Professor Fiona Cameron is an academic psychologist who uses computer technology to help police forces track serial offenders. She used to help the Met, but vowed never to work for them again when they went against her advice and badly screwed up an investigation as a consequence. Still smarting from the experience, she's working a case in Toledo when her lover, thriller writer Kit Martin, tells her a fellow crime novelist has been murdered. It's not her case, but Fiona can't help taking an interest.
Which is just as well, because before too long the killer strikes again. And again. And Fiona is caught up in a race against time, not only to save a life, but to bring herself redemption, both personal and professional.
Rich in atmosphere, Killing the Shadows uses the backdrops of city and country to create an air of threatening menace, culminating in a tense confrontation between hunter and hunted, a confrontation that can have only one outcome.
©2002 Val McDermid; (P)2005 Brilliance Audio, Inc.
I read a lot of mysteries containing explicit violence. But there is a point at which mutilations and killings become too gruesome and take up so much of the book that skipping over the extreme violence leaves you with hardly anything to read. I suspect that publishers require their authors to top the level of "gruesomeness" in each new book. That is regrettable.
I doubt I'm alone in my growing avoidance of books like "Killing the Shadow". Only so much prolonged, repetitive, excruciatingly graphic and detailed descriptions of mutilations/murders can be tolerated. I only wish there was a violence rating scale so that I didn't accidentally buy books like this one.
What better subject could there be for a mystery writer than a serial killer targetting mystery writers? Yet this book suffers from significant plot weaknesses--basically, characters must display incredible stupidity or stubborness for the plot to advance. The underlining motive of the villain was, in my view, ridiculous. That said, there were moments of suspense, and some interesting characterizations. The narration was fine. This was the first book I've read by McDermid. I had high hopes because of her Diamond Dagger win (lifetime achievement from the British Crime Writers Assoc.), but I was disappointed. I'll probably give another book a chance, but I won't rush to do so.
Light on story, heavy on emotion. Predictable. Narrator makes this worse. Her voice for the guys makes them sound like drag queen parodies.
I have read other Val McDermoid and enjoyed them. This one was nauseating.
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