There’s nothing like a book that hits you straight in the feels, as my late demented fangirl self used to say. The most recent instalment in the ‘Wire in the Blood’ series from McDermid does not fail to disappoint.
We join Tony Hill and Carol Jordan for a tenth instalment after, let’s face it – a whole lot of crap that could never happen to two people in the real world (at least I hope not). She’s lost her brother and future sister in law in the most savage way possible, she’s hit the bottle and is losing control. And Tony, well he is the same as ever, trying to prop up Carol and figuring out what role he should play – therapist, friend or something more.
Carol is facing a lot of demons, not just those that lurk in the bottom of a bottle. Death features heavily on her conscience, the deaths of Michael and Lucy because of a killer she hunted, drink driving deaths in a cover up to protect her and bring her back to the sharp end of major incident policing. She’s taken a lot out on Tony in past books, to my eternal sadness, but this book she really has jumped down the rabbit hole, to the point where Tony considers she probably has PTSD.
In this entire Tony/Carol centric universe, a murder case brings them together again with a slightly revamped squad – ReMIT, a regional major incident team that rush in and solve the big cases so locals don’t have to. Their first case is a potential serial who’s interested in romance – picking up single, lonely women who want love at wedding receptions, and killing them in someone else’s place, setting up a credible pattern that this person will follow – the person he really wants to kill. Which, according to Tony’s analysis, makes him ‘not your typical sexual killer’.
The seemingly random choice of victims and scattered locations, combined with the forensically savvy killer, makes ReMIT’s job ridiculously difficult, providing it with a baptism of fire and making no friends upstairs or in power. This is a recurring strand within McDermid’s Hill/Jordan series, as what they do is expensive, and in a climate of budget cuts, cheaper options are always preferred and ReMIT essentially becomes a law unto itself.
But that’s what I love about this team of loveable rogues. They have unconventional methods yes, expensive ones probably, but whatever twists and turns the job does get done. I loved the little diversion that Paula’s young ward Torin brought to the book in the midst of murder and Tony/Carol drama and the unfolding notion that DC Sam Evans never deserved his place on the team with his betrayal and me me me attitude.
So the ending, I was not expecting. And I won’t talk about it because its mean to those who want to read it but haven’t yet. But I sense that the end may be in sight for this series, but I really really hope not. Probably going to have to wait two years for the next instalment, you’ll find me wailing in the corner about how life is unfair and how its a torturous existence being a Tony Hill/Carol Jordan Val McDermid fan.