Death Is A Hollow Drum Whose Beat Has Measured Out My Adult Life So Writes Jay Macallan Stewart In Her Latest Volume Of Memoirs But Nobody Has Ever Asked Whether That Has Been By Accident Or Design Nobody, That Is, Until Jay Turns Her Sights On Newly Wed And Freshly Widowed Magda Newsam For Magda S Mother Corinna Is An Oxford Don Who Knows Enough Of Jay S History To Be Very Afraid Indeed Determined To Protect Her Daughter, Corinna Turns To Clinical Psychologist Charlie Flint But As Charlie Digs Into The Past And Its Trail Of Bodies She Starts To Realise The Price Of Truth May Be Than She Wants To Pay Well I got to page 64 and decided to quit it s not that this was that bad it s just that I could not get into the characters at all I just wasn t drawn in enough to want to know what happens I think there was too much emphasis on everyone s relationships the mystery element just sort of faded away to me and I didn t like the characters well enough without plot.I feel bad I didn t finish this but there are just too many books out there to waste time with one that is just not quite my thing I m not sure how to rate this but I ll guess it s a one and a half this 5 star system does not really work for me since I didn t like it I would try this author again though the writing was not too bad even if the plot characters didn t grab me. My mother disappeared when I was sixteen It was the best thing that could have happened to me.When I say that out loud, people look at me out if the corners of their eyes, as if I ve transgressed some fundamental taboo But it s the truth I m not hiding some complicated grief reaction.My mother disappeared when I was sixteen The guards had walked away from the prison leaving the door unlocked And I emerged blinking into the sunlight I wanted to keep this book for a while and read it when I needed a solid mystery to delve in and occupy my mind for a spell when I needed something dependable.But just looking at the fabulous cover of the paperback edition made me twitch This is only my fourth McDermid I am quickly becoming a fan and a short way into the story of disgraced psychiatrist Charlie Flint I got the impression that this book is different Just a short way into this book I began to wonder if McDermid had an agenda which she wanted the characters in the book to play out.Trick of the Dark is centred on a mothers suspicion that her daughter is being seduced by a woman of dubious character or rather one with a dubious past There is no police work, no obvious crime, but one obvious suspect.Strangely enough, the story and the character had soon drawn me in and it took no time at all to want to figure out the mystery surrounding the main suspect As mentioned, there is little in the way of procedural policing Most of the book is based on good old sleuthing and psychology, or as I would call it following a hunch but I really liked it There is also some humor in this, and I hope some of the giggles I got reflect some of McDermott s own sense of fun The only criticism and, having read some of the scathing reviews this book received, this is only a slight criticism is that the dialogues were too stilted to be believable Yes, the conversations between the characters carried most of the story, but some of the conversations, even hard ones to have, were way too polished. Now I could be extra harsh and just give you the review of this that I gave to my girlfriend Too many lesbians, not enough murder, but that would sell it short somewhat and make me sound a little bigoted Nevertheless I was disappointed by Trick of the Dark primarily because the story seemed so tame and rather slow, not up to the standards I would expect from McDermid A man is killed on his wedding day, seemingly bludgeoned and drowned by his two business partners Later the victims prospective mother in law calls in a former pupil of hers, Charlie Flint, to investigate the brides new lover, successful businesswoman Jay Stewart, who she is convinced is responsible for the murder and other killings in the past Charlie has problems of her own, with her career in tatters and another woman tempting her from her own wife, but decides the investigation would be the perfect distraction from her troubles.The book is well written and the way the story flows does draw you along with it but the plot feels like an ITV drama with extra lesbians thrown in Charlie Flint is a likeable lead even though she is prone to adolescent behavior towards her love life debating on wether she will cheat on on even leave her wife of 7 years does grate on you The story is also interspersed with extracts from Jay s memoir as she s writing it giving her version of the backstory, which works well As with other of Val s books the dialogue sometimes feels a little contrived with elements of poetry This is also a primarily female lead story with virtually all of the protagonists being female , and most of them being gay also , which is fine but make it hard for me to relate to any of the characters.On balance I think I m rating this book so low purely because of my disappointment The Val McDermid books I love are the Tony Hill Carol Jordan novels and most of her other standalone stories, which are filled will tension, suspense and most importantly threat which this book sorely lacks It reminds me of the disappointment I felt on reading The Grave Tattoo another of McDermid s books which I felt was a misfire Val McDermid is an excellent writer and the quality of her prose is alway eminently readable but in Trick Of The Dark as with The Grave Tattoo the story is not on par with most of her other work, especially to fans of hard crime fiction like me. I ve never read any of McDermid s Tony Hill series, though I did like the BBC Wire in the Blood production based on them, but I ve read and enjoyed several of her standalones Trick of the Dark is no exception Initially I wasn t sure whether I was going to like it or not as I had difficulty finding a character to feel sympathy with or for but as the action investigation ratcheted up I did get hooked.This story depends on coincidences which I found myself willing to accept I love McDermid s plotting skills and enjoyed the chase as I wondered how she was going to get her characters out of this one The plot begins with oh you can read the blurb at the book s listing It s set in various places in Britain, has an Oxford background, a gorgeous young widow whose husband was murdered at the wedding reception and who later comes out of the closet, a forensic psychiatrist asked by an unknown party to look into the above murder, etc An updated and far detailed Agatha Christie situation Except Agatha never had plots quite like this that I recall.Enjoyable read.
Val McDermid is a No 1 bestseller whose novels have been translated into than thirty languages, and have sold over eleven million copies She has won many awards internationally, including the CWA Gold Dagger for best crime novel of the year and the LA Times Book of the Year Award She was inducted into the ITV3 Crime Thriller Awards Hall of Fame in 2009 and was the recipient of the CWA Cart
- Kindle Edition
- Trick of the Dark
- Val McDermid
- 20 June 2017 Val McDermid