I'll be honest, I've been aware of Val McDermid and her books for probably as long as she has been writing them. Her Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series has been one of those I'll ' probably get round to one day'.
That all changed last year when I read a tweet by Val about losing a reader (I'm not going into details here but the reasoning was so ridiculous that really, that reader was probably no great loss). I guess the tweet angered me a little so I decided to redress the balance and have a look at this series.
The first book to feature profiler Tony Hill and D I Carol Jordan is The Mermaid's Singing and, to be fair, it is a brutal piece at times. In the Northern City of Bradfield men are being abducted and then murdered, using medieval style torture machines. The bodies are then dumped in various parts of the city's gay community. The police are at a loss and that is where Dr Hill and his profiling come in.
As I mentioned earlier, this story is brutal at times and the torture devices will make many men squirm but at no point did the violence feel gratuitous. Getting to know the characters of Hill and Jordan was nicely done - the balance of police work and private time, the, I guess obligatory, will they/won't they scenario was handled in a way that kept this reader interested.
And as for the killer, well, that kept me guessing right up to the reveal and I think it's fair to say I never saw that coming!
So, an enjoyable, if unsettling, read and one I'm glad I finally got around to. I may be 20 odd years late to the party but now I'm here, I'm here for the duration - and very much looking forward to it.