Sunday, 16 October 2016

Beneath the Bleeding by Val McDermid (#5 Tony Hill & Carol Jordan)

Title: Beneath the Bleeding
Series: Tony Hill & Carol Jordan (#5)
Author: Val McDermid
From: Amazon
Genre: Crime, Thriller
Release Date: 2007
Challenges: 2016 Read the Books You Buy, 2016 Prequel & Sequel Challenge (2 points)
Links: Goodreads - Amazon
Synopsis (from Goodreads): The residents of Bradfield are devastated when their star midfielder dies, the victim of a bizarre, seemingly motiveless murder. In a hospital, recovering from injuries, criminal profiler and psychologist Dr. Tony Hill struggles to make sense of the fragments of information he can gather in order to help his ally, Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan, bring a killer to justice. Then an explosion rips through a soccer stadium, leaving dozens dead and many more injured, and Jordan finds herself pushed to the margins of the investigation by the intelligence services. Despite the dark places in their relationship, Tony and Carol remain the best hope for uncovering the truth about an ever-increasing series of unspeakable crimes. Are they terrorist attacks, a personal vendetta . . . or something even more sinister? 

While my previous reviews of the books in the Tony Hill & Carol Jordan series have been rereads, this is the first time that I have read Beneath the Bleeding (or any of the other books in the series going forward - I have the others on my kindle already). While this revolves around standalone crimes, I do believe that it is advantageous to have read the previous books in order to know the background and complexity of Carol and Tony's relationship. Reading The Torment of Others (book 4) also introduces Carol's team and gives background on them. This review should be spoiler free. 

Some of the characters, most notably Carol, Tony and Paula, are recovering from traumatic incidents in their pasts still and I liked the way in which McDermid treats this. There is no quick fix and each of them suffers the lasting effects of their traumas. However at the same time it doesn't clog up the book, and there is plenty going on that keeps the plot moving. 

I love Tony and Carol's relationship, I have done since the very beginning. They're basically in an odd place between being friends and being a couple, but they've been stuck there for years. It means that while their relationship does seem to progress, it isn't always in expected ways and that gives it a realistic edge. Plus they're too great characters individually too. 

I'm really glad I reread The Torment of Others earlier this year though or I think I would have lost something in the 7 or 8 years since I read it the first time. A lot of the characters introduced as a part of Carol's team in the previous book returned in this one, and they worked well together. I liked having the secondary characters with a bit more to them too, and seeing Carol and Tony from a different perspective. 

There were two main crimes going through this book. The first was the murder of a high profile athlete, and the seconf was an incident whose perpetrater was followed around by the narrative but it wasn't always clear what he was planning or why. Both plots unravelled towards the later part of the book and the resolutions worked well and were interesting. 

This was a great read, and like normal I've ended up feeling a bit sad that its over now!