INSIDIOUS INTENT, by Val McDermid, Atlantic Monthly Press/Grove Atlantic/Publishers Group West


Widely recognized as one of our finest crime writers, with numerous accolades and legions of devoted readers worldwide, internationally bestselling author Val McDermid is back with the latest installment in her series featuring psychologist Tony Hill and former police detective Carol Jordan. In Insidious Intent, Tony and Carol are on the hunt for a serial killer who victimizes women at weddings without a date–and forces the duo to confront their most haunting moral dilemma so far.

In the north of England, single women are beginning to disappear from weddings. A pattern soon becomes clear: Someone is crashing the festivities and luring the women away–only to leave the victims’ bodies in their own burned-out cars in remote locations. Tony and Carol are called upon to investigate–but this may be the toughest case they’ve ever had to face. Meanwhile, Detective Sergeant Paula McIntyre and her partner Elinor must deal with a cruel cyber-blackmailer targeting their teenage ward, Torin.

Impeccably plotted and intensely gripping, Insidious Intent reaffirms Val McDermid’s place as Britain’s reigning Queen of Crime.

5672Val McDermid is a No. 1 bestseller whose novels have been translated into more than thirty languages, and have sold over eleven million copies.

She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award. She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009 and was the recipient of the CWA Cartier Diamond Dagger for 2010. In 2011 she received the Lambda Literary Foundation Pioneer Award.

She writes full time and divides her time between Cheshire and Edinburgh.


Insidious Intent starts off really interesting with the death of a woman who meets a man at a wedding.  It’s clear that he targets her there and convinces her to leave with him. She shows up dead engulfed in a car fire, and the mystery unfolds from there.

After that part, I found the story moved somewhat slow as you get to know characters and are re-introduced to Tony and Carol, who appeared in other books.  In this book, there’s a lesbian relationship, a ward who lives with them and an abusive relationship among the Protagonists’ work colleagues.  You do meet new characters and get bits of insight into their characters, which grow as the story develops.

McDermid’s writing style is intelligent and crafty, but I found it somewhat dry.  This doesn’t affect the story, however, in that the events unfolding are written expertly enough to keep you invested in what’s going on.  You do get back into the lives of Tony and Carol’s characters looking at what they’re going through as a new adventure in their lives.  These characters are flawed and realistic and full of warts and you become engaged with what they’re going through and how they’re handling things.  I felt character development was done very well in this book and done so with all the characters.  This book reads as though it could be a standalone, however, knowing the background of some of the characters re-used in this book would be helpful.  I suppose beginning with book one would be a good idea, but not a necessary one.  This book is a true crime fiction that delves into the multi-layered depths of dark human nature.

You are taken on a bizarre cat and rat chase with the Protagonist trying to catch the rat before he vanishes into the shadowy realm of depravity.  Everything in McDermid’s book seemed authentic, from parts showing the killer’s thought process, to the crime team’s investigative methods, finishing with parenting problems and daily life relationship situations.

The story successfully builds and builds until a team effort resolution is achieved. Pacing is smooth and the scenes transition from one to the other well without being choppy or confusing.  The best part for me, was the character development.  McDermid is certainly capable of creating some of the most realistic characters that I’ve read about in a long time.

Although not necessarily my type of daily read, it was enjoyable and interesting enough for me to finish.

I give this book:


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