Book Review: How the Dead Speak by Val McDermid @valmcdermid @LittleBrownUK

How the Dead Speak
The New Tony Hill and Carol Jordan Thriller #11
Val McDermid
Little, Brown (UK), August 2019
ISBN 978-1-4087-1225-2
Hardcover

If you are familiar with Val McDermid’s novels you probably know the characters Tony Hill and Carol Jordan. And if, like me, you are a fan of these two; Tony a profiler and criminal psychologist who works with Carol the head of a special Police team, you probably remember the outcome of their previous collaboration in the novel Insidious Intent where Carol’s and Tony’s lives changed dramatically.

In How the Dead Speak, the newest entry in the series, Tony is in prison and Carol has resigned from her job of running an elite Police Force ReMIT – Regional Major Incident Team. Tony is in a rather hostile environment trying to stay out of trouble, while Carol is suffering from PTSD unwilling to seek help.

When a construction company starting work on a project at a local Convent and School now closed down uncovers a gravesite with a large number of skeletal remains, possibly young girls, the ReMIT team, under new leadership, is called in to investigate. When a second gravesite is found on the same premises with more than six male bodies wrapped in plastic, murder is the most the obvious cause.

Meanwhile, Tony’s mother Vanessa pays him a visit, insisting he help her recover money stolen from her by a man using a Ponzi scheme. While Tony has no love for his mother, she orders him to ask Carol to locate the man who has run off with her money. Knowing Vanessa will use every means she can to further ruin his and Carol’s life if he refuses, he agrees to ask Carol to look into the matter. Vanessa then pays Carol a visit, relaying the message from Tony, leaving Carol with no option but to find the man Vanessa is seeking.

As the storylines kick into gear, chapters switch between multiple points of view, from members of the ReMIT team as they investigate the deaths of the young girls and the murdered men, to Tony as he tries to find a way to come to terms with his incarceration, and Carol in her search for the perpetrator of the Ponzi scheme.

Carol and Tony’s relationship has at times been tumultuous throughout this great series. In this novel we watch with interest as they each deal with the problems they face in vastly different circumstances. Though they are not working together this time, McDermid keeps the reader turning pages eager to reach the conclusion of the engaging plot-lines.

I particularly enjoyed the brief and succinct paragraphs at the heading of each chapter, which are bites from one of Tony Hill’s books.

Grab this one… It’s a must read.

Reviewed by guest reviewer Moyra Tarling, December 2019.