First and foremost, a large thank you to NetGalley, Val McDermid, and Grove Atlantic for providing me with a copy of this book, which allows me to provide you with this review.
In the ninth instalment of the Tony Hill series, McDermid returns with a fabulous story that keeps series regulars fully committed and entices new readers to pick up and join the adventure. After a handful of apparent suicides by women who have been harassed online, the authorities are left to wonder if cyber-bullying is on the rise; a truly faceless crime. The general population is prepared to accept this, but Dr. Tony Hill has other ideas, pondering a theory that these women may be driven to die at the hands of a specific individual who is pulling the strings. As he tries to formulate a case, he wrestles with helping his former colleague and sometimes friend, Carol Jordan. Their love/hate relationship sees the pendulum swing erratically as Jordan’s personal life and love of drink lands her in a sizeable amount of trouble. Little does she know, she’s being eyed for a key position in a new and highly mobile Major Incident Team (MIT). With Hill advocating for a closer look at the suicides and this MIT ready to deploy, will Jordan be able to lead this ragtag collection of police investigators to sift through the evidence and determine if this collection of cyberbullying antics is more than meets the eye? A fabulous addition to an already strong series that the reader will thorough enjoy.
Throughout the Tony Hill series, McDermid has flirted with a few ideas. First and foremost, the relationship that Hill and Jordan have with one another. Both strong willed, they portray two diverse yet highly similar characters, which propel the novels forward. This is seen throughout this book and the means by which McDermid tweaks their interactions, it offers new and strengthened aspects to the series relationship. Secondly, McDermid has used Carol Jordan as a pawn throughout, moving her around as she pursues work opportunities and personal struggles. The choice to remove her from the Bradfield Metropolitan Police had a straining effect on the series, as did her complete divorce from anything police-based. Now, McDermid paints herself into a corner and cannot leave Jordan on the outside without removing her importance a a character. While I applaud the means by which Carol Jordan returns, especially with this MIT possibility, it is as though McDermid did an about-face in order to rectify a decision she, and the fan base, both realised was a disaster in the making. In addition, the restructuring of the old MIT into this new ReMIT proves interesting and keeps the reader flashing back to some of the key elements of the series to date and the characters who had an impact. It flows wonderfully with a story that is both current and poignant, adding to the novel’s strength. As long as McDermid can keep the ideas coming and not play around too much with the character interactions, this series is strong and will continue for the foreseeable future.
Kudos, Madam McDermid for this wonderful addition to an already complex series. I cannot wait for what you have in store for fans next, though I hope the wait is not as long.