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The Mermaids Singing (Tony Hill and Carol Jordan, Book 1) Paperback – 6 Feb 2006

4.2 out of 5 stars 315 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; New edition edition (6 Feb. 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0007217110
  • ISBN-13: 978-0007217113
  • Product Dimensions: 11.1 x 2.7 x 17.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (315 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 553,201 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

'Compelling and shocking', Minette Walters

'Terrifying but stylish, cruel and compassionate. Truly, horribly good' Frances Fyfield , Mail on Sunday

'Gripping, intelligent stuff' The Times

'A superb psychological thriller' Cosmopolitan

'A deliciously gruesome serial killer thriller. Ms McDermid finds new ways to shock and revolt us' New York Times

From the Back Cover

You always remember the first time. Isn’t that what they say about sex? How much more true it is of murder…

Up till now, the only serial killers Tony Hill had encountered were safely behind bars. This one’s different – this one’s on the loose.

In the northern town of Bradfield four men have been found mutilated and tortured. Fear grips the city; no man feels safe. Clinical psychologist Tony Hill is brought in to profile the killer. A man with more than enough sexual problems of his own, Tony himself becomes the unsuspecting target in a battle of wits and wills where he has to use every ounce of his professional nerve to survive.

A tense, brilliantly written psychological thriller, The Mermaids Singing explores the tormented mind of a serial killer unlike any the world of fiction has ever seen.

--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Val McDermid is one of the few writers which successfully merge the reality of a UK setting with the thrill of the chase.
Her background as a newspaper reporter seems to enable her to write developing stories in a style that makes you feel you are there. Her characters are more human than those found in Patricia Cornwell's police thrillers, and the characters have more depth than the typical James Patterson. She avoids the new realism which seems to demand more explicit torture scenes in short chapters, relying instead on a more thoughtful exposition of the motives involved and a true sense of time in the plotting.
Her development of the personality of Tony Hill is well-paced, and manages to blend the abstract analytical facet of his work with his human frailties and self-blindness.
This book encouraged me to read her back-catalogue works; the schoolgirl mystery stories of Lindsay Duncan and the Warshawski-like Brannigan series which although lighter in tone show the love of detail on which this more mature work depends for its success.
I unreservedly recommend it as a more human approach than Cornwell and created with rather more thought and insight than Patterson.
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By A Customer on 4 Sept. 2002
Format: Paperback
What a great book! I was hooked from the minute I began to read. The characters became so real and the plot so nerve-tinglingly tense, that I could not put this book down! By the time I got to the last few chapters, I found myself reading faster and faster just so that I could find out what would happen next - would Batman arrive in time?!!! Seriously though, the detailed descriptions of the killer's methods (to me) were necessary for the heightening of the tension. Without such detail, the killer would not have seemed half as scary or crazy. If you love a good read and have a very strong stomach, read and enjoy!
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Format: Paperback
"The Mermaids Singing"(1995), a British mystery, was the first of Scottish author Val McDermid's "Wire in The Blood" mystery series, and quite a stir it made, too. McDermid, who is now a prize-winning, best-selling author of 22 novels, is, of course, a leading exponent of the "tartan noir," school of mystery-writing: the specifically Scottish, bloody-minded, tough but slyly humorous approach to a thriller, lightened by the mordant wit for which the Scots are known. As does the entire "Wire" series, "Mermaids" deals with the psychological profiling and stalking of serial killers. It introduces us to, and stars, Dr. Tony Hill, forensic psychologist and criminal profiler; also introduces us to Detective Inspector Carol Jordan, with whom he works. It's a police procedural and rather a suspense/thriller. Her "Wire" series is now, of course, the basis for a popular ITV television series of the same name, Wire in the Blood: Series 1 and 2 (5 Disc Box Set) [DVD] [2002], starring the toothsome Robson Green as Dr. Tony Hill.

McDermid jumped to worldwide fame and popularity on the heels of her A Place of Execution, which was nominated for an Edgar Award for Best Novel, won a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, and was named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year. She was born and raised in a Scottish mining town not far from Edinburgh, north of the Firth of Forth; won a scholarship to the ancient, highly-prestigious Oxford University,where she read English; and worked for sixteen years as a journalist in Manchester, where she still resides.
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Format: Paperback
This is the first in the series of clinical psychologist Tony Hill, and it kicks off to a good start.
Tony Hill explores the mind of a serial killer, which in turn puts the reader inside the mind of the killer also.
This is a well written psychological thriller which keeps you guessing right till the very end on who is brutally torturing and mutilating men to death.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is good read and explores sexuality in a harsh and graphic way. The story is around catching a serial killer with the backdrop story of a Doctor in Psychology helping form a profile for the police. It was interesting the way the book described the police tactics and struggles - there were good characterisation, which kept you hooked in to the plot and kept the tension up throughout. This book is revealing and not for the feint-hearted.
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Format: Paperback
This may be a review of a book published in 1995, but eleven years later it still stands tall, together with its creator, among more contemporary peers. The first in what has turned out to be a highly successful series involving criminal psychologist Dr Tony Hill, it is gripping from cover to cover and has that rare bonus of a climax that in every way complements the build-up, even if that climax could be criticised for a slight lack of credibility. Many thrillers or works of crime fiction have complex and exciting story-lines, only for the reader to be let down by the conclusion. Not so with The Mermaids Singing - it has few weaknesses at any point. Not only that, but for anyone who is lucky enough to have no advance knowledge of the outcome, a real surprise is in store! And perhaps the real treat, for want of a better word, is a generally convincing examination of the mind of a murderous psychopath - the motives, the planning, the execution.

It's a serial killer novel, the bodies of the male victims having been deposited in selected locations popular with the gay community in the northern English town of Bradfield (possibly a fictitious amalgamation of Bradford and Sheffield), and having earlier been subjected to a variety of forms of torture using instruments based on historical fact or folklore dating back many centuries. Throughout the course of the story, not only are the police completely stumped as to who the killer might be - they have no suspects at all - the reader is likely to form a similar view, seeing as how the planning of the murders is so comprehensive, with every effort made to leave not a trace of forensic evidence.
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