Book Quote:

“It all comes down to blood in the end. Some wrongs you can get past. File under lessons learned, dangers to avoid in the future. But certain kinds of betrayal need to be answered. And sometimes only blood will do.”

Book Review:

Review by Eleanor Bukowsky (SEP 19, 2010)

Val McDermid’s Fever of the Bone is the latest installment in her series featuring Dr. Tony Hill and Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan, who have been close friends for years. They are both struggling with deep-seated scars from traumatic experiences that left them shaken. As a result, Carol has become a bit too fond of alcohol and Tony is a loner who believes that he is unfit for anything but his work as a criminal profiler and psychologist. Carol is the fiercely ambitious and dedicated leader of the Bradfield Metropolitan Police’s Major Incident Team. Unfortunately, she has a new boss, Chief Constable James Blake, who thinks that her specialized and highly skilled task force is an unaffordable luxury that should be disbanded and absorbed into the mainstream of the CID. Jordan tries to prove him wrong when several adolescents are found murdered and mutilated by someone who lured them to their deaths. Meanwhile, in West Mercia, Worcester, Detective Inspector Stuart Patterson and Detective Sergeant Alvin Ambrose are anxious to find the killer of fourteen-year-old Jennifer Maidment. Her body was found even before her mother reported her missing.

McDermid picks up where she left off with Hill and Jordan; readers unfamiliar with their history may find themselves struggling to fill in the gaps. Much to Tony’s annoyance, Carol insists on digging up information about his late biological father, Edmund Arthur Blythe, whom Tony never met. Carol is still livid at Tony’s malevolent mother, Vanessa, who has always treated her son with undisguised contempt. In addition, Dr. Hill gets involved, both officially and unofficially, in the hunt for a murderer who is quick, efficient, and skilled at eluding detection. As usual, the author deftly depicts the details of police procedure and movingly captures the heartrending grief of bereaved parents trying to cope with the loss of a child. We also observe the frustration of detectives who are desperate to prevent the perpetrator from claiming even more victims.

There is nice balance here between the personal and the professional. McDermid explores the dynamics of modern families, in which teenagers who normally would be considered “good kids” are seduced by strangers via social networking sites. In addition, we get a glimpse of the bleak lives of police officers who put in long hours of mostly fruitless effort, and of the nasty departmental politics that can prevent talented law enforcement officers from doing their jobs effectively. We also catch up with computer ace Stacey Chen, DC Paula McIntyre, and DS Kevin Matthews. DC Sam Evans distinguishes himself when he helps break open a cold case involving a thirty-one year old woman and her five-month old daughter who vanished fourteen years earlier.

At first, the plot of Fever of the Bone appears to be moving in a predictable direction, but as the book draws to a close, McDermid pulls the rug out from under us with a few clever surprises. This is an engrossing and suspenseful murder mystery, as well as a poignant exploration of how tragedy and dysfunction can unhinge even the most intelligent minds. On a more positive note, this story demonstrates how tearing down the walls that stand between us and those we love can yield rich emotional rewards.

AMAZON READER RATING: stars-4-5from 39 readers
PUBLISHER: Harper Paperbacks (September 7, 2010)
REVIEWER: Eleanor Bukowsky
EXTRAS: Excerpt
MORE ON MOSTLYFICTION: Read our review of:


Lindsay Gordon Mysteries

Kate Brannigan Mysteries

Dr. Tony Hill & Carol Jordan Mysteries


September 19, 2010 В· Judi Clark В· No Comments
Tags: ,  В· Posted in: Sleuths Series, United Kingdom, y Award Winning Author

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