I can assure one of the previous reviewsers that Val MCDermid is definitely not an over-hyped novelist. Some of her previous books have been absolutely stunners. Absolute stunners. (I am thinking in particular of The Mermaids Singing, the Wire in the Blood, A Place of Execution, and the sublime Killing the Shadows.) However, this one does not compare as well as some of the others. Firstly, the undercover side was all well and good, but it dominated the plot far too much. and as a result what was actually a really decent premise of a serial killer plot was left as a secondary plot and remained slightly underdevloped. I simply did not care to read a novel dominated by Carol going under cover. It wasn't that it wasn't interesting, it was just that i would really have preferred (as i think another reviewer has said) much more concentration on the serial killer aspect. I would rather have had the entire book about the serial killer, as it had superb possibility and potential, but she failed to bring it out. Actually, i am very disappointed. I was expecting a lot more. A tense serial killer thriller, when instead i got a novel about someone going undercover to catch an underdeveloped and not at all menacing villain. It's a great shame. had she concentrated a lot more on the other aspect of the plot, then this book may well have turned out as one of her best. And even though i am extremely disappointed, i can still say that a disappointing Val McDermid book is still much better than anything else currently on the market. Hence the four stars.
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