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The Mermaids Singing (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan #1)

3.99  ·  Rating Details ·  11,807 Ratings  ·  665 Reviews

This was the summer he discovered what he wantedat a gruesome museum of criminology far off the beaten track of more timid tourists. Visions of torture inspired his fantasies like a muse. It would prove so terribly fulfilling.

The bodies of four men have been discovered in the town of Bradfield. Enlisted to investigate is criminal psychologist Tony Hill. Even for a seasoned

Kindle Edition, 444 pages
Published (first published 1995)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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May 25, 2010 Tracey rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone that loves BBC "Wire in the Blood" series
Shelves: mystery, kook
This was fantastic. It had a little bit of this


and a little bit of that


and lets not forget this


It was nice to see men being the victims for once. It was disturbing at times, and maybe that was why I loved it.
Moira Russell
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
aPriL does feral sometimes

Many sensitive types should not read this novel.

First, there is lots of explicit torture. On the other hand, it's not gratuitous, in my opinion. However, it keeps on coming. As someone who reads a GREAT deal, of course I've come across historical and explicit descriptions of torture before. The Spanish Inquisition truly used incredibly awful devices of torture in real life, and the bad guy in this book, a serial killer of young men, builds such devices to use in his murders, having studie
Jean Coldwell
Mar 09, 2015 Jean Coldwell rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Mermaids Singing is Val McDermid’s first in a series of Tony Hill and Carol Jordan novels, and I must confess that I have mixed feelings about this one. It is certainly well written and is, without a doubt, a fascinating combination of police procedural and psychological thriller.

Men are being murdered in the fictional city of Bradfield, England, and their mutilated bodies are being dumped in the Temple Fields area where the gay bars are located. After the third body is found, Assistant Chi
Dec 26, 2015 Sylvia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
After reading Beneath the Bleeding I knew I had to consume as many of these books as possible, so I continued onto The Mermaids Singing and finished it around 4 o' clock in the morning, having been so engrossed I completely lost all sense of time.

McDermid has a strong grasp of human psychology and her characters are realistic, down-to-earth and with all the gritty, dirty bits that make up a human life. Each and every character seems to breathe from the page, whether they're in the book for two
Jul 25, 2015 Gary rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have only read a couple of Val McDermid's books but have enjoyed them and intend to read more in the future.This is the 1st book in the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series and is an excellent start. The characters are meaty and I can imagine they offer a lot of chances to develop further in future books. Quite gruesome in places as it describes a killer who is obsessed with ancient torture methods. I feel confident that this series will only get better.
Neide Parafitas
Sem dúvida um livro que mexeu comigo, tal era o horror descrito nas mais variadas situações em que o assassino colocava as suas vítimas!


Jun 12, 2015 Giulio rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery, nick-s-gifts
I completely lost all sense of time and I had to stay up till late because I couldn’t sleep without finishing this book.

(view spoiler)

Despite the fact that this was an uncomfortable and at times disquieting read, I really liked it.

Slightly politically incorrect, probably due to the fact that it has been published many years ago

‘Not all ga
João Carlos

Val McDermid

1 - Nunca tinha lido nenhum livro da escritora escocesa Val McDermid (n. 1955);
2 – “O Canto das Sereias” foi publicado originalmente em 1995;
3 – É um thriller com uma construção narrativa muito interessante, alternando os capítulos entre as principais personagens, conferindo a evolução da investigação criminal, com as descrições dos pensamentos e estados de espírito do assassino, a sua mentalidade e o seu planeamento, com recurso a uma excelente caracterização dos intervenientes, des
Maria João Fernandes
"Como é óbvio, a descoberta de que se tem um talento natural para alguma coisa não significa necessariamente que devamos seguir cegamente esse caminho."

Val McDermid deve ter pensado o oposto desta citação do seu livro, seguindo assim o caminho do seu talento natural, a escrita. Mas terá ela esse talento? Já há muito tempo que tinha curiosidade em conhecer a autora, tão aclamada no género policial. Infelizmente, o seu primeiro livro da série de Tony Hill e Carol Jordan revelou-se uma desilusão tã
Emma Sea
I probably should have appreciated this more than I did. The problem is it's 20+ years old, and I'm coming to it after a lifetime's exposure to crime dramas and novels. I'm not sure there's anything left for McDermid to say in this one that I haven't heard before. And again, this is a vintage thing, but when Carol calls the murderer, (view spoiler) ...more
Viji Sarath (Bookish endeavors)

Oh.! So this is how Tony Hill met Carol Jordan..! Having read the sequels in the series before reading the first ones,I was quite impressed by the chemistry the duo shared,and it seems a pleasant thing to read about their first meeting after a long while. There was a time when all I was interested in was psychological thrillers.. My days were divided between Patricia Cornwell and Keith Ablow and Val McDermid and Mo Hayder.. Day in and day out with serial killers.. Lots of coffee and chips.. Gett
Mike Gabor
Jul 24, 2013 Mike Gabor rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: british-mystery
This is the book which introduced Tony Hill and Carol Jordan. Four men are brutaly slain. Ther tortured and mangled bodies are left in the gay community. At first the police are reluctant to label the muders as a serial killing however, as the bodies begin to pile up they are forced to call in profiler Tony Hill. He teams up with DI Carol Jordan and attempts to get to the bottom of these killings.

I enjoyed this book immensely however, be warned that the murders are quite violent and the author d
Feb 05, 2008 Bill rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There were a couple of visitors to my site who had recommended this one. Thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

The serial killer sub-genre has certainly been watered down over the years, so I usually take a grain of salt before trying a new one, half-expecting the same old cliches. Almost always I can find some bit of dialogue or a lucky break in a case that makes me roll my eyes but I could find nothing like that in this tale.

This is an entirely believable story, with entirely believable characters
Oh, yuck, this book.

I have quite a strong stomach. It's not that impressive or anything, but I'm not incredibly easily shocked. This book, however, was more than I could bear. I like books and TV that take a look at the darker side of life, but the torture scenes were unneccessary and extremely gratuitous (sp?). It seemed like McDermid wrote it to shock. The killer lacked nuances and did not interest me in the slightest; s/he may as well have had a mustache to twiddle. There was no depth to thei
Sep 29, 2009 Lightreads rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, lgbt, mystery
The books on which Wire in the Blood is based. British clinical psychologist teams up with copper to profile serial killers. All expected elements present and accounted for – hostile police brass, sexual "tension," personal issues.

Yawn. And that's pretty impressive, considering books featuring a maladjusted trouble-magnet who does criminal profiling are a huge weakness of mine. But I don't think my emotional needle so much as quivered, except for occasional flickers of annoyed disgust at the vi
Sep 16, 2016 Antonella rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Thriller vero, raccontato a due voci.
L'io narrante, quello scritto in corsivo, è ricco di particolari e decisamente per stomaci forti.
Il resto, in terza persona, narra la vicenda, le indagini, le azioni degli altri.
Personaggi ben delineati e caratterizzati, situazioni descritte con dovizia di particolari.
In me ha suscitato empatia: spesso - infatti - ho avuto la sensazione di muovermi al fianco dei personaggi o di essere dentro le loro teste a seguirne i pensieri, a viverne le sensazioni.
Ben co
Sep 13, 2009 stormhawk rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kindle
Every now and again you start reading a mystery that sneaks up on you and punches you in the gut, leaving you gasping for air. The Mermaids Singing is exactly that kind of a novel. Tony Hill, a psychologist specializing in serial killers gets called into three ongoing investigations that the police are resisting linking to one killer.

The result is an exciting read, one that keeps you awake, both because of the stark horror of the killer's desire, but also because you cannot put the book down. E
John Wiltshire
Jul 01, 2016 John Wiltshire rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: given-up-on
I've read this one before. I got quite far into the series, I seem to remember. It's on my Kindle. Light reading for travelling. I'll update when done...
Huh, I now remember why I gave up on this series. I must be in a minority here because I know these books are held up as masterpieces of the genre, but I don't like them. I don't like pornographic violence (torture porn). I love gore; horror; crime; deviant psychology; and all the other elements of great serial killing novels, but I don't like r
Hazel McHaffie
Nov 27, 2012 Hazel McHaffie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I went to hear Val McDermid speaking at the Edinburgh International Book Festival this year, so I thought I ought to dip into her writing before too long a time elapsed. My chance came when I found The Mermaids Singing in a secondhand bookshop on Pitlochry railway station.
It's very well written, tight, tense, balanced and certainly had the pages turning for me. The bodies of four young men are found brutally tortured and mutilated. The clinical psychologist brought in to profile the killer is h
Oct 20, 2013 Ana rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
“O Canto das Sereias” de Val McDermid, foi publicado originalmente em 1995.
É um livro com uma construção narrativa muito interessante. Um livro tenso e emocionante, com detalhes requintados de um sadismo atroz.
“O Canto das Sereias” não é um livro confortável para ler.
É um bom livro policial, apesar de não ser excelente...
Joanne Sheppard
The Mermaids Singing is my second foray into Val McDermid's work; my first was one of her standalone novels but The Mermaids Singing is the first in her Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series, on which ITV's Wire In The Blood is based. I've never seen Wire In The Blood, so came to this book with no real preconceptions about what to expect.

The novel is a gritty thriller about a serial killer torturing and murdering men before dumping their bodies in the gay district of a northern town. Institutional homop
This one is over my gruesome quotient. You won't fall out of interest to what happens next, and the psychological analysis is not exactly "wrong"- but it is troublesome. This series is not for the faint of heart or cozy mystery readers.
Feb 27, 2016 Carol/Bonadie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
First in the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan British police procedural. Very graphic and brutal, told partly from the point-of-view of the serial killer. That and Tony Hill’s flaws made it difficult for me,, and there were some red herrings that weren’t quite clear to me at the end. Still, I couldn’t put it down. The level of explicit violence reminds me of the Karin Slaughter series, which I never continued past book one in the series. This series I’ll continue with, but not sure when. I was not wild ab ...more
Katrina Davies
Jul 05, 2016 Katrina Davies rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"It didn't last as long as I'd expected. Surprisingly, Adam proved more fragile than the German Shepherd. Once he'd lapsed into unconsciousness following the dislocation of his limbs, he proved impossible to rouse. I waited for hours, but nothing seemed to bring him round; not pain, not cold water, not warmth. I was disappointed, I admit it. His pain had been a mere shadow of mine, his punishment not enough for the betrayal that occasioned it."

A dangerous and calculating killer has Bradfield pol
Apr 21, 2014 Matt rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Choosing to tackle a new series, I was drawn to Val McDermid and the premise behind it. Pairing a police detective and a criminal psychologist is by no means new, but the British angle was a fresh approach for me and one that seems to work well. McDermid takes the reader down the path of numerous sub-plots while presenting a fascinating main tale to capture the attention of all who dare to explore. When men are found murdered in predominantly gay hangouts, the police are baffled as to where they ...more
Jul 28, 2012 David rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good. Bigoted coppers. Murder of men in gay areas. It has it all, and the literary introduction of Tony Hill and Coral Jordan.
the premise of the story is good, someone is murdering and torturing young men and dumping their bodies in area frequented by gay men. The local police force won't/don't want to use the serial killer words. Till their head decides to bring Hill. Then it snowballs when the fourth body is copper.
One of the coppers leading the investigation is very old-fashioned in his
Max Rudenko
After I've finished reading this novel I had some conflicting and contradictory feelings and thoughts. Having pondered over them for a while now, I'm ready to share the following thoughts.
Overall I liked this book. It is rather good police thriller, especially it being a first work in this series. However, there were some annoying problems. First of all, it's very unevenly paced. The story starts very slowly and drags for the first three quarters almost without any development but then wraps up
Liz Barnsley
Sep 13, 2013 Liz Barnsley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So with great anticipation I set off on my re-read of all Val McDermids novels and I began with “The Mermaids Singing” the first in the series featuring Tony Hill and Carol Jordan.

In Bradfield the bodies of four men have been discovered…with the police reluctant to link them Dr Tony Hill is already certain that a serial killer is operating in the area. When forward thinking ACC John Bradfield enlists Tony’s help to profile the killer, he is teamed up with Carol Jordan and so begins their story…

Paula Cappa
This is not a badly written book, but I had to stop reading it because of the vile nature of the content. A serial killer performing ritualistic torture, genital mutilations, branding, dislocating limbs, disembowelment, etc. using medieval tools against the gay community. This is not entertaining in my opinion and the murder mystery part was not all that compelling. I skipped ahead to the ending to confirm who I thought was the killer and was right. So, it's fairly predictable, which I would not ...more
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Kindle English My...: The Mermaids Singing, by Val McDermid 1 9 Nov 20, 2015 12:06AM  
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Tony Hill & Carol Jordan (9 books)
  • The Wire in the Blood (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #2)
  • The Last Temptation (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #3)
  • The Torment of Others (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #4)
  • Beneath the Bleeding (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #5)
  • Fever of the Bone (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #6)
  • The Retribution (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #7)
  • Cross and Burn (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #8)
  • Splinter the Silence (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #9)

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“It's only hunting you that keeps me from being you.” 1 likes
“You know, I've often wondered. It's pretty clear what they were up to in Sodom, but what do you suppose the sin of Gomorrah was?' Carol asked.” 1 likes
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