The Retribution

Val McDermid. Atlantic Monthly, $25 (416p) ISBN 978-0-8021-2017-5
The return of serial killer Jacko Vance drives McDermid’s superb seventh novel featuring Dr. Tony Hill and Det. Chief Insp. Carol Jordan of the Bradfield police (after 2010’s Fever of the Bone). Vance, the charming TV talk show host responsible for murdering 17 teenage girls in 1997’s The Wire in the Blood, manages to escape from prison just as Carol and her team are on the brink of disbanding at the behest of a new chief superintendent. Carol is also leading the murder investigation of several sex workers, each tattooed with the word mine, but it’s the hunt for Jacko that consumes her and Tony, knowing that he’ll likely direct his pentup anger at the people who helped put him away. Soon Carol’s team is working both cases and both killers are upping the ante (and the body count). The emotional wedge that the sadistic Jacko is able to drive between Tony and Carol makes this one of McDermid’s strongest efforts. 5-city author tour. Agent: Jane Gregory. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/21/2011
Release date: 01/01/2012
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