The Torment of Others by Val McDermid

‘The Torment of Others’ is the 4th book in the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series by Val McDermid. This book sees both Tony and Carol living and working back in Bradfield.

DCI Carol Jordan has just returned to work after an undercover assignment that went terribly wrong (see ‘The Last Temptation’). She is heading a major case squad whose role is to deal with the worst crimes in the area.

Dr Tony Hill has abandoned university life and is now splitting his time between treating patients at Bradfield Moor Mental Hospital and working with the police producing criminal profiles.

Carol’s team are working a cold case while waiting for their first new case to come in. Over the past two years, two young boys have gone missing without a trace. Then a picture of one of the boys is found on the computer of a paedophile. If they can work out the location in which the picture was taken then it will be the first real lead in the case.

Then the savagely murdered body of a prostitute is found and Carol’s team have their first live case. They have trouble convincing the local prostitutes that they are taking the case seriously and this only gets worse after a second murder. The murders are identical to those carried out by Derek Tyler several years ago, but he is in Bradfield Moor, convicted on irrefutable evidence. When Tony tries to produce a profile he finds too many conflicts in the evidence.

After weeks with no progress, Carol is forced to send out one of her officers undercover to try to lure the killer. With Carol’s past, she fears what could happen to her undercover officer and eventually her worst fears are realised.

Finally Tony is able to determine what has been bothering him while trying to profile the murderer. But will this realisation be enough to save Carol’s undercover officer and catch the killer?


Once again this was a very full novel with multiple sub-plots which all held together extremely well. The murders were revoltingly gory.

The character development was brilliant. There were new characters introduced in this novel who I felt as though I’d known for ages. The relationship tension between Carol and Tony continued to simmer throughout the novel.

My only problem was that I spotted the murderer fairly early in the book.

I’m looking forward to reading the next in the series – ‘Beneath the Bleeding’.


Book Published 2004


See a full list of books by Val McDermid

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