Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fever of the Bone

By Val McDermid
First published in Great Britain 2009
Harper Collins
ISBN: 978-0-06-198648-2
512 pages

Very few people welcome change and Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan now finds that she has a new boss, James Blake as her chief constable. One of his actions is to let her know that there will be changes, especially with her team and the use of Dr. Tony Hill, the experienced psychologist who contractually develops profiles of offenders. He also is questioning if this experienced successful team would be more cost effective if they were split up. Carol feels the need to prove their worth, including Tony.

In nearby Worcester, a fourteen-year-old girl, Jennifer Maidmont, was brutally murdered. Tony Hill is called in to assist since the local authorities seem to have no leads. Jennifer was a nice, sweet girl who hadn’t been in trouble before or caused anyone any concern. She was an only child. Why was she murdered? The only lead the police have is that she spent time on the internet on RigMarole, a social networking site. Apparently Jennifer was going to meet someone who knew her secrets. What secrets? Jennifer’s family and best friend had no idea what secrets were not being shared.

In Carol Jordan’s local community, fourteen-year-old boys seem to be following this same pattern. All the victims seem to also be involved with RigMarole and only children. They also were all murdered in exactly the same manner. How do you stop a serial killer when you are not certain why these children are being targeted? Is there a connection between the boys and the one girl victim?

FEVER OF THE BONE is the sixth novel by Val McDermid featuring Dr. Tony Hill. This story is masterfully woven. Each piece interlocks and connects to the others but only when the reader begins to view the entire picture. Added to the deaths is a cold case involving the disappearance of a mother and her daughter as well as the natural death of Tony’s estranged father. Added to this are the awkward sexual situations regarding lesbian relationships. The characters are all realistically flawed but driven to do the right thing and completely committed to their investigations. The story flows at an increasing pace, much as a real investigation would develop. This is definitely one novel that you might want to read in one sitting. The story is haunting and driven in such a way that you cannot leave the story.

The strength of FEVER OF THE BONE is definitely the overlapping and the interweaving of the crimes. This technique causes the story to have intensity and an internal drive. FEVER OF THE BONE is fast-paced, intelligent, insightful, and definitely a must-read for any mystery lover.

Teri Davis October 17, 2010

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