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The Torment of Others is the latest in a series of gritty crime mysteries from acclaimed Scottish writer, Val McDermid. Her central characters, clinical psychologist Doctor Tony Hill and Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan, face the toughest challenge of their careers when they are confronted with a series of horrific crimes. Prostitutes on the street of Bradfield are being murdered in a particularly grotesque way. The killings match the signature of convicted killer Derek Tyler. But as Tony Hill tries to crack Tyler in his cell at the Bradfield mental hospital, Carol and her team face an undercover operation that goes horribly wrong and mount a tension filled search for the copycat killer who's abducted one of their own detectives.

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John McNeilly
Police Detective
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Val McDermid creates two investigations on subjects that are very topical right now: the disappearances and murders of sex trade workers, and Internet pedophiles. I enjoyed reading a work of fiction that's paralleling what's going on in society.

Where the book lost me was the way they chose their undercover operator. You don't just find someone who looks like a good victim, you interview people for different personality types. You need someone who has the ability to come up with ideas really quickly, to progress the investigation, but also to get themselves out of trouble. This way of doing it was like driving a stake into the ground, tying a lamb to it, and seeing if the beast shows up.

I had problems with Carol Jordan being pushed around. If I want to be walking the beat on a midnight shift in Hawrelak Park, I know a really good way to get there and that would be to challenge my boss. It's right back to the paramilitary aspect of policing. If someone's going to stand up and say 'guys, follow me, I'm going to go into the line of fire,' you have to respect that person, and if someone else is pushing him around...

I did like Tony Hill. I liked that he was intelligent and well-versed in the field of psychology, and still couldn't seem to hit what he should be doing in relation to Carol. I also liked they way he finally put things together at the end.

Other reviews by John McNeilly:
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