Dr. Tony Hill and Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan return in the award-winning series that is the basis for the BBC television show.
In a small grim room, the body of a woman is discovered, panic and pain etched in her face. The scene matches in every detail a series of murders two years ago-murders that ended when irrefutable forensic evidence secured the conviction of a deeply disturbed young man named Derek Tyler.
But there's no way Tyler could have killed the latest victim. He's been locked up in a mental institution since his trial, barely speaking a word. So is there a copycat?
All his years of experience tell top criminal psychologist Dr. Tony Hill that there isn't-but that would make the murders literally impossible. While Hill tries to crack Tyler, DCI Carol Jordan and her team must mount a desperate undercover operation to trap the murderer-a decision that will have terrible consequences.
In The Torment of Others, Val McDermid keeps the tension mounting, as a mixture of psychological insight and dogged detective work leads inexorably to a terrifying climax where Tony faces one of the most perverse killers he has ever encountered.
British author McDermid, whose The Wire in the Blood has become the best of actor Robson Greer's omnipresent TV outings, has published most recently a gripping stand-alone, The Distant Echo (2003). Now she continues her engrossing series about criminal psychologist Dr. Tony Hill and his police colleague, DCI Carol Jordan (who made their debut in 1996's The Mermaids Singing), in a beautifully constructed, impeccably written story about an apparent copycat killer. McDermid takes this not exactly virginal supposition and literally turns it on its head. Two years earlier, strong forensic evidence put serial killer Derek Tyler behind bars in a mental hospital. Now Hill is sure that against all logic Tyler has committed a new murder in the same way as his old ones. The more he and Jordan dig, the more impossible the connection appears. But Hill refuses to swallow the obvious that someone is imitating Tyler's modus operandi and McDermid's swelling legions of enthusiasts will share his bafflement. A finalist for the CWA's 2004 Gold Dagger Award, this fresh, imaginative psychological thriller should help win the author many new fans in the U.S.