Val McDermid is a world-class crime writer whose books have sold millions worldwide. Now joining the Atlantic Monthly Press list for the first time, she is back with a chilling, high-velocity thriller featuring her immensely popular creations, clinical psychologist Dr. Tony Hill and detective Carol Jordan. Tony Hill has had a good run. He and detective Carol Jordan have put away scores of dangerous criminals at a rate that colleagues envy. But there is one serial killer who has shaped and defined their careers, and whose evil surpasses all others: Jacko Vance, ex-celebrity and sociopath whose brilliance and utter lack of remorse have never left Tony’s mind in the ten years since his imprisonment. Now Jacko has escaped from prison even more twisted and cunning than before, he is focused on wreaking revenge on Tony and Carol for his years spent in prison. Tony and Carol don’t know when Jacko will strike, or where. All they know is that Jacko will cause them to feel fear like they’ve never known. A chilling, utterly gripping tour de force, The Retribution is the ideal introduction or re-introduction to the world of Tony Hill and Carol Jordan. It is an unforgettable read. (synopsis from Goodreads)
The Retribution is the seventh book in the Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series by Val McDermid. I was a little skeptical about reading a novel this far along in the series but my fears were unwarranted. McDermid provided enough background information, that I quickly felt I was in the loop. The novel is a British crime thriller that involves Police profiler Tony Hill and Detective Captain Inspector Carol Jordon and her team.
There are two plots working side by side in this novel. The prominent plot surrounds the escape of serial killer Jacko Vance. Vance was captured and sent to jail by DCI Jordon and her team 12 years ago. He is a methodical serial killer, who has spent years plotting his revenge on Hill, Jordon and the team. When he escapes prison, he begins executing his plans for retribution. The second is a series of new murders. The team quickly discovers a serial killer. He kills and mutilates ladies of the night. His signature is a tattooed word on his victims- Mine. With very little clues, the team races to profile and capture this killer, while dealing with Vance's plans for revenge.
It is evident that the key characters Tony Hill and DCI Jordan are flawed, damaged souls. While the author provides backdrop to these characters, I think if I had read the series, I’d better appreciate what had driven them to where they are today. Professionally they have a proven track record, and while not always liked in the department, they are respected. Their personal lives are a mess. There is a complicated relationship between Hill and Jordon that seems to ebb and flow. It is not yet a physical romance, but an emotional one.
Overall I enjoyed The Retribution. I was pleased that the book's language was not altered for American publication. The tale was interesting but I am still up in the air about the dueling storylines. The author moved back and forth between telling Jacko Vance’s story and those of the crime unit. This left the second plot to be sprinkled throughout. While I appreciate that this makes it more realistic, as a reader I would have liked more details into each case.
I recommend this to fans of crime thrillers and British literature. The Retribution is scheduled for release on January 10, 2010. I look forward to reading more of McDermid's work.
I want to thank netGalley and Grove/Atlantic, Inc. for providing me with this ARC, in exchange for my unbiased review.
I gave this novel 3 coffee cups out of 5.