The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid

Image Description: book-cover of the Auido-book format of The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid. The title text and the author text (in white) take up most of the cover, the cover has a yellow sepia-tint to it, but I think it's a picture of farm-yard or pasture with a delapidated brick building in it.
Title: The Mermaids Singing (Book #1 of the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan Series)
Author: Val McDermid
Social Media: Facebook, Goodreads and Twitter
Publisher: Whole Story Audiobooks
Format and Price: Audiobook at $14.95
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

About The Author:
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 Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2010. In 2011 she received the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award. She writes full-time and divides her time between Cheshire and Edinburgh.

About The Book:
You always remember the first time. Isn’t that what they say about sex? How much more true it is of murder…Up till now, the only serial killers Tony Hill had encountered were safely behind bars. This one’s different – this one’s on the loose.Four men have been found mutilated and tortured. As fear grips the city, the police turn to clinical psychologist Tony Hill for a profile of the killer. But soon Tony becomes the unsuspecting target in a battle of wits and wills where he has to use every ounce of his professional nerve to survive.A tense, beautifully written psychological thriller, The Mermaids Singing explores the tormented mind of a serial killer unlike any the world of fiction has ever seen.

General Observations:
~The Sliding Scale of Plot VS Character: The novel actually manages to have a great mixture of Plot and Character, although, I personal feel it does fall towards the Character end of the spectrum. Due to the nature of Dr Tony Hill’s work, the reader does spend a lot of time inside psychologist’s head. but I found this interesting and engaging.

I really enjoyed the dual perspective of Dr Tony Hill and Inspector Carol Jordan, they work well together and bounce off each others strengths and weaknesses, however, I wish the novel didn’t dwell so much on the Unresolved Sexual Tension between them. I hope the 2nd book doesn’t focus on this as much, but I suspect this will be a long-standing feature of the series.

~Time Marches On: Most of the book centers around moving towards new methods or technology like computers and psychological profiles, and away from old problematic methods the police force have become accustomed to using, however, this book was published in 1995, and I found it rather jarring to read about “cutting edge technology” that involved CD-ROM drives and saving documents to floppy disks. In fact, it made me laugh a little bit, okay fine, I laughed a lot.

~Problematic Elements: The book gave me the impression that labels such as transgender and transsexual either mean the same thing or are interchangeable, but from the small amount of research I’ve done, these labels are not interchangeable (for more information on labels, here’s a link). This could just be a combination of language changing over time and me looking too much into it, however, I feel it’s better to mention this kind of stuff up front, that way it doesn’t creep up on people unexpectedly.

While I don’t want to spoil the ending, I’m also unsure about the Villain in question, there are parts me that think it’s great. There’s clearly been a lot of thought put into it and it’s a great plot twist, but there’s also a part of me that finds it questionable. If you’ve read the book, let me know in the comments section below what you think.

In conclusion, a good first book into a series, engaging female main-character, and the plot is gripping and interesting, however, I recommend the paperback format over the audio-book, the voice-actor was okay, but I suspect the voice actor might not work for everyone.

Available for Purchase: Amazon | Audible | Book Depository | Kobo Books

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