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Trick Of The Dark Paperback – 17 Feb 2011

3.1 out of 5 stars 142 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 544 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (17 Feb. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751543225
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751543223
  • Product Dimensions: 12.8 x 3.4 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (142 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 51,879 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Wonderfully compelling stuff (Daily Mail)

A workout for the grey cells, perfectly executed (Daily Telegraph)

This standalone from the Scottish force of nature, and creator of Robson Green's Wire In The Blood TV series, is a brutally clever story (Daily Mirror)

Keeps you guessing till the last page (Bella)

Layered with emotional and psychological complexity, this outstanding page-turner has television success written all over it (Scottish Daily Record)

An accomplished thriller, jumping from the past to the present and back with ease, taking in a range of characters and their perspectives...Trick of the Dark had me ruminating for days (Sunday Tribune)

A broad, winding murder mystery (Sunday Telegraph)

Thoughtful, tender and always entertaining (Guardian)

Book Description

A fascinatingly rich and complex mystery lies at the heart of this novel - McDermid's most ambitious and best yet

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I couldn't quite believe I was reading a novel by Val McDermid, an author I normally like a lot. In many places, this read rather as I would imagine a Jeffrey Archer book to read. What I found most irritating was the very contrived and unnatural dialogue -- the plot is partially revealed through characters giving each other detailed and pedantic accounts of events they already know about. This contributed to the general lack of credibility of the characters, who seemed more like allegories than multi-dimensional human beings. (I also can't quite believe that anyone could eat as much as these people do.)

The lesbian angle was no problem, though this seemed like a strange world where men are at best peripheral characters. In particular, I found it difficult to recognise the Oxford of the 1990s, which seemed about half a century -- in terms of attitudes to sexuality, gender balance, and the amount of formality between students and academic staff -- behind the Cambridge I attended in the 1970s.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book and couldn't put it down. I'd agree that it might not have been Val's best novel, but it was still a gripping and entertaining read, with a plot that was probably more plausible than some of her other novels. I found the story slightly too long, and would agree that Charlie Flint as a character was not quite as fleshed out as some of her other characters, but she was still a likeable three dimensional character. This book does not deserve all the extremely critical reviews it is getting.

In response to some of the criticism which I feel is unjust:

I'd argue that the characters are three dimensional. I'd agree some of them are not a strong as characters in her other novels, but the all still had individual and believable personalities.

In response to the criticism that there are too main lesbian characters and also that makes it unbelievable, and/or that it should not be classed as mainstream, and/or too much focus on gay issues and/or that it should contain some kind of warning - these are all ridiculous claims. There are 5 lesbian charcters (plus one historic), that's not loads, they are spread across England (so it's not even like there are 5 in one city, which would of course be completely unbelievable) and there are connections between them for a reason. There isn't a massive emphasis on gay issues, only as much as is relevant to the characters lives and to the plot. If you're gay it is not the main element of your life (and it is not for these characters) but it does significant affect your life experiences, and coming out initially and then every day experiences of homophobia is a part of life.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I'm a big Val McDermid fan and agree with others that it's not her best and the plot is a bit implausible, but it's still a page-turner (I just read it in one go on a long-haul flight).
Do buy it - you will enjoy it - but (message to Val) yes, you can do better, and the plot twist felt a bit amateur.
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Format: Hardcover
I've read most of Val McDermid's earlier books but I must admit, Tony Hill just didn't grip me and I moved on to crime writers new. However, after reading reviews in the newspapers for Trick of the Dark, I thought I'd give this book a go and managed to finish it in a couple of days whilst on holiday. The book is a classic slow burner and does indeed take a while to get going but it's a book that draws you in and leaves you unable to put it back down until the end. Yes, the plot is a little predictable in places and yes, some of the dialogue may be a little dry but this doesn't detract from the overall appeal of the book. It is nice to see lesbian main characters in mainstream Top 10 fiction but that is not what this book is about. Complex relationships and life changing decisions abound, Trick of the Dark is an excellent read and Val McDermid remains on top form.
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Format: Paperback
Having been a Val McDermid fan for many years I was eager to read this latest book but was bitterly disappointed with it. As previous reviewers have said the plot was poor, no suprises or twists, and a very predictable plod. As a crime writer she appears to have lost her magic touch. Also we live in 2011 not 1911 and whilst there may still be the odd bigoted dinasaur still around who cannot accept the gay community I found it an insult that this book is written with the constant assumption the reader is homophobic. The book came across as half an attempt to write a crime novel and half an attempt at public education and unfortunately the end result was not one of her better books.
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Format: Hardcover
Charlie Flint is a psychiatrist, police profiler and accredited Home Office expert witness...but when the novel opens she is currently suspended and under investigation by the General Medical Council. She lives with her civil partner in Manchester.
Charlie visits her old tutor at the wonderfully named St Scholastika's College, Oxford. Dr Corinna Newsam is convinced that her daughter's new partner is a serial killer, and wants Charlie to go to London to find out if it's true.
Charlie isn't convinced and thinks that maybe the Newsams don't want their daughter in a lesbian relationship, but she decides to investigate out of loyalty to her old tutor, but more probably because there's a woman living in Oxford that Charlie is attracted to, and the investigation will give her an excuse to visit her.
Charlie sets off for London to investigate the suspect and meets up with her old friend Nick, a DS with the Met, and he agrees to help her.
Charlie's investigations take her from London back to Oxford and then to the Isle of Skye and on to Sunderland...lovely to see the North East mentioned in a mainstream novel...
Nice to see fictional characters who just happen to be gay...although from the comments from previous reviewers it seems that the one lesbian actually living in Oxford is one lesbian too many....
Fantastic thriller! Buy this novel now!!!
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