Monday, April 2, 2012
Dark but good
Val McDermid's The Mermaids Singing is a decent, fast-moving serial killer thriller that thankfully pays as much attention to its likable police investigator characters as it does to the frequent and disturbing sexual crimes on hand. Otherwise the novel, based in London and its environs, might have been a bit too much to take.
The friendship between police detective Carol Jordan and serial killer profiler Doctor Tony Hill, which quickly develops when Dr. Hill is called in to help the police with a string of killings in the gay community, is a particuarly enjoyable aspect of the novel. Interestingly, however, that friendship and developing flirtation is complicated by the fact that Tony is tormented by his own unusual sexual problems when he isn't trying to unravel the weird sexual predilections of the killer he and the police are chasing.
With frequent changes in viewpoint- sometimes the story is told from Tony's point of view, sometimes Carol's, and often via the killer himself- the story avoids one particular flavor, which keeps the reading experience fresh. Again, though, readers should be warned that some of those flavors are fairly dark and brutal.
The Mermaids Singing, which originally came out in the mid-1990's, has since spawned several more novels featuring Dr. Tony Hill and police investigator Carol Jordan. I plan to check them out at some point, as- darkness and all- this was an enjoyable crime story.
The Mermaids Singing is available on Kindle for $7.99.