‘Cross and Burn’ is the 8th book in Val McDermid’s Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series and follows on from book 7 ‘The Retribution’. In fact, the closing events of ‘The Retribution’ are covered in this book to give this story context.
In Book 7, Carol’s brother Michael along with his partner were brutally murdered by Jacko Vance. Carol is extremely traumatised and angry with Tony for not being able to predict Vance’s actions. So, DCI Carol Jordan’s Major Incident Team has been disbanded. Carol has resigned from the police force and she and Tony are no longer speaking. Apart from a brief appearance from computer genius Stacy Chen, the only other member of the old team we catch up with is Paula McIntyre.
Paula is now working with DCI Alex Fielding and finding life very different. Fielding comes across as a narrow-minded, vindictive bitch. No-one likes her and I wonder how she could possibly get to the level of DCI.
Fielding’s team is working on the brutal murder of a woman. At the same time, a friend of Paula’s – Bev, has gone missing. Not finding much team support at work, Paula discusses the cases with Tony. So, we still get to see Tony’s influence even though he is not officially part of the team. When Bev’s body is found, the two murders are immediately tied together. The two murdered women have a lot in common including their striking resemblance to Carol Jordan.
As the case progresses, both Tony and Carol find themselves drawn into events in ways they couldn’t possibly imagine. Meanwhile, Paula gets on with her own investigation – completely at odds with that of Fielding. With input from Tony, she starts to make the breakthroughs required to solve the case.
Wow, this was a gripping addition to the series. It was excellent to see Paula taking a major role and I enjoyed finding out more about her. Both Tony and Carol were even more frustrating than usual in their social ineptness and inability to acknowledge their feelings.
The end of the story left plenty of lead-ins for the next novel in the series and I can hardly wait for it to arrive.
Book Published 2013