How The Dead Speak by Val McDermid
eBook review copy; 416 pages
Tony Hill and Carol Jordan #11
How The Dead Speak by Val McDermid is a highly recommended eleventh procedural thriller featuring psychological profiler Tony Hill and ex-DCI Carol Jordan. This follows events from Insidious Intent (2017).
Tony is behind bars for manslaughter and Carol's
no longer with the Bradfield Metropolitan Police, the regional major
incident team is under the leadership of Detective Chief Inspector
Rutherford, who is hostile to members who worked under Carol. Rutherford
sends team members out to investigate when construction crews uncover children’s skeletons on the former grounds of the Order of the
Blessed Pearl convent. For DI Paula McIntyre the question of what
happened becomes even more tangled when the bodies of young men are
found buried in a different area of the convent grounds. At the same
time, Tony is working on his book and trying to find a way to use his
talents to help the prison population. Carol is finally dealing with her
PTSD, when she is pulled into two different investigations.
The various plots and sub-plots are told through the points-of-view
of several different characters and presented in short chapters.
Basically, there are four different major plot-strands, with several
sub-plot-threads in them. It is a complicated novel, but the sub-plots
do begin to merge and coalesce into a conclusion. In spite of the twists
and complexity of the story lines, the investigations are as compelling
as the characters and will hold your attention. A nice touch is the headings on the chapters which feature a quote from the book Tony is currently writing in prison.
Once you reach the eleventh book in a series, the characters are
developed and well-known to fans. The question is more how new comers to
the series will relate to a novel so deep into character development
over many years. There are moments where, if this was your first novel
in the series, you will be confused and a bit lost among the characters,
their abilities and flaws. Carefully reading will likely help you get
the jest of it all, but not as if you were there from the beginning. I
jumped into the series with just the previous book, Insidious Intent, so I had a few moments.
McDermid is an excellent writer and does write an adroitly plotted
novel that will hold your attention throughout as each chapter switches
to a new sub-plot and is told through a different point-of-view.
It is a well-paced novel. There are enough twists and surprising
revelations to keep you glued to the pages and the various lines of
inquiry of each investigation. While everything isn't neatly wrapped up
in the end, I felt that it concluded on a satisfactory note and left
room for the next book in the series.
My review copy was courtesy of Grove/Atlantic.