Review – Cross and Burn by Val McDermid.

17572973Fair warning: this is book 8 of a series, and even though you can technically read it as a standalone, I would highly recommend reading the previous novels in order to truly understand the relationships of the characters.

There’s nothing quite like returning back to that series you love – the comfort food in the book world. For me, this is one of those books. Part of the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series, Val McDermid has written yet another brilliant installment. If you’ve never heard of McDermid, she is a Scottish crime writer who has written many successful books, both standalone and part of this series. I highly recommend you check out her standalone novels, if you’re not interested in picking up another series.

Cross and Burn begins not long after the events of the previous novel. The killer of the day is one that is seemingly hunting victims that have a strong resemblance to DCI Carol Jordan. Is this killer obsessed with Carol, or is there another motivation driving him/her?

As per usual, McDermid pulls no punches when getting into the psyche of the killer and the actions the killer takes. Gruesome, yet scarily realistic, McDermid’s ability to shock the reader whilst never going too over the top, is on top form. The relationship between the titular characters is also very well written. Even after 8 books, McDermid still manages to find new nuances to explore and always keep the reader on their feet.

If you’re looking for a fun new series than I highly recommend this one. You can start with The Mermaids Singing (Tony Hill / Carol Jordan Book 1) if you want to start afresh (which I recommend), but don’t come complaining to me when you get hooked and that TBR pile gets a little bigger!

Until next time,

Pegasus

Cross and Burn (Tony Hill and Carol Jordan Mystery)

Review – Northanger Abbey by Val McDermid

18778806I’m not sure why I do it to myself. I really don’t. What I’m talking about of course, is the scenario in which you read a book hoping against hope that it won’t disappoint you, even when your gut tells you that it will.
Well, this happened to me this week when I decided to start reading Val McDermid’s contemporary retelling of Jane Austen’s Northanger Abbey.
Now, I’m sure most of you know the basic plot of this famous novel; Catherine (or Cat, as she is now called in this version) is sent away to another city in hope of finding a suitable marriage, and the intricacies of this societal bed of hot rocks, serves as the plot of the novel.
In McDermid’s version, Cat goes away to Edinburgh and the story focuses on the people she meets and the antics she gets herself into.
Now, although I wasn’t a fan of the actual book, I have to give McDermid credit for her way of making the story accessible for contemporary readers. McDermid seems to take scene by scene and change it to fit contemporary times, and as a story it does technically work, but does it make a good story? Is it really enough to replace “So and so went to the ball and caused quite a scene when she danced with Captain so and so instead of Captain…” with “so and so went to the club and caused quite a scene when she was recorded twerking with her BFF’s ex” (I made that text up, but it is the same principle). Some will claim that McDermid successfully completed her task, and some will argue that it is just lazy writing. What do I think? Well… somewhere in the middle actually. You’ve been given a task, and I imagine, paid quite handsomely, to contemporize (I know it’s not a word, but it is now) a classic novel. Yes, McDermid did this, and yes, she could have perhaps made it a little more original. All I know is that I’m glad I wasn’t given this task.
If you want to give this novel a go, and you are a die hard Austen fan, I just want to iterate that I am not responsible for any heart attacks, fits of rage, or spontaneous combustion that may occur. (-;

~ Pegasus

Northanger Abbey