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The Mermaids Singing

(Tony Hill & Carol Jordan #1)

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  15,640 Ratings  ·  945 Reviews
Val McDermid stunned readers and critics alike with the publication of her brilliant thriller, A PLACE OF EXECUTION, which was a finalist for the prestigious Edgar Award. Now, in THE MERMAIDS SINGING, she continues her trademark ingenuity for suspense, and introduces criminal profiler Tony Hill, who has spent years exploring the psyches of madmen. But now he's become one o ...more
Paperback, 364 pages
Published June 17th 2002 by St. Martin's Paperbacks (first published 1995)
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Mohammed Arabey
Jan 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mohammed by: Lema
That's how this novel was recommended for me;

This series is perfect for fans of The X-Files and Cormoran Strike.
Like I'm not obsessed enough..

And now I pass the recommendation for every “Criminal Profiling” cases fans..from the early “Jack the Ripper’s Case, Sherlock’s Cases, to Scarlet from 'Silence of the Lambs'.

The art of getting INSIDE the Criminal's'll experience it here.. depressingly well.

This is my first read for Val McDermid, and she truly surprised me.
She gives the characte
Apr 25, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 1st-of-series
4.5 stars

This book, unbelievably, had been on my to-be-read shelf for almost 4 years. I’ve decided I’m going to be reading mostly books off my personal list this year, and this was a very easy first pick.

Holy cow, this novel is intense! If you do not like dark and twisted, stay away from this one. The story features a serial killer with very grotesque and sickening methods. DI Carol Jordan is paired with the new guy, forensic psychologist Dr. Tony Hill, as part of the team assigned to track the
Mar 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 4000-books
I have been meaning to get around to this one for years. Having been an avid fan of the TV show I am really not sure why it has taken me so long! Anyway at last I picked it up and read it and I am very glad I did.
The TV series was good but the book is better. There is some really brutal stuff in it but I skimmed over the bits that really disturbed me. The killer uses instruments of torture which are really appalling to imagine, but leaving some of the descriptions of them unread did not spoil th
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the first time I’ve read a Val McDermid book, and now I see why she is an international #1 bestselling, award-winning author. What took me so freakin' long?!

This book is so well written and the characters fully fleshed out. I found the development of the psychological profile fascinating. Some of the chapters in this book are pages from the antagonist's diary. The book starts with the very first entry and showed me that this guy is one of the most sinister antagonists I’ve ever encounter
May 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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.
4.5 stars
Several years ago now, I read the T.S. Eliot poem from which this book takes its title, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock" and... well, I cannot really call myself a poetry fan. I liked it well enough, in that I finished it and didn't HATE it, but... I just don't have the patience for poetry. I dislike reading in verse, I am terrible at picking out symbolism and metaphor... Poetry and I just don't mesh.

But... having reread the poem after finishing this book, I appreciate it so much
Jun 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
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.
João Carlos

Val McDermid (n. 1955)

Alguns Spoilers

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 caracterizaçã
A chilling, thrilling, E-Ticket ride! Val McDermid does not disappoint in the first entry of her Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series. The diary entries from the killer are some of the most chilling things I have read. His research in to medieval torture devices is both fascinating and sickening at the same time. I have to admit there were a couple times where I had to put the book down just from the sheer anticipation of what was coming next. The interaction between Dr. Hill and Inspector Jordan is gr ...more
Jill Hutchinson
Oct 18, 2018 rated it really liked it
WHEW!!!! This book grabs you and won't let go. This is the first in the continuing series of DI Carol Jordan and criminal profiler Dr. Tony Hill and I don't think any other of the books (I have read a couple) is as intense or as graphic as this one.

Four young men, who have no connection to each other, are found, battered and broken and obviously tortured horribly before they were killed. There is a serial killer on the loose and has committed the perfect far. Although the police h
Lorraine Southern
Jan 25, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
5/85, 4 1/2 stars! ****.*

I can't believe it's taken me so long to discover Val McDermid's books, especially seeing as I was an avid fan of the Wire In The Blood tv series!!
This one was dark, twisted, fast-paced, complex, gruesome, a tad stereotypical at times (but then, it WAS written in the mid-90s), extremely well written, and a great combo of police procedure and psychological thriller. I KIND of guessed whodunnit about 3/4s of the way through, but didn't get it QUITE right! Nice twist ;)
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
Mar 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
Jan 10, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 23, 2012 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
Jun 26, 2015 rated it liked it
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.
Sep 20, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
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
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!


John Wiltshire
Jun 24, 2016 rated it did not like it
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
Jun 05, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: nick-s-gifts, mystery
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
Jun 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
Not really a review, but about 50 pages from the end of the book I realised I had seen the Wire in the Blood episode of this one. Took me a while. Still really enjoyed it anyway.
Viji  (Bookish endeavors)
Dec 28, 2014 rated it really liked it

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
Jan 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Mark Hodder
Feb 16, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
I'm astounded. Val McDermid is one of the luminaries of British crime fiction. This novel has predominantly four and five star ratings on Goodreads. It won the CWA Award for best crime novel of 1995. It formed the basis for a TV series. And ... it's really not very good. The writing is, at best, unsophisticated. All the characters speak with exactly the same voice, and they all express themselves like bad actors in an amateur dramatics production, constantly addressing each other by name in a ma ...more
Emma Sea
Apr 29, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Sep 16, 2016 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
Feb 04, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Weird and revolting. Loved it. Val McDermid is great. I will continue to read this series. Interested to see where it goes.
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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

Other books in the series

Tony Hill & Carol Jordan (10 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)
  • Insidious Intent (Tony Hill & Carol Jordan, #10)
“It's only hunting you that keeps me from being you.” 5 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.” 5 likes
More quotes…