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Trick of the Dark

3.39 of 5 stars 3.39  ·  rating details  ·  1,418 ratings  ·  245 reviews
When Charlie Flint is sent a mysterious package of press cuttings about a brutal murder, it instantly grabs her attention. A groom was battered to death just hours after his wedding. As Charlie delves deeper into the case, she realises there is much more to this crime than meets the eye.
Hardcover, 448 pages
Published 2010 by Little Brown
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"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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
Barbara 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
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
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
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
Lame plot and unconvincing characters.
Lizzie Hayes
‘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 Wilkins
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
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
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
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
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
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.

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
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
Val McDermid erzählt in Alle Rache will Ewigkeit die Geschichte von Charlie Flint, einer Profilerin in UK, die gerade vom Dienst suspendiert ist, weil man ihr Nachlässigkeit im Dienst vorwirft. Sie bekommt Post mit Zeitungsausschnitten über einen brutalen Mord in Oxford - ihre alte Professorin ruft sie zu Hilfe, weil ihre Tochter die Ehefrau des Ermordeten ist und sie nicht an die Schuld derjenigen glaubt, die für den Mord verhaftet und verurteilt worden sind. Zunächst erscheint Charlie das alle ...more
Charmaine Elliott
The fact that there were Lesbians in this books neither added to nor detracted from the murder - thriller aspects. I rather liked the deviation from the heterosexual stereotypes and would compliment Val Mc Dermid for experimenting with untypical characters. I feel that she got the angst and attractions right, even though the ladies were not like-able people for whom I felt any sympathy. The whole was adequate - easy enough to listen to at my convenience - neither was a driven by a need to urgent ...more
I'm a bit unsure about this book. I don't think it'll ever be my favourite 'Val' book. Nevertheless the plot was very believable as were the characters. The last 50 pages were very fast and furious. It had a satisfying ending.
Sherry Mackay
Somewhat disappointing. It is mainly a lesbian love story which I find really boring. Not so much the lesbian bit but the fact that it is a tedious and badly-written love story. The characters are acting like love sick adolescents with no moral compass. There is not much logic in the whole thing and not much mystery. At one point without any explanation the woman investigating these murders suddenly protects another woman whom she is pretty sure is a serial killer. Hah? Why? If I wanted to read ...more
Lucy Barnhouse
I was seriously disappointed in this book; McDermid is usually better than this at pacing, at atmosphere, at crafting a compelling whodunit. I felt as though I spent most of the book mired in the relationship-related angst of characters who were neither particularly sympathetic nor particularly interesting. In elements ranging from the overall plot structure (unconventional graduate of Oxford women's college, surrounded by scandal and at a personal/professional crossroads, returns to her alma ma ...more
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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
More about Val McDermid...
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