The Mermaids Singing Mass Market Paperback – Mar 2005
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This sadistic, twisted yet intriguingly ingenious thriller garnered Val McDermid Britain's top crime-fiction award, the Gold Dagger, which only proves it's not as genteel a nation as we've been led to believe. The Mermaids Singing follows a killer who thrives on finding ever more inventive ways to seduce and torture sexually confused young men and records their death struggles digitally to market them as interactive home movies. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
McDermid (A Clean Break) enters new ground with a dark tale that is more complex, more carefully crafted and far more disturbing than her Kate Brannigan mysteries. By the time the police admit that Bradfield, a fictional city in northern England, has a serial killer, four men are already dead, each tortured in a different way and then abandoned outdoors in town. Baffled by a lack of physical evidence left by the meticulous sociopath, police bring in Tony Hill, a Home Office forensic psychologist who profiles criminals. Tony, who begins each day by "selecting a persona," devours crime data with a fascination approaching admiration for the killer. The interest distracts him from obsessing over his own sexual impotence and over the "exquisite torture" of salacious phone calls he's been getting from a strange woman. DI Carol Jordan, a mercifully normal person who is Tony's liaison with the force, quickly grasps the profiling approach while keeping her policing instincts. Carol and Tony forge an uneasy relationship; but, as they pursue "the Queer Killer," a cloddish policeman undermines them, a local reporter blows the case to get a byline and the murderer closes in on a new quarry. A warning: woven into this powerful story are journal entries in which the murder discusses torture in loving detail, an aspect that makes this graphic, psychologically terrifying tale almost as off-putting as it is impossible to put down. (Dec.) FYI: This novel won Britain's Gold Dagger Award for best crime novel of 1995.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
First, this isn't really a detective thriller. It's a penny romance set in the middle of a serial killer investigation.
That still might have resulted in a good book for romance readers, if not for the author's completely trite writing.
If you're looking for a strong female lead like Prime Suspect's Jane Tennison or Silence of the Lambs' Clarice Starling, look somewhere else.
The supposedly tough detective in this story comes across as a whiny, shallow person who spends more time thinking about whom she fancies and looking at her clothes in the mirror (complete with the brands of each item) than she does about solving murders.
Point of view is utterly jumbled, the characters are shallow stereotypes, and the book reads like it was written by a teenager who watched Prime Suspect once. Rather than revealing characters by their actions and dialogue, the author engages in endless internal narrative that makes it impossible to remain immersed. You can hear the author labouring away at the keyboard at every paragraph.
I wanted to rewrite the whole thing on my lunch break.
This is one of the only books that was so bad that I stopped reading it before the end.
A complete waste of money.
(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.
Most recent customer reviews
Excellent in terms of plot and character development,(for once I didn't figure it out), but a little sick-making having to revisit torture machine history and the killer's... Read morePublished 1 month ago by M. Elyse St George
Loved this book great introduction to a new author excited to read more of Varol and Tony in the future. .scaryPublished 17 months ago by cyd
This was a good read. Flowed and was fascinating to try and work out the ending Looking forward to the next book in the seriesPublished 18 months ago by Amaz