McDermid (A Clean Break) enters new ground with a dark tale that is more complex, more carefully crafted and far more disturbing than her Kate Brannigan mysteries. By the time the police admit that Bradfield, a fictional city in northern England, has a serial killer, four men are already dead, each tortured in a different way and then abandoned outdoors in town. Baffled by a lack of physical evidence left by the meticulous sociopath, police bring in Tony Hill, a Home Office forensic psychologist who profiles criminals. Tony, who begins each day by ``selecting a persona,'' devours crime data with a fascination approaching admiration for the killer. The interest distracts him from obsessing over his own sexual impotence and over the ``exquisite torture'' of salacious phone calls he's been getting from a strange woman. DI Carol Jordan, a mercifully normal person who is Tony's liaison with the force, quickly grasps the profiling approach while keeping her policing instincts. Carol and Tony forge an uneasy relationship; but, as they pursue ``the Queer Killer,'' a cloddish policeman undermines them, a local reporter blows the case to get a byline and the murderer closes in on a new quarry. A warning: woven into this powerful story are journal entries in which the murder discusses torture in loving detail, an aspect that makes this graphic, psychologically terrifying tale almost as off-putting as it is impossible to put down. (Dec.) FYI: This novel won Britain's Gold Dagger Award for best crime novel of 1995.
Reviewed on: 12/02/1996 Release date: 12/01/1996 Genre: Fiction
Paperback - 443 pages - 978-0-00-734467-3
Compact Disc - 14 pages - 978-0-7531-0710-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 400 pages - 978-0-312-98360-4
Mass Market Paperbound - 400 pages - 978-0-06-101175-7
Analog Audio Cassette - 978-0-7531-0075-2
Mass Market Paperbound - 400 pages - 978-0-312-93693-8
During the Covid-19 crisis, Publishers Weekly is providing free digital access to our magazine, archive, and website. To receive the access to the latest issue delivered to your inbox free each week, enter your email below.