This book has been languishing on my to be read pile for a while. I really enjoy Val McDermid’s books but for some reason, this one just wasn’t calling out to me. Well, after recently reading Vanishing Point by McDermid, I decided it was time to read this installment of the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series. It was thrilling, disturbing and in the end, I was a little disappointed.
Before going into what I thought about this book, I should mention what it’s about. The Retribution takes us back to serial killer, Jacko Vance from the previous novel Blood in the Wire. Vance has spent years in prison but his years have been spent thinking over the pleasure he took in his crimes and how he is going to pay back those that put him in jail. In this book, Vance manages to escape prison and now has his sights set on punishing Tony and Carol. A side plot is Carol is working on series of murders that are just now starting to look like the work of a serial killer.
Now that you know what this book is about, you probably wondering why I called it disappointing. Well…first I did enjoy this book and read it very quickly. McDermid can write a thrillingly paced story and keep the reader on their toes. What I found disappointing about this novel was two fold. One part is that things seemed almost too easy to Vance. Escaping and then carrying out the items on his revenge list just didn’t seem to have any real hiccups. The book might have been written to show how intelligent (and crazy) Vance is and that he was meticulous in plotting out his revenge, I still would have expected more problems to come his way since he had been behind bars for over a ten years.
My second disappointment was Carol’s reaction when Vance’s revenge starts happening. I’m not going to go into much detail with it because it might reveal too much of the story, I’ll just leave it by saying that I found her reactions over the top and unbelievable. Maybe it was right on with Carol’s characters but it has been years since I’ve read a Carol Jordan and Tony Hill novel so for this particular installment, I felt it wasn’t in character for her.
This was a good, fast paced and suspenseful read. I liked how other characters on Carol’s team of investigators got the spotlight a little while investigating the other serial killer. It added a nice touch to this novel. I just wish some things had been different with the Jacko Vance storyline (although he is still disturbing). 3.5 Stars.