Top critical review
6 people found this helpful
Good start, terrible ending
on 21 June 2013
I had tried a Val McDermid book before (Vanishing Point) and was unable to get beyond the first few chapters as it was just so unbelievable. I'm glad I gave this one a chance as I finished the whole thing and enjoyed it, but it wasn't without flaws. I'm sick to death of every crime novel ending in a dangerous confrontation between a lone officer and an armed and dangerous killer. It's just not realistic and I roll my eyes every time it happens. This one came complete with the other typical crime novel cliches - an officer in the middle of a divorce and one getting over personal issues with too much alcohol. Predictable and annoying. One irritant it did avoid, thankfully, was the officers referring to each other by their surnames.
The killer was completely unbelievable and I felt a bit cheated after sticking with the book for so long, to have such a stupid reveal at the end. Also unbelievable was the behavior of the other characters, such as Carol deciding everyone should go to bed instead of looking for a fellow officer that was in the clutches of a murderer thanks to them.
What saved this was the characters, who were interesting and mostly sympathetic. I liked the dynamics between Carol's new team. I wish Stacey had got some more "air time" as I found her intriguing, but she was a very minor character. I liked the relationship between Carol and Tony and I could appreciate it without having read any previous novels featuring them.