Book review – The Retribution by Val McDermid

Book Review

The Retribution by Val McDermid

7 out of 10


Throughout her career, Val McDermid has gained a reputation as a writer of the highest quality, her writing having a razor like sharpness, forensic exactness, and as well as the victims within her books, she also gives her police force and detectives a hard time. Detective Tony Hill and Detective Chief Inspector Cathy Jordan are re-united in a tale that pits them against one of the most notorious, and chilling seriel killers that either one of them has ever dealth with, Jacko Vance.

Unlike Ian Rankin, whose Inspector Rebus and Ger Cafferty gain a grudging respect, despite working on the other side of the law, the relationship between long suffering detective Tony Hill and his team and Jacko Vance, the fallen, former television personality is anything but collegiate.

Tony Hill has many problems, but the spectre of Jacko Vance is one of the biggest, and now that he has served time for his crimes, his next intended victim is Tony Hill, and as an extension of that DCI Cathy Jordan is also under threat.

The twisting narrative of the story, the humanity of the police team, and the sheer evil that Vance now personifies are all very well drawn within this complex novel. The depth of Vance’s depravity, and his ability to go depths that most people could not even comprehend is comprehensively drawn, with each jarring turn of events having its own forward momentum.

The Retribution is Val McDermid’s twenty fifth book, and although she has never been the easiest of readers, in terms of characterisation, and subject matter, this is one novel, and one character, who although fictional, at times seems far to real that will have you thinking about him, long after you have closed the final pages.

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