Luanne Ollivier's Reviews > The Retribution

The Retribution by Val McDermid
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Jan 04, 12

Read in January, 2012

Wow...Val McDermid's latest book, The Retribution, was literally a non-stop read for me. Picked it up in the morning and finished late that night.

Now, I don't know if you're familiar with this fantastic Scottish author, but if you love crime novels, she's an author you want to read. She has written three series, but my favourites are the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan books. A television series - Wire in the Blood - is also based on these characters.

In The Retribution, Hill, a psychological profiler and Jordan, a Detective Inspector with the MIT - major incident team - are stunned to learn that Jacko Vance, a charismatic serial killer they imprisoned, has escaped. Jacko - "killer of seventeen teenage girls, murderer of a serving police officer and a man once voted the sexiest man on British TV", promised he would seek retribution against those who put him away. At the same time, the MIT is working to solve the gruesome murders of local prostitutes. All this while the higher ups have decided to dismantle the crack team Carol has put together, due to budget constraints.

These two characters have always fascinated me. Neither one of them completely 'fits' into society, especially Tony. "When he interviewed the psychopaths that became his patients, he heard so many echoes of his own empty childhood. It was, he thought, the reason he was so good at what he did. He understood them because he had come within a hair's breadth of being them." The tenuous building of the relationship between Carol and Tony has been building over the course of the series. We get to know more of what makes Tony tick in this offering. My opinion of Carol changes from book to book - still no final opinion. The MIT team is filled with interesting support characters with their own stories.

Vance is a diabolical character. We are privy to his plans and thoughts and they are truly disturbing. The second case involving the prostitutes was good but had a bit of a 'filler' feel to it. That being said, McDermid's plotlines are always ingenious, complex and gritty. I was caught a bit off guard by the ending of the book, but then again, I like it when an author can keep me on my toes.

Definitely recommended.
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