Friday, October 31, 2014

The Retribution - Val Mcdermid

Jacko Vance, who has been haunting Toni Hill even though he has been behind bars for years is planning his escape as 'The Retribution' begins. 

Jacko escapes, Jacko does several shockingly evil things, the novel ends, that's it. Mcdermid's novels have been of a consistently high quality, with well fleshed out characters,  tightly built events, a slow build up to a explosive climax. But in this novel, Mcdermid seems to let it run all over the place, the apparent ease in which Jacko does what he does is as shocking if not more than what he actually does. The novel reads more like a generic, mindless slasher novel than the closely knit dark/brooding ones we associate with her. 

The unspoken things between Tony and Carol is one of the main USP's of this series, but Mcdermid is treading the line where it can become a case of flogging a horse to its death. All this, 'will they/wont they' speculation could lead to reader exhaustion beyond a point. Flashes of the Mcdermid that we know are there, a couple of events that remind us that Mcdermid doesn't play to the gallery, doesn't shy away from things that can unsettle the reader and that this novel is just an aberration in an otherwise high quality series.


  1. I'm a big fan of Val McDermid. This is a long running series and I guess some books are better than others.

    1. Yes, the series is of a consistently high quality, this is one of the very few that are weak.