Torment of Others by Val McDermid

Val McDermid is a Scottish author who read English at St Hilda’s College, Oxford, England.  She was accepted at 17, one of the youngest undergraduates they have ever taken on, and the first from a Scottish state school.


It should therefore come as no surprise that she is an excellent writer.  This story was very well crafted and I could not put it down.  However, by its very nature, it is extremely freaky. The descriptions of the crimes that take place are graphic. Likewise, the nature of the crimes (sexual homicide) are far outside what most folks would want to read about.  Very few books have been so painful to read and yet so well written.  The main characters are compelling and believable. They are complex and McDermid makes them and the environment of the story come to life with careful attention to details.

A dead girl lies on a blood-soaked mattress, her limbs spread in a parody of ecstasy. The scene matches a series of murders that ended when irrefutable forensic evidence secured the conviction of one Derek Tyler. However, Tyler has been locked up in a mental institution for two years, barely speaking a word except to say that ‘the Voice’ told him to do it.

Criminal psychologist Dr Tony Hill is approached to assist the police.  He is prepared to think the unthinkable: this is not a copycat murder but something much stranger. DCI Carol Jordan and her team mount a desperate and dangerous undercover police operation to trap the murderer, while Hill heads towards a terrifying face-off with one of the most perverse killers he has ever encountered.

Torment Book

The ending was not at all what I expected and, as I read a lot of crime novels, it takes a lot for me to be totally surprised.   Although I really enjoyed this book,  I could not recommend this book to just anyone.  The subject matter is such that I would choose those I recommended it to carefully.


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