Buy Books | Buy DVDs

Val McDermid

Click on a book title below to read its synopsis:

Beneath the Bleeding (2008)
Cleanskin (2006)
The Grave Tattoo (2005)
Stranded (2005)
The Torment of Others (2004)
Hostage to Murder (2003)
The Distant Echo (2003)
The Last Temptation (2002)
Killing the Shadows (2000)
A Place of Execution (1999)
The Wire in the Blood (1997)

Booked for Murder (1996)
Blue Genes (1996)
The Mermaids Singing (1995)
Clean Break (1995)
A Suitable Job for a Woman (1994)
Kick Back (1993)
Union Jack (1993)
Dead Beat (1992)
Final Edition (1991)
Common Murder (1989)
Report for Murder (1987)


Buy Paperback

Beneath the Bleeding

A city is mourning. The local soccer team's star midfielder has been murdered, bizarrely poisoned in an apparently motiveless killing. Then a bomb blast rips through the stadium. Dozens lie dead; many more are injured. Is it a terrorist attack or a vendetta against the team? Or something even more sinister?

As he lies in a hospital bed, psychologist and profiler Dr. Tony Hill struggles to make sense of the fragments of information he manages to gather. Meanwhile, his customary ally, Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan, is being pushed to the margins of the investigation by intelligence services determined to prove themselves indispensable. It wouldn't be so bad if Tony and Carol could agree about who they're looking for. But both are at odds as they have never been before.

Canadian crime readers love Val McDermid's Tony Hill and Carol Jordan together. With every new book in the series -The Last Temptation was the most recent and was a bestseller in Canada - and with the re-airing of The Wire in the Blood television series on Showcase, McDermid's stature as an international sensation will continue to grow.

Back to top

Cleanskin

When career criminal Jack Farlowe's body is found washed-up on a Suffolk shore, it looks to the police like a clear-cut case. Broken-hearted at his daughter's death, he has drowned himself - good riddance and one less crime to solve, according to CID.

Then again, maybe not. For, one by one, Farlowe's enemies are being killed. And the horrific manner of their deaths makes drowning look like a day at the beach.

Back to top


Buy Paperback


Buy Hardcover
Buy Paperback

The Grave Tattoo

When torrential summer rains uncover a bizarrely tattooed body on a Lake District hillside, old wives’ tales come swirling to the surface. For centuries Lakelanders have whispered that Fletcher Christian, infamous Bounty mutineer, staged the massacre on Pitcairn Island so he could return home. And there he told his story to an old friend and schoolmate, William Wordsworth, who turned it into a long narrative poem—one kept hidden lest it expose Wordsworth to the gallows for harbouring a fugitive. Wordsworth specialist Jane Gresham, herself a native of the Lake District, feels compelled to discover once and for all if the manuscript ever existed—and whether it still exists today. But as she pursues each new lead, death follows hard on her heels. Suddenly Jane is at the heart of a 200-year-old mystery that continues to put lives on the line. Against the dramatic backdrop of England’s Lake District a drama of life and death plays out, its ultimate prize a bounty worth millions.

Back to top

Stranded

White nights of passion and revenge in St Petersburg. A bingo-hall tyrant trapped by masked intruders. The sleazy flipside of the international publishing scene. An author succumbing to the deadly lure of cybersex.

Stranded demonstrates yet again the scope of Val McDermid's imagination, her versatility as a stylist and her immense powers as a storyteller. As well as McDermid's popular series character, private eye Kate Brannigan, this diverse collection contains narrative voices, both female and male, from different continents and an eclectic range of backgrounds. McDermid has chosen the short-story form to probe not only the motivations of the criminal underworld but also the nature of crime itself, all the time playing with crime-writing and pushing it to its limits. There are even occasions where McDermid defies the genre altogether and the collection is framed by two stories that show a writer exploring fresh territory.

Grit, sex, glamour, intrigue and unexpected turns: Stranded is a showcase of trademark McDermid that will strike a few surprising chords amongst even her most devoted readers.

Back to top


Buy Paperback
Buy Audio CD
Buy Audio Cassette


Buy Hardcover
Buy Paperback
Buy Audio CD

The Torment of Others

Clinical psychologist and profiler Dr. Tony Hill and Detective Chief Inspector Carol Jordan face the toughest challenge of their careers. Prostitutes working the streets of Bradfield are being viciously murdered. Surprisingly, the killings match the signature of convicted killer Derek Tyler who is locked up at the Bradfield Mental Hospital. As Tony Hill tries to crack Tyler in his cell, Carol and her team face an undercover operation that goes horribly wrong. Tension mounts when the copycat killer abducts one of their own detectives.

Back to top

Hostage to Murder

Spraining an ankle is rarely a stroke of luck, but for Lindsay Gordon, jobless in Glasgow, the injury is her introduction to young freelance journalist Rory McLaren and the opening of a new chapter in her life. Rory's invitation to work alongside her in her booth at the Cafe Virginia is irresistible. From there it is just a short step to political corruption and other juicy stories--all welcome distractions from Lindsay's problems at home, where her long-term lover Sophie has decided to heed the ticking of her biological clock and get pregnant. But when a local car dealer's stepson is kidnapped, Lindsay and Rory are invited to trade journalism for detection. The trail leads them to St. Petersburg and a dangerous snatch-back operation. It's a journey that brings a whole new dimension of risk into Lindsay's life. Back in Glasgow, it becomes clear that Lindsay and Rory have stumbled into a bigger, more violent piece of business than either of them could have guessed--and one which will test Lindsay to her absolute limits. Hostage to Murder, the long-awaited sixth Lindsay Gordon mystery, is a lightning-paced story spliced with crackling action and an intense emotional dimension.

Back to top


Buy Paperback
Buy Audio CD
Buy Audio Cassette


Buy Paperback
Buy Audio Cassette

The Distant Echo

Four in the morning, mid-December, and snow is smothering St Andrews. Student Alex Gilbey and his three best friends are staggering home from a party when they stumble upon the body of a young woman. Rosie Duff has been raped, stabbed and left for dead in the ancient Pictish cemetery. And the only suspects are the four young students stained with her blood. Twenty-five years later, Fife police mount a cold case review. Among the unsolved murders they're examining is that of Rosie Duff. But someone else has their own idea of how justice should be done. One of the original quartet dies in a suspicious house fire. Soon after, a second is killed in what looks like a burglary gone sour. But Alex fears the worst. Someone is taking revenge for Rosie Duff. He has to find out who it is before he becomes the next victim. And it might just save his life if he can uncover who really killed Rosie all those years ago. Shortlisted for the 2005 Theakston's Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year.

Back to top

The Last Temptation

A white-knuckle ride through a world of corruption, cruelty and violence ... Mapping the minds of murderers is what Dr Tony Hill does better than anyone. So when a twisted killer starts targeting psychologists across northern Europe, he's the obvious choice to track the executioner's mental and physical journey.

Except that Tony doesn't want to do this any more.

But the case is about to come uncomfortably close to home. The next victim is a friend of his. And his former partner, DCI Carol Jordan, is herself in Germany, working undercover in a world where human life is cheaper than a drugs deal. She needs his help as much as the serial killer hunters do.

Confronting the worst of contemporary crime and struggling to unravel roots that lie deep in the tormented past of Nazi atrocities and Stasi abuses, Tony and Carol are forced to battle for survival against overwhelming odds. In this morass of doublecross and doubledealing, they have no one to trust but each other.

Tony Hill is back. And this time, it's personal.

Back to top


Buy Hardcover
Buy Paperback


Buy Paperback
Buy Audio CD
Buy Audio Cassette

Killing the Shadows

A killer is on the loose, blurring the line between fact and fiction. His prey - the writers of crime novels who have turned psychological profilers into the heroes of the nineties. But this killer is like no other. His bloodlust shatters all the conventional wisdom surrounding the motives and mechanics of how serial killers operate. And for one woman, the desperate hunt to uncover his identity becomes a matter of life and death. Professor Fiona Cameron is an academic psychologist who uses computer technology to help police forces track serial offenders. She used to help the Met, but vowed never to work for them again after they went against her advice and badly screwed up an investigation as a consequence. Still smarting from the experience, she's working a case in Toledo when her lover, thriller writer Kit Martin, tells her a fellow crime novelist has been murdered. It's not her case, but Fiona can't help taking an interest. Which is just as well, because before too long the killer strikes again. And again. And Fiona is caught up in a race against time, not only to save a life, but to bring herself redemption, both personal and professional.

Rich in atmosphere, Killing the Shadows uses the backdrops of city and country to create an air of threatening menace, culminating in a tense confrontation between hunter and hunted, a confrontation that can have only one outcome.

Back to top

A Place of Execution

Winter 1963: two children have disappeared off the streets of Manchester; the murderous careers of Myra Hindley and Ian Brady have begun. On a freezing day in December, another child goes missing: thirteen-year-old Alison Carter vanishes from the isolated Derbyshire hamlet of Scardale, a self-contained, insular community that distrusts the outside world. For the young George Bennett, a newly promoted inspector, it is the beginning of his most difficult and harrowing case: a murder with no body, an investigation with more dead ends and closed faces than he'd have found in the anonymity of the inner city, an outcome which reverberates down the years. Decades later he finally tells his story to journalist Catherine Heathcote, but just when the book is poised for publication, Bennett unaccountably tries to pull the plug. He has new information which he refuses to divulge, and which threatens the very foundations of his existence. Catherine is forced to reinvestigate the past, with results that turn the world upside down.

A Greek tragedy in modern England, A Place of Execution is a taut psychological suspense thriller that explores, exposes and explodes the border between reality and illusion in a multilayered narrative that turns expectations on their head and reminds us that what we know is what we do not know. A monstrous tale of deception, the technique of the telling is the greatest deception of all. Shortlisted for the 1999 CWA/The Macallan Gold Dagger; chosen as a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

Back to top


Buy Paperback
Buy Audio Cassette


Buy Paperback
Buy Audio Cassette

The Wire in the Blood

Young girls are disappearing around the country. Everyone assumes they are teenage runaways, headed for the big city and bright lights. They vanish without trace -- society's disposable children, There is nothing to connect them to each other, let alone the killer whose charming manner hides a warped and sick mind.

Nobody moves around inside the messy heads of serial killers like Dr Tony Hill. Now heading up the recently founded National Profiling Task Force, he sets his team an exercise: they are given the details of thirty missing teenagers and asked to use their new techniques to discover whether there is a sinister link between any of the cases. Only one officer comes up with a concrete theory, but it is ridiculed by the rest of her group ... until a killer murders and mutilates one of their number.

Could the outrageous suspicion possibly be true? For Tony Hill, the murder of a member of his team becomes a matter for personal revenge. Aided by his previous colleague, Carol Jordan, he embarks upon a campaign of psychological terrorism - a game of cat and mouse where the roles of hunter and hunted are all too easily reversed. Shortlisted for the WH Smiths 'Thumping good Read' award.

Back to top

Booked for Murder

'Murder, she felt fairly sure, was not the kind of "Purpose of Visit" calculated to speed her through immigration.' Why would anyone want to kill Penny Varnavides, bestselling author of the "Teen Dreams" series?

It couldn't have been the freak accident it first appeared -- Penny's death was an exact replica of the murder method in her forthcoming book. Apart from Penny, only three people knew the plot: her literary agent, her editor and her ex-girlfriend Meredith.

In tribute to her friendship with Penny, Lindsay Gordon agrees to investigate. Reluctantly she leaves her Californian haven for the fraught world of London book publishing. And as her investigation reveals an incendiary mixture of soured relationships and seething rivalries, Lindsay must face the frightening truth. Someone in Penny's literary or love life must have been driven to murder...

Back to top


Buy Paperback


Buy Audio CD
Buy Audio Cassette

Blue Genes

Kate Brannigan isn't just having a bad day. She's having a bad week. The worst week of her life, if you really want to know. Her boyfriend's death notice is in the newspaper, her plans to capture a team of heartless fraudsters are in disarray and a Celtic neo-punk band under siege want her to rescue them from the saboteurs who are trashing their posters and their gigs. As if that isn't enough, Kate's business partner wants her to buy him out so he can emigrate to Australia. Fine, except that private eyes with principles never have that kind of cash. Kate can't even cry on her best friend's shoulder, for Alexis has worries of her own. Her girlfriend Chris is pregnant, and when the doctor responsible for the pioneering and illegal fertility treatment is murdered, Alexis needs Kate like she's never needed her before. So what's a girl to do?

Delving into the alien world of medical experimentation and the underbelly of the rock music business, Kate confronts betrayal and cold-blooded greed as she fights to save not only her livelihood but her life as well...

Back to top

The Mermaids Singing

Up till now, the only serial killers Tony Hill had encountered were safely behind bars. This one's different - this one's on the loose. In the northern town of Bradfield four men have been found mutilated and tortured. Fear grips the city; no man feels safe. Clinical psychologist Tony Hill is brought in to profile the killer. A man with more than enough sexual problems of his own, Tony himself becomes the unsuspecting target in a battle of wits and wills where he has to use every ounce of his professional skill and personal nerve to survive. Winner of the CWA/The Macallan 1995 Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel of the Year.

Back to top


Buy Paperback
Buy Audio Cassette


Buy Hardcover

Clean Break

Manchester-based private eye Kate Brannigan is not amused when thieves have the audacity to steal a Monet from a stately home where shed arranged the security. She's even less thrilled when the hunt for the thieves drags her on a treacherous foray across Europe as she goes head to head with organised crime. And as if that isn't enough, a routine industrial sabotage case starts leaving a trail of bodies across the northwest, giving Kate more problems than she can deal with. Cleaning up the mess in Clean Break forces Kate to confront harsh truths in her own life as she battles with a testing array of villains in a case that stretches love and loyalty to the limits.

Back to top

A Suitable Job for a Woman

NON-FICTION. The female private eye is one of the sexiest and most exciting of fictional creations. But who are the real women who pound the mean streets? How do they get into this seemingly unladylike profession and what makes them stay, despite the risks they encounter? What qualities does it take to survive in this harshest of male worlds? From the elegant manager of a successful all-women investigation agency in Merseyside to the Californian woman who spends her days working for murderers, crime writer Val McDermid has spoken to female private eyes on both sides of the Atlantic, heard their most terrifying stories and learned how they work - whether it's going undercover to bust drug barons or serving injunctions on violent offenders.

What she discovered is a group of women who are every bit as tough and fascinating as their fictional counterparts, with lives that few could even imagine. A Suitable Job for a Woman is a riveting insight into the women who fight crime on their own terms and beat men at their own game. Nominated by the Mystery Writers of America for an Edgar Award for best critical work.

Back to top


Buy Paperback


Buy Paperback

Kick Back

Kate Brannigan, feisty Manchester-based PI, is back, investigating the bizarre case of the missing conservatories. Before long she's up to her neck in crooked land deals, mortgage scams, financial chicanery - and murder. But when a favour for a friend puts Kate's own life in danger, bizarre is not the first word she thinks of...

Back to top

Union Jack

Journalist Lindsay Gordon is more accustomed to investigating murder than being suspected of it. But when union boss Tom Jack falls to his death from her bedroom window after a spectacularly public row with Lindsay, it seems the only way to prove her innocence is to find the real culprit. In an investigation that draws her inexorably into her own past, Lindsay is forced to confront hard moral choices before she can clear her name. Winner of the Gold Dagger Award.

Back to top


Buy Hardcover
Buy Paperback


Buy Paperback

Dead Beat

Dead Beat introduces Kate Brannigan, a female private detective set to do for Manchester what V.I. Warshawski has done for Chicago. As a favour to her rock journalist boyfriend, Kate agrees to track down a missing song-writer Moira Pollock, a search that takes her into some of the seediest parts of Leeds and Bradford. But little does she realise that finding Moira is only a prelude to murder. Juggling her other cases, including a search to uncover the source of counterfeit luxury goods, Brannigan finds herself for the first time on the trail of a killer.

Back to top

Final Edition

When she returns from a self-imposed exile in Italy, journalist Lindsay Gordon finds her world turned upside down. The lover she thought would wait for her has found a new partner; an ex-lover has been murdered; and a former colleague has been jailed for the crime. But some disagree with the jury's verdict and soon Lindsay is embroiled in an investigation involving blackmail, stolen government documents and the vested interests of a group of people determined to keep her from finding the truth. And when she does finally face the answer to the question, 'Who killed Alison Maxwell?' Lindsay is confronted with the hardest choice of her life.

Back to top


Buy Hardcover
Buy Paperback
Buy Audio CD
Buy Audio Cassette


Buy Hardcover
Buy Paperback
Buy Audio CD

Common Murder

A protest group hits the headlines when unrest at a women's peace camp explodes into murder. Already on the scene, journalist Lindsay Gordon desperately tries to strike a balance between personal and professional responsibilities. As she peels back the layers of deception surrounding the protest and its opponents, she finds that no one -- ratepayer or reporter, policeman or peace woman -- seems wholly above suspicion. Then Lindsay uncovers a truth that even she can scarcely believe.

Back to top

Report for Murder

Kate Brannigan isn't just having a bad day. She's having a bad week. The worst week of her life, if you really want to know. Her boyfriend's death notice is in the newspaper, her plans to capture a team of heartless fraudsters are in disarray and a Celtic neo-punk band under siege want her to rescue them from the saboteurs who are trashing their posters and their gigs. As if that isn't enough, Kate's business partner wants her to buy him out so he can emigrate to Australia. Fine, except that private eyes with principles never have that kind of cash. Kate can't even cry on her best friend's shoulder, for Alexis has worries of her own. Her girlfriend Chris is pregnant, and when the doctor responsible for the pioneering and illegal fertility treatment is murdered, Alexis needs Kate like she's never needed her before. So what's a girl to do?

Delving into the alien world of medical experimentation and the underbelly of the rock music business, Kate confronts betrayal and cold-blooded greed as she fights to save not only her livelihood but her life as well...

Back to top


Buy Paperback

Back to top