cover image How the Dead Speak

How the Dead Speak

Val McDermid. Atlantic Monthly, $28 (416p) ISBN 978-0-8021-4761-5

In Edgar-finalist McDermid’s riveting 11th Tony Hill and Carol Jordan novel (after 2017’s Insidious Intent), developers digging on the grounds of the shuttered Order of the Blessed Pearl convent, near Bradfield, England, uncover more than 30 children’s skeletons, triggering an investigation by the regional major incident team. With Carol off the force and afflicted with PTSD, and Tony in prison for manslaughter, the team members suffer under the new leadership of Detective Chief Inspector Rutherford, who’s hostile toward them. The stakes rise after the discovery of the murdered bodies of young men in a different area of the convent grounds. Interviews with an elderly retired priest, Fr. Michael Keenan, and Mother Benedict, who ran the convent, reveal a disturbing pattern of abuse at the hands of the nuns. Carol is lured out of isolation by a defense attorney, who persuades her to sign on to a new organization that helps wrongly convicted felons find justice. Series fans will be pleased to see Tony and Carol reunite after a long separation, despite the uncertainty of their complicated relationship’s future. McDermid is writing at the top of her game. Agent: Jane Gregory, David Higham Assoc. (Dec.)