Review Blog

Oct 01 2015

Splinter the silence by Val McDermid

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Little, Brown, 2015. ISBN 9781408706893
(Age: secondary to adult) Highly recommended. Crime fiction, Stalking, Trolls. This latest crime story involving Dr Tony Hill and Carol Jordan has both of them in limbo. Carol has resigned from the police, distancing herself from friends, particularly Tony, drinking heavily and rebuffing overtures of friendship. One night she drives home only to be stopped by the police and arrested for drink driving. With no one else to turn to she rings Tony to take her home. He insists on staying the night and taking her problem in hand; a hostile Carol wakes the next morning to find he has emptied all her bottles of booze. His determination to stop her drinking is paramount.
Meanwhile, she has been touted as the head of a new department in the north to coordinate major crimes, but this arrest causes problems for the hierarchy. But when Tony senses something is not quite right in a suicide report he convinces Carol and her new team about the veracity of his suppositions and together they work on using digital footprints to find the killer.
Again a wonderfully engrossing story, the characters are multi layered and impel us to watch their movements against the backdrop of women's rights, trolling and cyber bullying. McDermid takes us into the brain of this man, warped by experience and environment to see women as not really knowing what they should be, making his killings look like suicides to wake them up to the reality of being a wife and mother staying at home.
And McDermid introduces a moral uncertainty which is just as engrossing as the crime story, with Carol's drink driving charge being dropped. And with Tony moving into Carol's finished barn, the next installment of their relationship could be even more prickly.
This is a great read, showing how impossible it is to hide in this cyber world, how even the most meticulous planning can come unstuck, and how things that have happened in the past can have unexpected repercussions.
Fran Knight

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