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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scottish crime writer crosses the right bridge and burns some old ones...
Northern England has become a very scary place in several bestselling British crime writers' contemporary novels based on true events. David Peace's quartet which began with Nineteen Seventy Four (Red Riding Quartet, Book One) tells of police corruption set against a backdrop of the Yorkshire Ripper murders that occurred between 1975 and 1980. Scottish crime writer Val...
Published 20 months ago by janebbooks

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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 stars) A very good book and a mediocre one crushed together
This is a book of two halves: half is excellent as we follow the emotional fall-out of the past which has left Carol Jordan and Tony Hill both severely traumatised and alienated from each other and from the police force. In this part of the book, McDermid shows herself to be a sensitive, emotionally-intelligent writer with a fine streak of darkness running through her...
Published 21 months ago by Roman Clodia


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scottish crime writer crosses the right bridge and burns some old ones..., 20 Nov. 2013
By 
janebbooks (Jacksonville, FL USA) - See all my reviews
Northern England has become a very scary place in several bestselling British crime writers' contemporary novels based on true events. David Peace's quartet which began with Nineteen Seventy Four (Red Riding Quartet, Book One) tells of police corruption set against a backdrop of the Yorkshire Ripper murders that occurred between 1975 and 1980. Scottish crime writer Val McDermid explores the area...one she knows well... in her series of novels loosely grouped together as A WIRE IN THE BLOOD featuring hardboiled DCI Carol Jordan and eccentric psychological profiler Tony Hill. She bases her most infamous villain Jacko Vance on real-life Sir James Wilson Vincent Saville, an English television personality and charity fundraiser. A year after his death, Jimmy Saville was exposed as one of Britain's most prolific pedophiles and molester of underage girls; McDermid had interviewed Saville in 1977.

CROSS AND BURN is the eighth installment of the excellent Carol Jordan/Tony Hill series. At the end of the last disappointing installment The Retribution, this electrifying detective duo had severed both their personal and professional relationship. They are trying to pick up the pieces of their lives destroyed by Vance who had wreaked havoc after escaping from prison. Carol Jordan has resigned from the crack squad at Bradfield's Major Incident Team that she led and is gutting the restored barn where her brother Michael was slaughtered. Tony Hill is living on a houseboat after Vance burns the estate he inherited from his father that he had hoped to share with Carol.

This installment is narrated in part by Paula McIntyre, a former member of Jordan's MIT squad, now promoted to Detective Sergeant who becomes the chief interviewer for a recent case assigned to a new boss, DCI Alex Fielding. Two women, blonde hair, blue eyes, have been savagely beaten and murdered. Same haircut, similar height and build, professional women "who go to work suited up"...dead ringers for ex- DCI Carol Jordan. Paula enlists the help of her friend and profiler, Tony Hill, to find the killer. And looks up her old boss when DCI Fielding arrests a suspect whose DNA is found on the clothing of the first victim.

As Anthony "Tony" Valentine Hill languishes in jail as a major suspect, Paula searches for Carol Jordan. Will Jordan stop burning the bridges of their former relationship and come to Hill's aid?

A late night call to the best criminal defense attorney in Northern England and a Deep Throat meeting in a deserted city-centre car park begins an exciting search for the real killer using "old fashioned coppering with new fashioned methods." Several other members of Jordan's former squad are enlisted to help. And the fans of one Val McDermid are left with 130 pages of pure reading joy!

Welcome back...queen of crime Val McDermid
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48 of 54 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars (3.5 stars) A very good book and a mediocre one crushed together, 10 Oct. 2013
By 
Roman Clodia (London) - See all my reviews
(TOP 100 REVIEWER)   
This is a book of two halves: half is excellent as we follow the emotional fall-out of the past which has left Carol Jordan and Tony Hill both severely traumatised and alienated from each other and from the police force. In this part of the book, McDermid shows herself to be a sensitive, emotionally-intelligent writer with a fine streak of darkness running through her fictional world.

The other half is a run-of-the-mill psychopathic, misogynist serial-killer plot where, once again, we are shown a man who hates women and wants to re-make them into Stepford wives. The gratuitous sexual violence is sickening, and the plotting feels half-baked: it's obvious from the start who the perpetrator is because the clues are clumsily dropped and, apart from a single red-herring, there's no-one else it could be. The `investigation' is also all a bit pat, and leaves loose ends (the fingerprint on the phone?).

So this is like a very good book and a mediocre `me-too' one crushed together. I can't work out why McDermid falls back into the generic and derivative when she is clearly capable of so much better: a sop to her long-time fans? publisher pressure? who knows. But the contrast between the two halves demonstrate that she is a far better novelist than this book overall shows.

(This review is from an ARC courtesy of the publisher)
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A good try, but not quite there I'm afraid, 27 Aug. 2014
By 
davidT "Omnivore" (Hildesheim, Germany) - See all my reviews
This is a review of the audio version. I say that, because although the story was gripping, the narration was quite disconcerting. I couldn't tell if a character was supposed to be Scottish, Geordie or South African. A good try, but not quite there I'm afraid, so a star is lost just for the medium.
As regards the story - terrific almost all the way through, with great detailed character descriptions of the new people involved.
Just...I had sympathy for Paula's new DCI. You get clothing from a murder victim with an identifiable bloodstain, plus a mobile phone from a further victim carrying a fingerprint from the same person, and of course you haul them in, even if he's Tony Hill, consultant psychologist. Except that Tony Hill's girls (and they are all girls) cry 'No,that can't be true'and solve the case off their own bat, leaving egg on the DCI's face. Success or failure, I can't imagine any of them would have much of a future in any UK police force.
Apart from that - gruesome, but that's what we expect from Val McDermid. Chilling as well, which takes a lot more art - the details which emerge as to the culprit's upbringing and his father's marital arrangements leave you wondering about what happened to other characters apart from the main ones. As I said, it is a gripping story, but I felt that from the point where suspicion fell on the real culprit to the end, all the usual denouements involved in the tracing/following/capture were compressed into too small a space, as if the author felt taht enough pages had been written, so she should bring it to a close.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A satisfying instalment for all Tony and Carol fans, 29 July 2014
This review is from: Cross and Burn (Tony Hill) (Paperback)
I really enjoyed this latest instalment in the Tony Hill series. The aftermath of the devastating events which rocked the lives of pretty much all the key members of Carol's murder squad at the end of the last book are well handled here, although you do have to suspend disbelief a little at Carol's unbending hostility towards Tony. Having said that, the interplay between the main characters is very good, as always, and McDermid's easy prose leads you effortlessly through what is quite a lengthy novel. As other reviewers have mentioned, the key plot is somewhat cliched and you almost feel it is taking second place to the personal trials and tribulations of the regular protagonists. As a result of this, you are really only going to get the best out of this book if you have read the ones that come before it.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Ulterior motive?, 7 July 2014
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I'm a fan of McDermid and the characters of Tony and Carol. This novel wasn't the best example of Val' s work but still a good read. But is it just me or do I get the hint that McDermid did not like the character of Alex Fielding who was created first for the TV adaptation? The character of Fielding in the book was not at all flattering and ends up with her career down the pan yet in the TV series Fielding and Tony become good friends and she is a more than able replacement for Carol. I suspect McDermid was not consulted on the introduction of Fielding on screen and took her revenge out on the character in this book. Not a criticism I just found it intriguing and quite amusing. What is a criticism is that once again the plot revolves round a serial killer brutally torturing and murdering women. I'm not targeting McDermid alone in this, I'm just growing a bit tired of it as a plot and particularly the gruesome and vivid description of the women's treatment. The genre including the Tony/Carol series needs shaking up and refreshing. That said I will look forward to the next visit to Bradfield just hopefully with a revitalised plotline.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Very good, though not the best in the series, 28 May 2014
By 
M. V. Clarke (Durham, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
As a follow-up to the tumultuous events in the previous Hill & Jordan novel, The Retribution, this is very good indeed. That ended with Carol and Tony estranged, the breakup of the MIT and feelings of guilt and despair all around. Here, slowly, these are unpicked, with McDermid's typically brilliant characterisation; Jordan's anger is perhaps the most powerful, but the way in which other members of the team come to terms with the new reality is fascinating too. There are, perhaps inevitably but thankfully not gratuitously, faint signs of hope at the end in this regard. The crime plot itself is good, if not great - a sadistic serial killer is targeting women, brutally abusing and killing them when they fail to meet his twisted ideals. The culprit is easy to identify early on, and it almost feels as though this plot was a necessary way of linking up elements in the more personal stories of the series' protagonists. A good read, but only if you are up-to-date with the rest of the series.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, as usual, 6 Sept. 2014
By 
Sarah Durston (London) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Cross and Burn (Tony Hill) (Paperback)
With Carol Jordan's crack team being disbanded, Cross and Burn predominantly follows the newly promoted Paula as she, and her new DCI, investigate the disappearance of a number of Bradfield women. However, it doesn't take long before the investigation takes a turn which pulls both Carol and Tony Hill back into fulfilling their old roles

This is the eighth book in the Tony Hill series and can be enjoyed as a stand alone BUT it does contain spoilers for previous books. To really enjoy the series and the character development it's probably better to read through from the beginning, starting with The Mermaids Singjng.

As I've come to expect from Val McDermid, this is a pacey thriller with a fair amount of violence and believable characters, who you come to care about. The short chapters are also a bonus if you're a bedtime reader of someone who has to read on the hop.

Highly recommended, as usual.
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2.0 out of 5 stars I was very disappointed with this latest 'Tony Hill' book, 11 Aug. 2014
By 
TRENDYWENDY (GREATER LONDON UK) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Cross and Burn (Tony Hill) (Paperback)
I was very disappointed with this latest 'Tony Hill' book. I feel that the author is running out of steam in this particular series. It seemed to have been written in a hurry rushing towards the inevitable end. I don't think that there was ever any doubt that Tony and Carol would come together again to carry on their peculiar platonic relationship. It will be interesting to see how the author finally ends this series - which must happen fairly soon I would think - regarding Tony and Carol. An impotent man and a woman approaching the end of her child-bearing years - how will this pan out? This will be the only reason I will read the next book in the series as the recent books do not match up to the early editions. What can match 'The Mermaids Singing? I think the answer is 'nothing'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars book 8 - another page turner, 29 Aug. 2014
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Just enough of the previous history of the characters to give context for new readers. But suggest any new reader should start at book one.
There is more emphasis on the interpersonal relationships particularly between Hill and Jordan but this doesn't detract from the speed of the book.
As with some of her other books there are sequences which are too convenient for the plot and appear to be a shorthand to cull of a few hundred words which short changes the reader, that said it is still a 5 star read.
The Tony Hill series provides excellent, if violent misogynous serial murder plots, and this book is no different but it does expand on the personalities of the characters involved with good effect.
Waiting for the next one!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Cross and Burn review, 16 April 2014
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This review is from: Cross and Burn (Tony Hill) (Paperback)
I don't normally like the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan books as I find them very grisly. Even though there are terrifying descriptions in "Cross and Burn", it's a terrific mystery that I thoroughly enjoyed reading. Generally, I prefer the Lindsay Gordon and Kate Brannigan books, but this Tony Hill book is a superb read. Both Tony and Carol are now out of the jobs they loved and striving to find new reasons for living after personal and professional losses. The psychological material about regrets and human progress is as compelling as the murder mystery plot. Please, Val McDermid, you have to follow this one up very quickly as I am desperate to find out what happens next.
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Cross and Burn (Tony Hill)
Cross and Burn (Tony Hill) by Val McDermid (Paperback - 27 Feb. 2014)
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