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Killer Nashville 2018 Silver Falchion Nominee

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INSIDIOUS INTENT

By Val McDermid

Atlantic Monthly Press
$14.79
ISBN 978-0802127167
Publication Date: December 5, 2017

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KN Silver Falchion nominee

INSIDIOUS INTENT

Review by Sharon Marchisello

Insidious Intent, the tenth installment of international bestselling author Val McDermid’s Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series, has been nominated for a Silver Falchion award.

Dr. Tony Hill is an astute psychological profiler and former police detective Carol Jordan has recently been tapped to head the elite Regional Major Incident Team. Their first case involves a forensically savvy serial killer with no previous criminal record and no connection to any of his unrelated victims. All were single women who met a dashing stranger at a wedding, engaged in a whirlwind courtship, and then were found burned to a crisp in their own cars, stranded in remote locations.

AsInsidious Intent was my first introduction to this series, I felt a bit like a newcomer at a family reunion. All the characters had rich back stories and complex relationships which were alluded to in passing. I’m still wondering what happened to Carol’s brother and his wife; I only know they met a tragic end, most likely simultaneously, and Carol is still haunted by their deaths.

Nevertheless, my unfamiliarity with the characters’ history did not prevent me from becoming thoroughly engaged in this well-crafted British police procedural. The author rotates point-of-view among the characters who play essential roles on the task force, like cogs in a well-oiled machine. An interesting sub-plot features Detective Sergeant Paula McIntyre and her partner Elinor, wards of an orphaned teenager, Torin, who becomes a target of cyber-bullying.

Besides the frustration of hunting a murderer who knows how to cover his tracks, the team faces pressure from above to deliver results and skepticism from other branches of law enforcement who resent them. And a pesky reporter starts digging up unsavory details from Carol’s past which could derail her career, taking the fledgling task force down along with her. When they catch a break and figure out the identity of the alleged culprit, he lawyers up and taunts them with their lack of concrete evidence, which further convinces the brass to shut down their investigation and dismantle the team. Desperation drives Tony and Carol to use unorthodox methods, with an end result readers will not see coming.

Multiple award-winning author Val McDermid has been turning out murder mysteries for over thirty years. In addition to her popular Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series, she has published series featuring sleuths Karen Pirie, Lindsay Gordon, and Kate Branigan, as well as several short story collections and nonfiction books.

Sharon Marchisello (sharonmarchisello.com) is the author of Going Home, (Sunbury Press, 2014) a murder mystery inspired by her mother’s battle with Alzheimer’s disease. She earned a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California and is a member of the Atlanta chapter of Sisters in Crime. She lives in Peachtree City, GA, with her husband and cat, does volunteer work for the Fayette Humane Society, and writes a blog about personal finance, Countdown to Financial Fitness https://sharonmarchisello.blogspot.com/