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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
    237
  • 4 Stars
    246
  • 3 Stars
    132
  • 2 Stars
    36
  • 1 Stars
    59

Performance

  • 4.0 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    274
  • 4 Stars
    203
  • 3 Stars
    85
  • 2 Stars
    22
  • 1 Stars
    49

Story

  • 3.8 out of 5.0
  • 5 Stars
    225
  • 4 Stars
    218
  • 3 Stars
    104
  • 2 Stars
    38
  • 1 Stars
    52
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  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Lynn
  • Dayton, Oh, United States
  • 12-06-14

Animal Torture in this Book

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

I will not read anything by Val McDermid

What could Val McDermid have done to make this a more enjoyable book for you?

Not have tortured the dog. Yes, i know this is a serial killer book, and I didn't even listen to all of it. It went too far with the dog torture - and I didn't even listen to that. It started, I returned the book..

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

Reading a book with animal torture - there should be limits even for a buck.

You didn’t love this book... but did it have any redeeming qualities?

None.

Any additional comments?

Don't read it. Don't buy it. Don't support this author. The animal torture could have been alluded to - bad but this.... No. Don't support him.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

The mermaid singing.

Would you listen to The Mermaids Singing again? Why?

This was such a freaky sick book for people who have a sick sense of what good horror writing is.the main character enjoys describing in detail each and every homosexual killing.I read this book in two days that's how much I enjoyed this book

What other book might you compare The Mermaids Singing to and why?

This book stands alone for me . I will definitely read ms Val again .I must confess I missed the reason for the title can anyone explain?

Which character – as performed by Graham Roberts – was your favorite?

I believe that Graham Roberts did an excellent job with the different dialects I was originally from the south of England and I did not perfect a ear for the northern lilts.Now I live in the USA so it all sounds a very strong accent.I believe he did the killers voice the best.

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

It made me feel sick at some of the extreme torture especially to the police officer.i just saw the series on Tv and it did not have the same impact as the book on tape.

Any additional comments?

firstlty I think Ms McDermids writing is so different to the other writers she has so much imagination and her use of the English language is unique and totally her own.She is able to describe a death scene and you feel you are part of the team able to give the next answer to the Inspectors questions.Can you tell I like this author?

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Too violent.

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Listening to this makes me wonder about McDermid. This is the most graphic sexual violence I've ever heard and I couldn't finish the book.

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

Disgust.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Not my cup of tea

What disappointed you about The Mermaids Singing?

The subject matter. I must not have been paying attention to the snippet or premise. Very graphic sadism has no interest to me.

Would you ever listen to anything by Val McDermid again?

I doubt it.

What did you like about the performance? What did you dislike?

He did the voices well and was convincingly creepy.

If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Mermaids Singing?

Too many.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Jordan
  • Long Beach, CA, United States
  • 06-23-14

Much better than what I was expecting

I'd watched the series based on McDermid's work, and thought that a reading of it would also be interesting; I was right. There's so much more to Hill and Jordan than is shown in the series, Dr. Hill's relationship with woman on the telephone for one, and Jordan's complex internal romantic sense conflicts with her desire to be a good copper for another.
One thing that I'm sure was an accident, was the performance. Very occasionally, I'd hear the rustle of pages behind Roberts' voice; I'm not sure about other narrators, but I felt as though this sound, domestic and ordinary, complimented the experience. I'd never considered when listening to audiobooks that I was being read to by another person, but that little sound somehow immediately connected me more to story. I considered, for the first, that the reader was reading and thinking about the story just as I was. More a shared experience than a lone one.
I know that's rather off-topic, but it really separated this book from all the others I'd listened to on the site.
Overall great read, the insights into every character were stunning and vividly real as though you were meeting these people yourself.
Would recommend.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Too sadistic for me.

I'm a pretty hard boiled crime fiction devotee, but I stopped listening to this only a bit into chapter two. I enjoy dark crime fiction. The characters held promise of good, deep development, but the details of a psychopathic sexual sadist's delight in his medieval torture chamber repelled me.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

So good even though you know what's coming

McDermid is terrific! The psychology doesn't get overbearing; it adds to the quality of the story. Characters are well defined. An all around good listen!

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • Gudrun
  • Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories, Canada
  • 04-18-14

Love the characters

This was well-written. Being inside the killer's head was handled well and was interesting to read. Tony is a brilliant character who was portrayed really well in the TV series, but I love him even more in the book. I really didn't like the narrator.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Excellent read

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

I loved the strong character development, multiple plots interwoven and the building suspense of this whodunit. I have listened to 2 Val McDermid books, both Tony Hill & Carole Jordan characters. I'm going to go looking for another by Val McDermid.

What other book might you compare The Mermaids Singing to and why?

I also read the other Val McDermit (2nd in the Tony Hill series) Blood on the Wire.

Which character – as performed by Graham Roberts – was your favorite?

I liked the Carol Jordan character.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When Angelica came to Tony's house I knew something was up.

Any additional comments?

I'm hooked on Val McDermid books.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Couldn't finish

Oh when will this end? I tried, but after many hours just had to end my own torture of listening to this book. The killer is definitely a sicko, but the story just rambled on and on. I couldn't figure out who was who and dreaded trying to finish.