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Trick of the Dark

3.44  ·  Rating Details  ·  1,659 Ratings  ·  276 Reviews

When Charlie Flint is sent a mysterious package of cuttings about a brutal murder, it instantly grabs her attention. The murder occurred in the grounds of her old Oxford college - a groom battered to death just hours after his wedding. As his bride and wedding guests sipped champagne, his alleged killers were slipping his bloodstained body into the river.

Charlie doesn't kn

Kindle Edition, 465 pages
Published (first published 2010)
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Sep 14, 2015 BrokenTune rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
"My mother disappeared when I was sixteen. It was the best thing that could have happened to me.
When I say that out loud, people look at me out if the corners of their eyes, as if I've transgressed some fundamental taboo. But it's the truth. I'm not hiding some complicated grief reaction.
My mother disappeared when I was sixteen. The guards had walked away from the prison leaving the door unlocked. And I emerged blinking into the sunlight."

I wanted to keep this book for a while and read it when I
I've never read any of McDermid's Tony Hill series, though I did like the BBC Wire in the Blood production based on them, but I've read and enjoyed several of her standalones. Trick of the Dark is no exception. Initially I wasn't sure whether I was going to like it or not as I had difficulty finding a character to feel sympathy with or for but as the action/investigation ratcheted up I did get hooked.

This story depends on coincidences which I found myself willing to accept. I love McDermid's plo
Sep 24, 2010 Mark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: modern-fiction
Now I could be extra harsh and just give you the review of this that I gave to my girlfriend - "Too many lesbians, not enough murder," but that would sell it short somewhat and make me sound a little bigoted. Nevertheless I was disappointed by Trick of the Dark primarily because the story seemed so tame and rather slow, not up to the standards I would expect from McDermid.

A man is killed on his wedding day, seemingly bludgeoned and drowned by his two business partners. Later the victims prospec
Ishmael Seaward
The last four sentences are worthy of Alfred Hitchcock.

This is a dense book, if I can use that term. Four hundred pages of a tightly written plot, even though at times it may not seem like it.

Charlie Flint is a clinical psychiatrist, specializing in psychological profiling, who has been suspended from practice pending an investigation of her testimony at a recent trial. She gets sucked into a murder investigation at the behest of a former college tutor. The question is whether or not a person (J
Ellen Keim
I'm really having trouble convincing myself to finish this book. I'm afraid that there's going to turn out to be a perfectly logical explanation for all the deaths that have surrounded the main "suspect." I put that in quotes because it's not the police that are investigating this person; it's an out-of-work forensic psychiatrist who has been asked to do so by this person's lover's mother. Got that? Yeah, it's kind of convoluted and the whole mystery is so up in the air, it's hard to care about ...more
Oct 07, 2011 Melissa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime, 2011, ebook, lgbt
Trick of the Dark reminded me more of McDermid's early Lindsay Gordan series than her recent, gritty standalones. Although a crime novel, the spine of the book is really its many lesbian characters and their myriad love lives. It's something that would irk me just as much if they were all straight and frequently backburner-ing a serial killer to contemplate their hetero romances and affairs. I want to read crime fiction, not romance with crime draped loosely around its shoulders. Added to that, ...more
Sep 14, 2011 Alison rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This Val McDermid book has just recently become available in the US after being out in Britain for a year. Despite its so-so reviews, I gave it a try. McDermid can reliably write a page turner that makes you want to read "just one more chapter" every time you come to the end of the current chapter, even if there is a part of your mind that knows you aren't really enjoying the story at all. McDermid also usually can be counted on for a flawlessly structured plot where everything makes sense when ...more
Jan 10, 2011 Jessica rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mysteries
Dr. Charlie Flint is having a bad time. She refused to help wrongly convict a man who went on to kill four women and her medical license is under review. She loves her wife, a dentist, but feels tempted by the attentions of a flirtatious self-help expert. When her former Oxford tutor asks her to investigate her daughter's lover, Jay, a wealthy entrepreneur the professor suspects may have had a hand in the murder of her daughter's husband as well as other business rivals, Charlie takes the case, ...more
Sep 27, 2011 Margaret rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Well I got to page 64 and decided to quit - it's not that this was that bad it's just that I could not get into the characters at all. I just wasn't drawn in enough to want to know what happens. I think there was too much emphasis on everyone's relationships - the mystery element just sort of faded away to me and I didn't like the characters well enough without more plot.

I feel bad I didn't finish this but there are just too many books out there to waste time with one that is just not quite my t
Jan 14, 2011 Yellowoasis rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
I tried one of Val McDermid’s books a couple of years ago, and could not get on with it. Then this book got good reviews so I tried again. I just don’t know why she is so highly rated as a crime novelist. This is simply crime-writing-by-numbers. If it were better written, I wouldn’t have minded so much, but the dialogue is hackneyed, the plot is so well sign-posted you could drive a bus through it – what’s the big appeal here? Anyway, I plodded through the first half, increasingly irritated. Abo ...more
Babs Green
Val McDermid is one of those writers I turn to if for some reason I'm having difficulty reading. I find her books are usually page turners and this was no exception. It is not, however, her best work. I applaud her use of lesbian characters but most of them in Trick of the Dark aren't like any of the lesbians I know and love. I also feel this book is more lesbian chick lit than a crime novel or thriller. The blurb describes it as a complex and it is to some extent but I guessed who the killer wa ...more
Apr 16, 2012 Krob rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
The book would have been better if the author would have cut most of the lesbian romances and just written a good murder. I figured out the plot before it was revealed and this spoiled the ending for me. Val mcDermid usually writes better books, but this one didn't really make it. Romance and murder mysteries aren't always a good combination.
Carolyn Rose
Not every book is for every reader and, even though I've loved many of Val McDermid's other mysteries, this one wasn't for me. Many of the characters seemed flat and the lesbian sex issue seemed to overwhelm mystery and murder.
J.F. Penn
Jun 22, 2013 J.F. Penn rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: thrillers, crime
How do events from Oxford years ago reflect on a recent death, and is the public face of a well known business woman hiding a serial killer. Another great one from Val McDermid .
Jill Hutchinson
Jun 26, 2015 Jill Hutchinson rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mystery
I have loved Val McDermid's police procedurals and have read several lately. This one I should have was nothing like her other books which are clever with twists and turns in the complicated plots. In this book, the mystery, such as it is, is secondary to the plot and is full of coincidences and plot holes. Instead we have here a romance novel in which the characters, who are grown-up professionals (doctors, dentists, counselors), act like pre-teens in the throes of their first inf ...more
Mar 15, 2012 Annette rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime
Lame plot and unconvincing characters.
Lizzie Hayes
Aug 31, 2012 Lizzie Hayes rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
‘Trick of the Dark’ by Val McDermid
Published by Little Brown, September 2010. ISBN: 978-1-4087-0201-7

Charlotte (Charlie) Flint, forensic psychiatrist is in turmoil, firstly she is currently suspended awaiting a hearing by the GMC which will decide whether she can be reinstated, and secondly because she is in love, normally a happy situation, but when you have a partner of seven years, whom you still love, not so good.

She receives through the post a bundle of photocopied sheets that refer to a mu
Liz Barnsley
Apr 04, 2013 Liz Barnsley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
For me, a Val Mcdermid novel is a treat to be savoured which is why I often read them long after publication (the exception being the "Tony Hill" books which I can't stop myself from devouring in an instant!). The Hardback version of this has been sat on my shelf for a while (and boy its a good looking book) A couple of days ago I decided it was time and dived in. I tend to really enjoy Ms McDermid's stand alone novels (A Place of Execution and The Distant Echo being some of the best crime ficti ...more
Oct 02, 2012 Pam rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
As I laboured through this tome, I found it very difficult to believe I was reading the great Val McDermid.

An uneven mishmash, this couldn't decide whether it was going to evolve into a ridiculously implausible romance, or a so-so crime novel. In the end, it did neither. I just felt like giving Charlie Flint, protagonist, and purportedly Oxford grad, a slap in the head for her crazy infatuation with the enigmatic Lisa.

Jay, around whom the novel really centres, is a far more intriguing characte
Sep 21, 2014 Cas rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I usually enjoy anything by Val McDermid, but for the first time I was a little disappointed. The story was thin, too contrived to be totally convincing. Richard Russo's wonderful novels proved to me that I don't actually have to like the main character in order to enjoy a book, but actively disliking McDermid's heroine did make it hard for me to enjoy this story. Charlie Flint goes through the novel contemplating being unfaithful to her partner. Considering the starting point of the novel was h ...more
Gisela Hafezparast
Really a 3.5. Not one of Val McDermid's best, but a great read and I didn't guess the ending until very near the end. It is a pre-Tony Hill and you can see that she hasn't quite perfected the psychoanalysis of killers yet as she does in her Tony Hill books, mainly because she clearly was trying hard to hit some homophobic/lesbian issues. As always with Val McDermid some (but not all) of the characters are brilliant, making you want to know more about them. Some however, are a bit cliche.

On the w
Aug 15, 2011 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: firstreads, mystery
Trick of the Dark is an intricately plotted who-done-it, satisfyingly set in Oxford, London, and other British and Scottish locales. That gives American readers not only an intelligent puzzle to work out but also a trip to jolly new Great Britain. It's the story of Dr. Charlie Flint, a disgraced psychiatrist whose testimony set a murderer free. She's wrestling with that angst, but also flirting with betraying her wonderful wife, Maria, for the sultry, mixed-message charms of Lisa.

(Oh, did I ment
Oct 17, 2010 Susan rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was very disappointed with this most recent McDermid book ~ after waiting for it to hit Oz shelves for what felt like a.g.e.s.
It seemed to be a more gay activist/support theme, than of the 'noire' genre for which Val is so well known and respected.
I wondered several times throughout if she had employed a ghost writer because this book is so very different from her usual style.
I found it very slow and hard to get into. There were so many characters introduced quickly that I found myself a bit c
Feb 06, 2015 Karen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Val McDermid is one of my favorite writers. This book is no exception to the rule! An intelligent, well written story, with several twists and turns, it kept me guessing until the end. A very good read.
Jan 11, 2013 Fiona rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: crime-fiction
Very disappointing effort from Val Mcdermid. A plot full of circumstantial nonsense and an outcome which insults even the most gullible reader. Add to that, the author's obsession with what her characters' hands are doing to the ludicrous notion that the Skye Bridge would ever be considered a 'bridge across the Atlantic'. Come on, Val! The Skye Bridge crosses Loch Alsh, not the Atlantic. Reminds me of an assertion in one of her novels many, many moons ago that there are no green spaces in Glasgo ...more
Oct 06, 2012 Aoife rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I'm being generous. This book doesn't start for 200 pages. I felt I achieved something just by finishing it and I really wanted to be taken somewhere but this felt contrived. The was a lot of internalised angst and a lot of exposition. It felt like a book that had to be written by a due date and was pushed out to order. A pity, this could have been a tighter, shorter story. The policeman character felt placed because the writer had a plot problem. I didn't buy the 40 somethings behaving like te
Mary Ellen
Mar 07, 2016 Mary Ellen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I rarely give a book 5 stars. I picked up this book because Val McDermaid is becoming one of my favorite authors of mysteries. Her mysteries are well crafted. Her characters are 3-dimentional.

It dawned on me, about half way through the book, that this book is all about women. The protagonists are all women. A few are beautiful and young and many are not. The characters work. They run. They cook. They meet friends for drinks. They climb mountains. They drive and ride trains. The central characte
The book is fine. The way Val McDermid places cliffhangers here and there throughout the text is admirable. Even though the plot is quite ordinary, and 80% of all the twists and turns are not that shocking or unpredictable, I still kept turning page after page because the author manipulated me into that with her mastery of word. Though, I admit, the ending was rather unexpected.
The book ended up as an enjoyable experience. I think, I would look through other books by the same author in the futur
May 05, 2014 Lorna rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Considering it's been a while since I last read anything by Val McDermid I tend to forget what a truly great storyteller she is. The stand alone thrillers of her's that I've read before have varied from being a great read to an outstanding mnd blowing experience.
What gets me is for a seasoned thriller reader such as myself your mind starts to consider all the possible outcomes, especially when it comes to the classic question of "whodunnit?" There is a certain level of satisfaction you get when
Apr 18, 2011 Donna rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I was quite suprised that this was a Val McDermid book, as this did not read like one of her books at all. I found that the lesbian action dominated the book, when I was expecting more of a murder mystery, and the plot was somewhat unbelievable. Magda meeting Jay on her wedding day in the school toilets, and then deciding that she was a lesbian then and there? weird......I seemed quite slow, and never seemed to build to a climax, it just plodded along. Disappointing overall........
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Val McDermid is a No. 1 bestseller whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have sold over eleven million copies.

She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009 and was the recipient of the CWA Cart
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