The Wire in the Blood by Val McDermid

‘The Wire in the Blood’ is Val McDermid’s 2nd book featuring DI Carol Jordan and Dr Tony Hill. The events of the first book of the series – ‘The Mermaids Singing’ are mentioned in this book but don’t play a major role in the story. I think this book may impact the rest of the series more.

Carol has taken a DCI role in the small town of Seaford where she struggles to make an impact with her small group of detectives. Pretty soon she thinks she has found evidence of a serial arsonist in the area.

Meanwhile Tony is training the newly formed National Profiling Task Force. A group of ambitious young detectives want to learn everything that Tony can teach them. The most ambitious and smartest of the group is Shaz Bowman.

As a training exercise, the group are given a list of missing teenage girls. Pretty soon Shaz finds a pattern and is also able to identify a suspect. The unlikely suspect is national hero and TV identity Jacko Vance. Shaz’s evidence is dismissed by the rest of the group, so she goes off on her own to investigate further.

It takes Shaz getting into serious trouble for her findings to be taken seriously. Now Tony, the other trainees, Carol Jordan and a friend of Shaz’s – DI Chris Devine are determined to find the evidence they need against Vance. And with another young girl missing, they know that time is against them.

But time away from her belligerent group of detectives has serious consequences for Carol Jordan.


This was a very high tension book. I have read some of the later books in the series and know that this is just the beginning of the interactions between Carol, Tony and the psychopath Jack Vance.

There is ongoing sexual tension between Carol and Tony in this book. They obviously feel deeply for each other but spend most of their time skirting around the issue.

So far this is an excellent gripping series although it is a bit gruesome at times. I’m looking forward to reading the next book – ‘The Last Temptation’.


Book Published 1997


See a full list of books by Val McDermid

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