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Mermaids Singing [Audio Cassette]

4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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4.0 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Val McD at Her Best Feb. 3 2013
By AnonCan
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Saw this on TV years ago and, while I couldn't get the images of Robson Green and Hermione Norris our of my head when I read it, the book surpasses the television portrayal. As it should. Nuanced and shocking in equal measure, Val McDermid leads the reader through the dark passages of a deranged killer's mind while making uneasy parallels with the workings of Tony Hill's damaged psyche.

A thinking person's thriller, going beyond the sensational aspects of the unfolding events to lay out the rationale behind the irrational nature of the acts.

Believable. Unsavoury and frightening, but believable.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars made a new fan June 7 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
liked the title, bought the book, IAm glad i did. The characters are interesting and premise is good.. Maybe a little too much emphasis put on the whole masculine impotentancy issue....started to feel like Tony Hill was an old friend and I wanted to scream " get over it ".
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3.0 out of 5 stars Slow burner Oct. 28 2012
By Max
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
A slow start. But the end, although cliche, is satisfying. Nothing earth-shattering here, but certainly worth the read. I give it 3/5 stars.
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4.0 out of 5 stars An entertaining read, and viewing. Feb. 8 2008
By Daffydd
Format:Paperback
A few years ago I saw a few of the television shows based on the characters this novel introduces. I enjoyed the show and wanted to see more of them recently deciding to see if the shows were available on dvd. Reading the dvd details and reviews I discovered, like most good mystery shows, there were novels that came first. So I just picked up the first novel, and quickly read it.
(One caveat, I may be one of the few who watch or read mysteries who isn't trying to think ahead and figure out 'who the killer is' before the main characters do, I like the slow reveal and building of suspense at the author's or directer's pace.)
This is the first of four (so far) novels with main characters Dr Tony Hill and Detective Inspector Carol Jordan.
I enjoyed the first half to two thirds of the book immensely. Being introduced to the characters, including the villian (the book opens with notes from the killer), and reading how Dr Tony Hill, sets himself, does his research, and gets himself into the mind of the killer, even talking it out. That's well done.
On the police side of the story, none of the police officers are carboardy, each a distinct individual, and Carol Jordan is a female officer with ambitions and intellegence,and is a woman (not a male copper in drag). And there is the angle of some in the British police force not willing to accept a profiler, believing straight police work catches the criminals.
And a good balance is struck between different points of view making sense of the evidence, and possibly identifying the villian.
When the story moves into the last act it lost me a little, more because I had enjoyed the flow of the first two acts so much. The last act is the killer acting against his next chosen, the police moving in the right or wrong direction, and Dr Tony Hill in the middle of it... and the clock ticking... no answers til its time.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.1 out of 5 stars  85 reviews
35 of 36 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely first class July 3 2002
By RachelWalker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
As serial killer novels go, this one is first class. Certainly one of the best i have ever read, almost as good as "The Silence of the Lambs" and her very own "Killing the Shadows". In a genre in which originality is a rare commodity, this book really shines. IN many instances it does contain every aspect we would expect from a serial killer novel, but Val McDermid builds on that, giving us, as Thomas Harris did so many years ago now, an excellent all round novel, rather than just a piece of genre fiction.
The two lead characters are probably the best duo you will come across in all thriller-dom. The ... tension between the two just smoulders the pages beneath your eyes, and the rigid professionalism and determination of both adds a hard edge and hint of stubbornness to their relationship. They are both very human and very likeable. The reader warms to both Carol and Tony instantly. They are well drawn, characterised, and are immensely real.
The killer is chilling, and the murders come close to Mo Hayder's "Birdman" in terms of gruesomeness. The descriptons of the dead bodies, and how those bodies met their deaths, has great capability to turn stomachs.
The writing is packed with detail and grittiness. It is also enfused with quite a well evoked sense of place. High class prose, styled as only a master can, manipulates the reader, preparing them for a stuning final twist to the story, which has you kicking yourself whilst stunned at the same time. And the showdown between hunter and hunted is a brilliant climax to the entire book.
So, if you like good serial killer thrillers, this is definitely one of the best you could choose to read.
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THE absolute best serial murder book I've read in years! Dec 24 2000
By AnnaKarenina - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
A fantastically well-written, gritty drama that grabs you right in - I was scared by the end of the prologue!
All serial killer books compare themselves to Silence of the Lambs. I've read dozens of supposedly good ones since by all the major crime authors, and this is the first and only book that's been just as clever, creepy and well-characterized.
I just read Messiah, a similar blend of medieval torture with modern realism, and this is much better. It's not a gentle murder mystery by any means, but the gore and rough language fit right in with the story instead of being gratuitous, like they are in most murder books.
I'd only read one Val McDermid book before, one of the Kate Brannigan ones, which I didn't like at all, and got this book just to make up my library quota. It's hard to believe it's the same author - this is honestly one of the best crime books I've read.
It looks like this book is not available in the US, so it's probably not getting the readership it deserves. If you've been wanting a book as good as the early Thomas Harris ones, then this one's worth back-ordering - I can't recommend it highly enough.
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Profiling In Its Infancy Jan. 23 2001
By Tim Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
Another winner from Val McDermid! Building slowly but relentlessly, profiler Tony Hill uses psychological maxims now accepted but at the time of the story were innovative and a novelty in the forensic pursuit of a serial killer. This story is different from other serial killer novels. It traces the profiler and his own psychological problems as well as the killer and their thought processes prior to and after each murder.
While the police are split in their acceptance of profiling, some problems remain the same and never seem to change, especially intrusion from the media. Mistakes in the media occur and they are deadly.
In the final confrontation, Hill is forced to use all his training, skills and insights. He begins to realize the perp may be hunting the profiler. The way McDermid has inserted life into the usually predictable tales of death has once again made my skin crawl. Even as I write this and remember, the hair on the back of my neck stands up and I need to turn around to assure myself no one is there. Read "The Mermaids Singing". You won't be disappointed.
12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent read, but not for the weak stomached Aug. 19 2000
By Glenn McLeod - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
The Mermaids Singing by Val McDeremid Harper Paperbacks 1995
This is my first book by Val McDermid and I was very impressed. The serial killer, named Queer Killer by the local police, and Handy Andy by profiler Tony Hill is very bright and covers his tracks well while torturing his victims in some ingenious and time honored methods.
The two principal characters, Dr. Tony Hill and Carol Jordan are very interesting and complex personalities. As their relationship develops, their fragility and weaknesses hinder a commitment. Tony in particular is struggling with his own sexuality and as he delves into the twisted mind of Handy Andy.
This is a well written mystery with a well developed cast of characters whose interactions provide interesting subplots. The main plot is complex, has several unusual turns and a very surprising ending. There is plenty of excitement as Handy Andy skillfully dispatches his victims and then reaches into the task force for the next victim to demonstrate his superior abilities and to put the police in their place.
An excellent read!
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, but gruesome, macabre, scary and unputdownable June 24 2005
By binnsie - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
This is a brilliant piece of crime fiction that earned its 5 stars from the first chapter through to the last.

In a fictitious northern England town 4 young men have been found murdered with their bodies showing evidence of the most gruesome torture before death. All the broken bodies have been meticulously washed spotlessly clean of any obvious forensic evidence such as blood, skin, hair, fibres or the like which could provide a link to the killer. The police force is split between old-fashioned coppers with their traditional crime solving methods and the forward thinking university educated detectives who know that modern tools and techniques are what are required. The decision to bring in criminal psychologist Tony Hill to come up with a profile of the killer is thus a divisive one. The old-time detective leading the manhunt will not admit that there may be a serial killer on his patch, preferring to let the public think it is merely a wave or unrelated murders. The early conclusion by Tony Hill that it is certainly the work of a serial killer further alienates him from the chief investigator.

Author Val McDermid allows us to read the diary of the psychopath as an introduction to each chapter, keeping up a parallel story in the same time frame. We see how each victim is selected and stalked in the lead up to his capture. We also see how the killer selects the torture instrument of choice and designs, builds and tests it. McDermid cleverly researches these mediaeval instruments.

Hill's main support from within the crime squad is Detective Inspector Carol Jordan who campaigned successfully for the services of a criminal psychologist. A tenuous relationship gradually builds up between Carol and Tony, which despite their best efforts strays just beyond the professional. This relationship provides an element of relief and romance from the otherwise black storyline.

The whole story is beautifully written and each character comes to life with his or her foibles, weaknesses and strengths. The plot is well conceived, well developed and the tension allowed to build to breaking point as the climax is reached.
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