Monday 31 May 2010

My Dad Reviews...a brace of Val McDermids

My Dad's been on a Val McDermid binge recently, so here are a couple of reviews. By the way, he was well chuffed when people came up to him at Crimefest and told him they liked his appearances on this blog - so thanks everyone for that, I think you helped make his weekend. My Mum, on the other hand, said "Eee, our Donna, what fibs have you been telling people about us on that blob of yours?" Well, here's a non-fib for you. At the MaxCrime party they were giving out free books. My Mum stood by the door and tried to sell a copy to Peter Rozovsky of Detectives Beyond Borders for £5. She did say she was kidding, but I spotted her gleefully counting out a sweaty handful of fivers later on.

Anyway, first of all, the usual reminder of my Dad's tastes:

DISLIKES: romance, books that have too much swearing in (I guess that's my Dad not going to read my next book either, then - I thought it was just my Mum I had to keep away from it). Also doesn't like horror, and books with vampires, pterodactyls and the living dead in them. Also, something called an ungoliant. No, I have no idea either - I think my Dad has been at the sherry.

: thrillers, spy novels, war stories and books with elves in (the elves can swear their little heads off as far as he's concerned). Oh, and maps. He bloody loves maps. If you ever meet him, for goodness' sake don't ask him for directions. Not even to the bathroom.

Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: 2003
First Lines: '
Tony Hill tucked his hands behind his head and stared up at the ceiling. There was a fine web of cracks around the elaborate plaster rose that surrounded the light fitting, but he was oblivious to it.'

There are no Mermaids in this book. It tells the story of the rather gruesome murders of a number of men who are homosexuals in the Lancashire area - the actual town a figment of the imagination - and the efforts of Dr Tony Hill and DCI Carol Jordan to find out who it was. Once I had eliminated Tony as a suspect, I worked out who had committed the crimes. There was a twist at the end but the clues were there, you just had to work it out. As for the characters Dr Tony Hill came over as a likeable sort though frustrated, and DCI Carol Jordan,was a frustrated spinster, who fell for Tony to no avail. I enjoyed it.

Publisher: Harper Collins
Published: 2004
First Lines: '
Four in the morning, the dead of December. Four bleary outlines wavered in the snow flurries that drifted at the beck and call of the snell northeasterly wind whipping across the North Sea from the Urals.'

This is an entirely different story, set in the small town of St Andrews, In Fife. It tells of four students returning from a drinking session who virtually trip over the body of a murdered girl. They are suspected of being involved and spend time trying to prove otherwise. The story starts in 1978, then moves to 25 years later. The four are still suspected by the family of the girl, some in the meantime have moved to the US, others have married and the police force have altered with deaths and retirements. The story is involved and the ending does come as a surprise even though there are clues scattered throughout the narrative. The characters of the students are four different types, all believable and all suspectable. The police characters are equally believable, and some more unbelieving than others. This is a story that I enjoyed reading and can recommend it to anyone who has not had the pleasure.Val McDermid is a good writer and I like the way she tells a story.

Thanks Dad. (By the way, I'm not sure that suspectable is actually a word). He's currently reading Val's THE LAST TEMPTATION, so a review of that one will follow in due course, assuming I can bully him into it.


  1. The Distant Echo is the Val that I always recommend to people. Lovely book, in many ways. Far away voices...

  2. Thanks, Donna, for sharing these reviews. I always enjoy what your Dad has to say about what he reads : ).

  3. Now that I know what an ungoliant is, I think I agree with your dad.

    And no hard feelings toward your mum. In fact, I’ll make a nice post about her on my blob – for five dollars.
    Detectives Beyond Borders
    "Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

  4. You might want to make it $7.24 if you're talking US dollars Peter, given current Pound to US dollar exchange rates Don't let her get away with using those lesser-valued greenbacks to repay you ;-)

    Great reviews Donna. I've read one McDermid (FEVER OF THE BONE), and have two more on my bookshelf, including THE LAST TEMPTATION. Think I might have to put THE DISTANT ECHO on the TBR list, given your Dad's reviews.

    PS Did you get my email re: 9mm? I've been having a few email difficulties lately. Talking to the Crime Watch audience, your presence has been requested to 'stare down the barrel', as Declan Burke put it...

  5. Paul - it's a great book, isn't it? I think it's one of my favourites too.

    Margot - thank you, he'll be chuffed to hesr it!

    Peter - luckily my mum dos not read blobs at ALL :o)

    Craig - I thought FEVER OF THE BONE was excellent too. And no, I did not get an e-mail but that sounds vaguely scary :o)

  6. Keel the dad reviews coming, Donna. Made me realise I've been neglecting Val of late.

  7. or "keep" the dad reviews coming, Donna. It's your choice...keel/ keep...toMAYto/ toMAHto.

  8. The Mermaids Singing. I passed on to the Electrician who came to fit a new light in the hall. Oh! he said "I havn't read that one I like Val McDermid" so maybe I will get him to do a review sometime.

  9. Just had a word with Mum. She says she utterly refutes all you say about her.

  10. Donna,

    Sean from the U.S here. Cool blog. Hoping to read/learn about the Scottish crime, er, scene. Looks like I found the right place.

  11. Thanks for sharing your parents with us, Donna. I miss mine so much. They had a way of putting everything in perspective.

  12. Michael - I will both keel AND keep them :o)

    Dad - your electrician (and any other tradesmen you might hire) are perfectly free to send me reviews. And you're a big clipe, telling Mum what I said.

    Sean - thanks for commenting, and welcome!

    Barbara - a big hug for you ((()))

  13. Thank you, Donna's Dad. I like your reviews better than most.

  14. Val - that's good, 'cos he likes your books better than most :o)

  15. I don´t know what is best, the post or the comments. The Distant Echo is on my TBR next to Denise Mina (I love having some real gems there for the summer holidays).