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Beneath the Bleeding: A Novel

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Val Mcdermid

McDermid's exhilarating fifth novel to feature Det. Chief Insp. Carol Jordan and Dr. Tony Hill (afterThe Torment of Others) finds Tony in the hospital after being attacked by an ax-wielding patient. Tony's eager to distract himself with Carol's latest … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Val Mcdermid
Genre: Mystery & Thrillers
Publisher: Harper Paperbacks
1 review about Beneath the Bleeding: A Novel

Atmospheric, complex psychological mystery

  • Oct 26, 2009
Badly wounded while saving co-workers from an ax-wielding maniac, Dr. Tony Hill is recuperating at the same hospital where a star footballer is dying from ricin poisoning. Widely beloved, 26-year-old Robbie Bishop doesn't seem to have an enemy in the world - at least not one DCI Carol Jordan or her team can find. Nor can they find any other traces of ricin.

Fans of the previous four books in the series (and the several PBS mini series based on them) will be familiar with the fraught relationship between Hill and Jordan - unspoken love and a deep, sometimes combative friendship between two damaged, ambitious people. As coworkers they often disagree, but respect each other's abilities. Jordan follows the evidence, Hill burrows into the psyche. "Where there was no obvious motive, it was his talent to tease out meaning."

As Jordan and her well-developed team dig out evidence, Hill pieces together a serial killer, which Jordan flatly refuses to believe or pursue. Meanwhile McDermid segues to the point of view of a young Muslim plotting a bombing, which will soon bring in the sharp-elbowed, jack-booted anti-terrorism squad.

As usual, the workings of Hill's mind are intricate and logical, in a skewed sort of way, and the plot is intriguingly baffling. The political aspect adds a noisy dimension, particularly in the rivalry and one-upmanship between departments.

Jordan, however, is a bit tiresome. Sure, she rescues Hill from his horrible mother, but her obstinacy regarding his theories is illogical while her territoriality adds unconvincing tension. Then there's the inevitable alcohol. The tormented, driven, alcoholic cop - once a complicated character - has become a bit of a cliché.

But, warts and all, McDermid delivers an atmospheric, convoluted, cinematic tale worth telling.

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