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Publisher's Summary

The bodies of four men have been discovered in the town of Bradfield. Enlisted to investigate is criminal psychologist Tony Hill. Even for a seasoned professional, the series of mutilation sex murders is unlike anything he's encountered before. But profiling the psychopath is not beyond him. Hill's own past has made him the perfect man to comprehend the killer's motives. It's also made him the perfect victim. A game has begun for the hunter and the hunted. But as Hill confronts his own hidden demons, he must also come face-to-face with an evil so profound he may not have the courage - or the power - to stop it....

©1995 Val McDermid (P)1996 ISIS Publishing Ltd.

Critic Reviews

"Complex...powerful...psychologically terrifying...impossible to put down." (Publishers Weekly)
"Exciting, rapid-fire...a satisfying descent into the territory of a twisted mind." (Booklist )
"Compelling and shocking…." (Minette Walters)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    238
  • 4 Stars
    246
  • 3 Stars
    132
  • 2 Stars
    36
  • 1 Stars
    59

Performance

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    275
  • 4 Stars
    203
  • 3 Stars
    85
  • 2 Stars
    22
  • 1 Stars
    49

Story

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    226
  • 4 Stars
    218
  • 3 Stars
    104
  • 2 Stars
    38
  • 1 Stars
    52
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Ewww, ick! Couldn't finish it - too creepy

I'll admit I didn't listen to much of this book - the sexual serial killer who is the narrator was just too creepy and ugly for me to listen to for very long. If this wasn't a part of a 3-for-2 special, I'd return it as un-listenable for me. I'd heard very good things about this author and was trying to test out one of her books, and perhaps it wouldn't have been so bad if I was reading it rather than listening to it - with the tone of voice and inflections that brought it to life. I might try out another of her novels, another time, but this was was too much for me.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Great Series

I like to follow series. This is probably the most consistent in quality story to story. Thus far not a dud in the lot. I gave this one a 4 but for me they all come very close to 5 stars. I highly recommend this series for extended reading.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

On the fence maybe a 2 and a half

Tony is not very likable, the story was very predictable. Previous reviews about the graphic nature were in my opinion correct. However, it was at least engrossing in a way.

I am getting tired of every new police procedural and/or detective novel being about a serial killer, move on to something else.

3 of 5 people found this review helpful

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  • Story

Love the characters, a bit grisly

Really enjoyed the characters, they felt real and genuine. The villain was a bit too real. Could have used less detail of his acts. Wanted to hear more about Carol and Tony. Hope another story at worked for more epilogue. Was able to figure it out, but I think most will not until the end. A fair trick.

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It's rare that a book leaves me on the edge of my seat

And even more rare that the story is enhanced by the narrator. This book definitely did both of these things for me.

  • Overall
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  • Story
  • Linda
  • Bowie, MD, United States
  • 03-15-17

Dark Torture with Light Moments

Whew! I'm glad that the book has ended. I listened to it in audible and the narrator put so much evil into his voice that you felt like you were part of the torture. Very dark and hard to listen to BUT exceptionally well done. I got hooked on McDermid when I read her recent novel about Karen Pirie, female detective. I found out that she had a series with a psychological profiler partnered with a female detective inspector and wanted to find out about the series with the first book. It's a good thing I started with the beginning. I expect future books are not quite as dark as this one but serial killers are nutters and this particular one has the murder squad running around with no clues. That is until Dr. Hill finishes his profile. Then the interesting stuff begins. Who is his phone sex caller? Will he and Carol, the inspector, become a couple? Will they track down the killer? Wow! This is a powerful story BUT be sure you are up for dark and specific torture scenes. Like the torture used in the inquisition. McDermid is a powerful author who uses her words to describe whatever she is writing about with exquisite detail. She is terrific.

Graham Roberts is a terrific narrator. His voices are truly evil but his accents capture the essence of the killer, the cops, and Tony. He is what made the words thrum with malice.

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Gruesome and awful!

Would you try another book from Val McDermid and/or Graham Roberts?

I hated this book. I've listened to 3 other books by this author and really liked them. This was the first of a series. I will not read any of the others in the series.

What do you think your next listen will be?

Not one of these.

What didn’t you like about Graham Roberts’s performance?

I could not tell one character from another. The voice sounded like a madman for all of the characters.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disgust

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Awesome!!!

This was a well written book, but I expect no less from Val McDermid, one of my favorite authors. The performance of the narrator was exceptional!

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No room for improvement

If you could sum up The Mermaids Singing in three words, what would they be?

Fascinatingly imperfect protagonists.

Did the plot keep you on the edge of your seat? How?

The characters are all so very *human* ... the reader is left to wonder whether the next page will mean triumph or failure for the players involved (as there are plenty of opportunities for both)!

Which scene was your favorite?

Any scene where Tom "Popeye" Cross gets shut down! I HATE that guy!

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I laughed AND cried! And very few books have the powerful kind of magic required to get an emotional response from me. This is definitely one of those few

Any additional comments?

I was very skeptical about this one after reading some of the more negative reviews. Frankly, I believe anyone who finds this title too graphic must be merely too sensitive for the genre.This wasn't ripe with unnecessary gore, as some reviews seem to suggest. The historical accounts of ancient torture methods are fascinating in the context of the story; the author's research is extensive and impressive. While the story DOES depict pain and punishment, the actual narrative of the carnage is limited. Anyone who loves the tale of a psychological profiler (like an episode of "Criminal Minds") will not be bothered by this presentation.

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Brutal

This was well written and visual. I would agree that this book is not for the squeamish.