I love Val McDermid's books, particularly her Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series: The Mermaids Singing, Wire in the Blood, etc. For those not familiar with the series, it is based around a clinical psychologist who becomes involves in a serial murder case, and his ongoing involvement with the police and other cases throughout the other novels. They are rather graphic in the violence they protray, but are so well written.
I'm not so taken with her other serial novels, as the characters don't appeal to me so much, but she's also written some fantastic stand-alone books - I'd highly recommend both The Distant Echo and The Grave Tattoo.
The synopsis for each:
Originally Posted by The Distant Echo
Four in the morning, mid-December, and snow is smothering St Andrews. Student Alex Gilbey and his three best friends are staggering home from a party when they stumble upon the body of a young woman. Rosie Duff has been raped, stabbed and left for dead in the ancient Pictish cemetery. And the only suspects are the four young students stained with her blood. Twenty-five years later, Fife police mount a cold case review. Among the unsolved murders they're examining is that of Rosie Duff. But someone else has their own idea of how justice should be done. One of the original quartet dies in a suspicious house fire. Soon after, a second is killed in what looks like a burglary gone sour. But Alex fears the worst. Someone is taking revenge for Rosie Duff. He has to find out who it is before he becomes the next victim. And it might just save his life if he can uncover who really killed Rosie all those years ago.
Originally Posted by The Grave Tattoo
A superb psychological thriller in which present-day murder has its roots in the eighteenth century and the mutiny on the Bounty. When torrential summer rains uncover a bizarrely tattooed body on a Lake District hillside, old wives' tales also come swirling to the surface. For centuries Lakelanders have whispered that Fletcher Christian staged the massacre on Pitcairn so that he could return home. And there he told his story to an old friend and schoolmate, William Wordsworth, who turned it into a long narrative poem - a poem that remained hidden lest it expose Wordsworth to the gallows for harbouring a fugitive. Wordsworth specialist Jane Gresham, herself a native of the Lake District, feels compelled to discover once and for all whether the manuscript ever existed - and whether it still exists today. But as she pursues each new lead, death follows hard on her heels. Suddenly Jane is at the heart of a 200-year-old mystery that still has the power to put lives on the line. Against the dramatic backdrop of England's Lake District a drama of life and death plays out, its ultimate prize a bounty worth millions.
Has anybody else read anything of hers and/or seen the Wire In The Blood (which was made into a television series)?
Please call me Laura
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