The Retribution by Val McDermid is the latest installment in the criminal profiler Dr. Tony Hill and Detective Chie f Inspector Carol Jordan series.  It is the story of the search for two serial killers:  Jacko Vance, an escaped prisoner that Hill and Jordan captured in an earlier book, The Wire in the Blood; and a serial killer in Bradfield, home of Carol’s soon-to-disband Major Incident Team.

While I’ve read a lot of McDermid’s books outside this series, this is only the second Tony Hill/ Carol Jordan book I’ve read.  Why? The Mermaids Singing was a little too gruesome for me.  The Retribution, however, is disturbing without being too disturbing.  How doesMcDermid manage that?  The plot keeps moving, with plenty of twists to keep you guessing.  Also, she clearly loves her characters, and not just the primary ones.  There is enough going on with the members of Carol’s Major Incident Team to keep you distracted from the horrors of the two serial killers on their respective killing sprees in this book.

As for the major characters of Tony and Carol, they are interesting not just for the bits of backstory McDermid doles out in this installment:  they are so interesting because they are both flawed, damaged people who manage to thrive in their respective professions.  Tony is socially awkward to the extreme, and Carol is coping with the stresses her job has created during her career.  I won’t divulge more in order to preserve the surprises for new readers.
One other note:  even though I read this book out of order, it did not create any problems.  Since there are seven books in the series,there are enough that I won’t remember all the twists that The Retribution mentioned as backstory.  Even if this is the first Tony Hill and Carol Jordan book you read, you won’t be lost.

The Retribution by Val McDermid
Atlantic Monthly Press
Publication Date:  January 3, 2012
Source:  Publisher via NetGalley

One thought on “THE RETRIBUTION by Val McDermid

  1. “Sarah January 10, 2012 at 5:50 PM
    I have to say I did find a couple of the passages in this book a bit gruesome but you can’t deny the power of McDermid’s writing. Have you tried “A Place of Execution”? I thought this wonderful.


    RebeccaK January 10, 2012 at 9:16 PM
    “A Place of Execution,” is my favorite McDermid (and the first one I read as well). I have quite a few Hill/Jordan books to read and a few stand-alones.”

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