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Publisher's Summary

Across the country, dozens of teenage girls have vanished. It's the job of criminal profilers Dr. Tony Hill and Carol Jordan to look for a pattern. They've spent years exploring the psyches of madmen. But sane men kill, too. And when they hide in plain sight, they can be difficult to find.

He's handsome and talented, rich and famous - a notorious charmer with the power to seduce... and the will to destroy. No one can fathom what he's about to do next - until one of Hill's students is murdered. Now, of all the killers Hill and Jordan have hunted, none has been so ruthless, so terrifyingly clever, and so brilliantly elusive as the killer who's hunting them.

©1997 Val McDermid (P)1998 ISIS Publishing Ltd.

Critic Reviews

"Fine, intelligent, gripping." (The New York Times Book Review)
"A superb psychological thriller." (Cosmopolitan)
"Shocking... stunningly exciting, horrifyingly good." (Ruth Rendell)

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Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.4 out of 5.0
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Story

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  • Story

Couldn't quit listening!

As of this review I am sure I've read over a hundred novels about serial killers. What makes this one stand out is the focus is on a newly formed team of profilers. They are experienced cops, but entirely new to profiling. They are led, however, by a very prominent physcologist who specializes in criminal profiling, Tony Hill.

The integrity of this group is immediately challenged by a police force unimpressed with any use of physcology and this prejudice is continually exacerbated by an extremely manipulative killer. I learned a lot more about profiling than most any other book I've read.

The suspense kept me engrossed throughout the novel.

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

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  • Mark
  • Reno, NV, United States
  • 11-16-13

Even better than the first in the series

Any additional comments?

A popular TV personality is killing fans — revealed right at the start. The cops can't believe the beloved star could possibly do such a thing. Meanwhile, a group of smart cops are brought together to train with profiler Tony Hill and a serial arsonist is at work in detective Carol Jordan's jurisdiction. Everything ties together. An excellent example of the serial killer crime procedural, with subtle commentary on celebrity and gender politics. Bechdel test: pass. <br/><br/>The narrator is excellent.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • Phil
  • Naples, FL, United States
  • 07-29-12

Nice to go back

Where does The Wire in the Blood rank among all the audiobooks you’ve listened to so far?

In the top 15%, If you consider when it was written, it would be a lot higher. It was the first Val Mcdermid book I ever read and has lead to a long and happy succession of others.

What was one of the most memorable moments of The Wire in the Blood?

The twists and turns of the plot.

What about Michael Tudor Barnes’s performance did you like?

Does the characters very well, and kept the impetus of the story going.

Any additional comments?

I do find Dr. Hill's comment very worth a chuckle now and again, sort of a deadpan, grave humor, no pun intended.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

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  • connie
  • Sydney, Nova Scotia, Canada
  • 06-03-13

I think I get McDermid now: Kate Millet of crime?

but I prefer to get her in print, where I can skim/skip the violent detail. I don't think Wire in the Blood is anywhere close to as gritty as Mermaids Singing (and that goes for the three subsequent in the series that I "read" with text-to speech or Kindle as well) - but I'm still too squeamish to hear a good narrator get into the minds and hands of her killers. I think, however, the violence is not gratuitous: She's speaks to the violence done unto the vulnerable in our world, and how, as Alice Miller would say "All evil is reactive." I prefer that served up in a Soc text. but along the way she weaves such good stories, and her Tony Hill and Carol Jordan characters are anything but cookie-cutter cops. During each novel, I thought I'd read no more from her, but I found myself going back to the series for the story and characters. I'm getting adept with the fast-forward function, as much as skipping pieces of a book go against the grain for me.

24 of 30 people found this review helpful

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  • Gudrun
  • Fort Resolution, Northwest Territories, Canada
  • 08-05-15

Most hateful villain

Carol Jordan and Tony Hill are brilliant together - both are amazing characters who you feel moving on every page of this book. I believe that they have lives beyond what is written about them.
Val McDermid is a fabulous writer who really goes for it in every way. The villain in this story is a despicable human being indeed! I know that some reviewers have found these books too gory but I love them. The horror and gore helps build a tremendous amount of tension and McDermid has a talent for creating characters that you really care about. She also is brave enough to have some pretty wicked things happen to them!
I highly recommend this book as exciting and heart-stopping. Be prepared to wince!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

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More Please!

I saw the British series television make of this before 'reading' it. Robson Greene plays the part of Dr. Tony Hill in those. I love them. I love what he does with that character. The book version hasn't decreased that in the least, and might have even elevated my appreciation of his talent as an actor. The narrator for the audible version does a wonderful job of bringing all the characters to life.

That said, the movie version does not follow the written story exactly - and for once I love that too. The book, as it should be, is much more in depth, letting us deeper into the detectives who work so hard to bring a serial killer to justice. It's more difficult than usual with this case as the killer they've set their sights on is a national sports hero turned tellie star, and the National Profiling Task Force that Dr. Hill has only just started, aren't even supposed to be working a case.

To add to that, the district they've been set up in is full of coppers who don't give a fig about profiling. When one of Tony's team gets too close to the suspect and is murdered, it's the profiling team those detectives look into for a suspect, not the wealthy T.V. star whom the murdered detective was last seen alive with. It's up to Tony and his team to find evidence on Jacko Vance before they lose a second detective from the task force to an incompetent frame up.

From a technical perspective, I appreciated the way the author used third person unrestricted along with the judicially placed omniscient sentence or two. The transitions between the characters, which included the killer, never left me feeling jolted out of the story. It flowed with impeccable and certain aim to the ending. That tends to be one of my pet peeves with third person- that feeling that I've suddenly been dropped into a completely different book with the turn of a page. One could argue my experience is because I had already been introduced to the story, and I can't discount that, but the way the author handled transitions between scenes and characters had something to do with it as well.

Normally when you read a mystery, it's all about answering "who done it". Not so with this story. We know who the killer is practically from the beginning and that doesn't lessen the tension built as the team works to prove he's their man before his latest victim dies. It is a story about profiling after all, and it was expertly handled all the way around.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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Not for me

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

The explicit descriptions of the victim's experience of torture and terror would have to have been omitted.

Has The Wire in the Blood turned you off from other books in this genre?

I don't think I'll listen to another Val McDermid.

What about Michael Tudor Barnes’s performance did you like?

It seemed in keeping with the content.

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

Couldn't listen long enough to know.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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Great performance

I like the writer but do find the over descriptive violence a little disturbing. The story wasn't predictable, limited suspension of reality, varied well written characters.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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An Absolutely Suberb Mystery Book

Would you listen to The Wire in the Blood again? Why?

Definately YES!! It was just over 15 hours of mesmerizing & suspenseful excellent writing of a serial killer & it covered the many challenges of the criminal profiler. Thsi book held me in full suspense & reminded me of when I used to go to the movies & held my hands over my face at the scary parts. I did find myself cheering on the good guys & gals. The serial killer was made to be highly intelligent & very scary too. I kept thinking I never wanted to run into anyone like him. You would have to be a mind reader to figure him out.

What other book might you compare The Wire in the Blood to and why?

Probably one of the Childs/Preston (Pendergast) mystery books because of the suspenseful & interesting story line.

Which scene was your favorite?

There were just too many scenes that caught me up to choose. But I did appreciate the scenes that described how difficult the criminal profilers job really is & how specialized it could be. The intelligence of the serial killer was well done too.

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

At times I did smile at the unique 'British' terms, but mostly I felt like I couldn't put the book down I was somesmerized & interested in the outcome. And that was unique in itself.

Any additional comments?

I thought the narrator (Michael T. Barnes) did a great job & brought such unique emotion to each character. I thoroughly enjoyed him.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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A truly enjoyable listen!

What did you love best about The Wire in the Blood?

The story was engaging from start to end. As the plot twisted and turned, I found myself hanging onto every word.

What other book might you compare The Wire in the Blood to and why?

I'm a great fan of crime novels. It was comparable to Death of the Demon by Anne Holt. Both stories was intriguing, gripping, and good entertainment.

Have you listened to any of Michael Tudor Barnes’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

This is my first listen to Michael Tudor Barnes. He is quite good.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful