as I always look forward to the latest book in the series so much. Will I read the next? Absolutely!
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Series almost "jumps the shark", but..., 3 Nov. 2011
I first encountered Tony Hill and Carol Jordan in "The Mermaids Singing" as an abridged audiobook. The characters were quite groundbreaking for their time, in that they had very human flaws but still tried to do the right thing and bring the killer to justice. Since then I have read each installment in the series as it came out and have enjoyed them all.

"The Retribution" revisits Jacko Vance, the killer from "The Wire in the Blood"; this idea promises great things with his escape from prison and quest for revenge against the people that put him there, and the Bradfield police's efforts to catch him. The reality falls rather short and almost gives the impression that the series has run its course.

But not quite. There is much to like about "The Retribution". Ms McDermid serves up a believable cast of characters who we have come to care about over the course of the series, and the first third to half of the book is first-rate as it deals with the transition of the Bradfield team as Carol prepares to join another force as well as Vance's escape and a new, parallel serial killer investigation.

Unfortunately, after this point the story begins to get lost as Ms McDermid heaps suffering on to her characters and they begin to behave in ways that are cliched and also contrary to their nature as developed in the prior novels. The second part of the story seems to wander around uncertainly before heading for an ending that seemed rather rushed and again out of character for those involved. To give any more detail than this would spoil the story for those wishing to read it.

I did enjoy "The Retribution" but was left feeling less than satisfied. At several points in the story it seemed like this was going to be the novel where the series "jumps the shark", but the quality of Ms McDermid's writing and (supporting) characters save the day. If you are a fan of the series, then you will probably want to read it, but there are better episodes in the back catalogue. If you have not read any of the Hill/Jordan novels, do yourself a favour and start with "Mermaids". You could probably read this one in isolation, but much of the story (and the reviewers' criticisms here on Amazon) will be understood better with some background in the series.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Peaked to soon..., 1 Oct. 2011
By 
Raven (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
I'm always keen to read McDermid's Tony and Carol in torment tales, and with the added hook of the reappearance of the dastardly Jacko Vance I was anticipating a good read. However, like some of the previous reviewers I felt the story reached a point of twisted brilliance in Jacko's search for revenge but petered off from there with the ending feeling completely implausible and I mean implausible. Val was probably thinking "A-ha, they'll never see that coming" whilst rubbing her hands together in pure silent movie villain fashion and no I didn't, because it was totally improbable! However, just to balance the bad with the good, the parallel storyline of the budding serial killer allowed a nice amount of freedom for Carol's sidekicks to shine and this plotline played out quite well whilst Tony and Carol thrashed about in the throes of their further deteriorating relationship and we all lost interest.Disappointing but enough to while away a couple of hours...
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars VERY disappointing, 5 Nov. 2011
By 
Mr. Glenn R. Haley (uk) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
As a big fan of all of Mc Dermid's books I was really looking forward to this one..especially with the revival of Jacko Vance..but what a disappointment it was..crass plots like the acid in the cat food, Arson with horses, an extremely shallow and "also ran" sub plot and a ridiculously compacted and accelerated storyline in order to finish the book just made for a very boring and predictable read.

It left me wondering just what it was that was missing, that previous reads of hers so succeeded in providing.....My conclusion provided for lots of misgivings.....first.... that she is trying to compress the story into an already made for TV programme piggybacking on her already successful TV career
second.... Tony Hill's character has completely changed from the complexly flawed character he was in Wire in the Blood to the laughable stereotype portrayed (badly) by Robson Green in the Tv adaptation.

thirdly..as crime readers, more importantly Val Mc Dermid crime readers) we all like a bit of gruesome, measured, twisted, personal, macabre serial murder.. not the dis-associated revenge killings of Characters we have never either heard of nor care remotely about that are the subject of this book

fourth..and most important..there is just no anticipation..like in wire in the blood when the reader is just enthralled that the data crunching is suggesting that a well known celeb could be responsible for a series of gruesome murders....in this book, none of the victims are there enough to care, and the perpetrator has lost his Evil persona and gained a ludicrous hi-tech wannabe voyeur type status who doesnt want to be involved with his victims suffering like before.

And the End?.........just ridiculous

...Shame on you Ms Mc Dermid....really really not very good
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Retribution, 21 April 2012
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Good storyline, with the usual strong characters, and was enjoyable right up to the end, which was a huge disappointment: it was entirely predictable and too abrupt, as if she was anxious to get on with the next one?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Everything you would expect from the author, 28 Mar. 2012
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Loved it! Yes, it is gory and very implausible in places. Tony is still weird but human, whereas Carol is cold. I found that the she became almost matter of fact about certain situations which should have affected her deeply. Moving the plot along at the expense of character perhaps.

I didn't see the twist at the end coming. The characters have been left dangling nicely for another book and I now want to go back and re-read some of the earlier books. Where will the next one be based - there's a lot of dashing about as if the author has got bored with certain locations and characters and is looking to move things on.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars A Let Down, 21 Mar. 2012
By 
H. Garner - See all my reviews
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After giving up on Trick of the Dark I had said I wouldn't buy any future books from Val McDermid. I was intrigued with this one as it brought back my favourite characters from her previously excellent books so I decided to give it a go. I wish I hadn't bothered. The story is so far fetched as to be ridiculous and the main characters Carol Jordan and Tony Hill have morphed into totally different people. Oh yes and she manages to make three couples Lesbian relationships. This wouldn't be so irritating if it wasn't so predictable. Somewhere along the way I have stopped enjoying McDermid books when I used to love them and couldn't wait for the new release. This time I won't buy any others from her which is a shame as she used to be a fantastic author. Oh well.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars reveting retribution, 1 Feb. 2012
By 
D. Cameron (England) - See all my reviews
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I won't go into the plot here, as many other people have described it. i will just say that, at the beginning of the book, i did not see how Jacko would be able to pull off his escape and planned retribution - but boy was i convinced by it all by the end of the book. Brilliant writing, sharp narrative and dialogue, interesting characters and a little bit of (gallows) humour along the way. enjoyably tense and a roller coaster. Brilliant.
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The Retribution: 7 (Tony Hill)
The Retribution: 7 (Tony Hill) by Val McDermid (Paperback - 16 Feb. 2012)
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