22 January, 2012

The Retribution

Title: The Retribution
Author: Val McDermid
Genre: Fiction - Crime
Audience: Adult
Format: Book - Library

From Goodreads: Clinical psychologist Tony Hill has had a good run. He and police detective Carol Jordan have put away scores of dangerous criminals and have a clearance rate that colleagues envy or resent. But there is one serial killer who has shaped and defined their careers, a person whose evil surpasses all others: Jacko Vance, an ex-celebrity and sociopath whose brilliance and utter lack of remorse have never left Tony’s mind in the ten years Vance has been locked up. Now Jacko has broken out of prison and, with a mind even more twisted and cunning than before, he is focused on wreaking revenge on Tony and Carol for the years he has spent in prison. They don’t know when Jacko will strike, or where. All they know is that he will cause them to feel fear like they’ve never known.
What I thought: I love Val McDermid's books that have psychologist Tony Hill as the main character. This series has been made into a TV series in Britain called Wire in the Blood and it's excellent. While several of the episodes are based on books, many just use the characters.
In this latest book, Tony Hill is faced once more with Jacko Vance. A serial killer he helped DCI Carol Jordan put away for the murder of several young girls. Now Vance has escaped and is bent on exacting revenge on those he feel are responsible for his downfall.
I don't know exactly what it is that I love about this series. Like most crime novels with recurring characters you do start to wonder exactly how many traumatic episodes these people can handle before losing it completely. But McDermid manages to convince you that her characters are up for this continual beating up. Maybe it's partly the fact that Tony Hill has been "different" from  the beginning - socially awkward and obsessed with his chosen field of psychology. The first Tony Hill book was released in 1995 - a time when profiling was in it's infancy. It has been interesting to see how McDermid has incorporated the growing acceptance of criminal profiling as the series has grown. Where in early books Tony had to fight to prove his skills and their worth, by now it's just accepted a profiler will make up part of the team.
A worth while series for any crime nut.