When Home Office profiler Tony Hill puts together a new National Profiling Task Force, he knows the new members are going to need training, so as an exercise, he sets them the task of scrutinizing the disappearance of a group of girls to search for links between them. All of the girls are presumed runaways and no one really expects to find anything, but one member does come up with a connection, one which would set Britain on its head if it were found to be true. No one takes this link seriously, until the officer doesn’t show up for work one morning. Suddenly, the impossible looks like it might be all too true.
I was introduced to Val McDermid because I like mysteries, but I personally think her works qualify more as thrillers than mystery since they are more about finding and substantiating the path from A to B than following the trail from A to see where it leads them. You know where she’s taking the story, you just don’t know how she’ll get there. I also have to admit that she reaches the verge of my comfort zone. I’m a bit of a chicken and prefer a nice, comfortable murder to one where you have to enter the brain of a killer. I don’t care for reading or listening about torture and pain and frankly prefer murders which are quick and as painless as possible so we can get on to the whodunit part. I once listened to a book where there was at least an hour of torture and pain and I just can’t see the point of going into it until it almost becomes boring and you lose interest because the plot’s not going anywhere in the meantime. Fortunately for me, McDermid does keep the blood, gore and torture scenes to a very minimum and the plot was good with good characters. Rating this one for what it is, I’ll give it a 4 out of 5. Great for its genre, but not brilliant enough to really entice newbies into that genre.