Insidious Intent

Insidious Intent

Book - 2017
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Shortlisted for the 2018 Theakston Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year

Named One of Entertainment Weekly 's Best New Books

Insidious Intent , the latest installment in Val McDermid's popular series featuring psychologist Tony Hill and detective Carol Jordan, reaffirms Val McDermid's place as Britan's reigning Queen of Crime. In the north of England, single women are beginning to disappear from weddings. A wedding crasher is luring the women away--only to torch the victims' bodies in their own cars in remote locations, leaving behind no personal clues or forensic traces. It is the first official case for Carol's eliteRegional Major Incident Team--and maybe the toughest case she and Tony have ever had to face. It all "comes together in an ending that hits like a bomb blast," The Globe and Mail raved. "Don't miss this one and save it for the day when you want to read straight through."

Publisher: New York :, Atlantic Monthly Press,, 2017
Edition: First Grove Atlantic hardcover edition
ISBN: 9780802127167
0802127169
Characteristics: 424 pages

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Gentowl
Feb 10, 2018

The next book in the Tony Hill series will prove if this one was a colossal mistake. The book before this ratcheted up the emotional quotient for our protagonists, Tony and Carol, to shocking levels. This book takes it to an extreme and unbelievable end.

Without giving anything away, I wonder what McDermid thinks she is doing or what she's trying to achieve. I've read the entire series and noticed that the writing style -- once convoluted, rich, and dense -- has given way to a far simpler prose closer in style to the bad B novels McDermid also writes. The plotting has also gotten plainer and less convincing.

Is McDermid even trying anymore? Or is she as bored with the characters in this series as she seems to be, in which case, she should just end it here.

In "Insidious Intent," a title that makes me think of cheap pulp fiction, the killer is smart and engaging and there is some interest in the procedures the new regional team follows. But Carol, one of the two main characters and past heroes, is sidelined and grotesquely simplified. Instead, Paula McIntyre, her private life, and Tony Hill get the spotlight. Paula is a far more sympathetic and levelheaded character but she also succumbs to ridiculous and grossly illegal behavior in a situation involving her son. Stacey, who helps Paula sort out her son's issue, is over-the-top in the illegal things she does both to an ex-boyfriend and for Paula.

From this story, none of the main characters should be in the police business. Their private lives are even more heinous as McDermid turns Tony and Carol's relationship into a mortally dysfunctional disaster that also makes no sense as what happens at the end could easily have had the opposite effect.

Tip for reading this book: You can save a lot of time and miss nothing by skipping all the short chapters covering the victims' points of view and all the short chapters covering the killer's point of view except the first one. They add nothing to the story.

d
dubonnet
Jan 30, 2018

Been a fan of this series from the beginning...but very disappointed in this one. The plot was not believable and the ending was a big disappointment!

m
megan234
Jan 29, 2018

Val McDermind's strength lies in her plots, not in her writing. This latest Tony Hill novel was weak even in that. The serial killings were uninteresting, although I was relieved not to have to slog through pages of gruesome descriptions as is the usual. The subplot with Paula's foster child had a build-up but no pay off, and frankly, it was hard to care about some adolescent's angst. And with every tiny shred of advancement of the relationship between Tony and Carol that McDermid throws to her readers in each novel, she takes back twofold by the end. And frankly, the "surprise" ending was out of character for both characters whose development we have watched over lo these many novels and thus unbelievable. McDermid has turned Carol into an unstable harridan and Tony into her caretaker. What a disappointment.

p
pitkerro
Jan 18, 2018

Been a fan of the writer and the series forever but I found this one curiously lacking in energy, perhaps mirroring the heroine's state of mind after recent calamities. In deference to the author's request I will not talk about the ending except to say it felt like she thought OK must do something now and even that felt a bit flat. Disappointing. Sorry.

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PineSisken
Jan 10, 2018

Another great Tony Hill and Carol Jordan novel. Yay! I love to read about the relationship between Tony and Carol, and the mysteries are good, too. Thanks again to the brilliant and wonderful Val McDermid. Keep up the great work. After finishing this latest installment in the series, I want to go back to the beginning and reread them all!!

m
midori_hon
Jan 08, 2018

This is a series that is best read in sequence. The most recent is a doozie and tempts me to start over from #1 - the mermaids singing, all over again.

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maipenrai
Jan 06, 2018

I have loved the Carol Jordan and Tony Hill books for more than 20 years. This latest story is no exception. You know you have an excellent book when you can't stop reading. As a person who reads more than 50 mysteries a year ( and more than 100 literature and non-fiction ) I find that I kiss a lot of frogs and a few brothers ( as in kissing your sister - not very exciting ). Reading this book reminded me of the days long gone when I would start the latest Dick Francis and curse myself at 3 in the morning because I was still reading and I had to get up in 3 hours. I am speaking about the 1960's. I have reliable authors whom I read faithfully, but far too many of my favorites are gone - Mr. Francis, P. D. James, Dorothy Sayers, Tony Hillerman, Ngaio Marsh, Henning Mankell, Robert Parker ( yes I am a Spenser fan ). I will give nothing away, but this is a terrific book!! Recommend the series, from the beginning, of course. Kristi & Abby Tabby

j
jazpur
Sep 25, 2017

Well worth the wait. A fascinating story line and a wry twist.

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Gentowl
Feb 10, 2018

Gentowl thinks this title is suitable for 21 years and over

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