The Mermaids Singing by Val McDermid #bookreview

Val McDermid has been on my must-read author list for a while and I was excited to finally start the first book in her Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series, The Mermaids Singing. With the latest book in this series being released soon, I thought it was high time I caught up.


You always remember the first time. Isn’t that what they say about sex? How much more true it is of murder…

Up till now, the only serial killers Tony Hill had encountered were safely behind bars. This one’s different – this one’s on the loose.

Four men have been found mutilated and tortured. As fear grips the city, the police turn to clinical psychologist Tony Hill for a profile of the killer. But soon Tony becomes the unsuspecting target in a battle of wits and wills where he has to use every ounce of his professional nerve to survive.

A tense, beautifully written psychological thriller, The Mermaids Singing explores the tormented mind of a serial killer unlike any the world of fiction has ever seen.


Val McDermid is an author I’ve long wanted to try, and I finally got round to reading the first book in her Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series a couple of weeks ago, well I listened to the audiobook. The Mermaids Singing is a gritty police procedural with some very graphic scenes, so perhaps this isn’t for you if you’re a little squeamish. I thoroughly enjoyed reading the first book in this series. Although I found it predictable and I guessed who the killer was very early on I found Val’s writing very gripping.

The killer in this book is absolutely terrifying. You do get the sense that they will go to any means possible to achieve their satisfaction. They’re determined to be recognised for their crimes. Tony Hill and Carol Jordan recognise this, which makes them even more determined to catch them before the killer kills again. As I mentioned, I did have my suspicions early on as to who the killer was, which proved to be correct, but I was excited to see if I was right and what the final outcome was going to be.

I really liked the developing relationship between Tony and Carol, and I am interested to see how Val will continue this when I get round to reading the rest of the books in this series. Tony is a fascinating character. I struggled to understand him at first but by the end of the book I really connected with his character and I was rooting for him, especially in the final scenes as the book drew towards its conclusion.

The first book in this series is set in the 90s in Bradfield and what is highlighted is how old fashioned some police officers thinking methods were. This was where I wanted Tony Hill to succeed as I felt that they really needed to be shaken up. There was one police officer who I particularly detested as he seemed to want to brush the crimes that were taking place under the carpet. I really hated his way of thinking. You will know who I mean if you have, or when you read the book.

This is the first book I have read by Val, and it certainly will not be my last. If you like your crime fiction dark and with plenty of suspense, then I would definitely recommend it.  I’m looking forward to reading more from this series.

Publisher: Harper

Publication date: 5th November 2015

Print length: 464 pages

If you would like to purchase The Mermaids Singing, you can do so by clicking on one of the following links below. 

Amazon UK  Waterstones