Fever of the Bone by Val McDermid

‘Fever of the Bone’ is Val McDermid’s 6th novel featuring psychologist Dr Tony Hill and Detective Inspector Carol Jordan.

Carol has a new boss and his number 1 priority is to cut costs. It is clear that he would eventually like to merge Carol’s team of specialists into the regular CID but even before that, he wants to discontinue using the expensive profiling services of Dr Hill in favour of in-house profilers.

When Carol’s team start working the case of a serial killer targeting young teenagers, the profiler assigned to the case is worse than useless and the team misses Tony’s input. Tony has been working on other cases and it is only when he finally discovers that his case is connected to Carol’s that the team is finally brought back together.

The teenagers meet their killer through a social networking site and are eventually lured into meeting the killer face-to-face. It takes a long time before any link between the victims can be found and even longer to track down the killer. It is through gaining access to the social networking site – fighting data protection laws and overriding them when necessary, that the team eventually track their killer.

Meanwhile, despite his reluctance, Tony is finding out more about his father who abandoned him before he was born. Tony wants nothing to do with him but must sell the house he inherited. In visiting his dead father’s house he is gradually pulled into the story of his life. This shows his mother Vanessa in an even worse light than he imagined.

Carol’s team are also working on a cold case in this novel. It was completely unrelated to the main case and a distraction from the main story.


The mystery in this novel was not presented as well as in some of the other novels in the series. But, Tony’s personal story was excellent and important for the future novels in the series.

I have already read the next two novels in the series (both of them excellent) – ‘The Retribution’ and ‘Cross and Burn’, so the next novel for me is the 9th in the series ‘Splinter the Silence’.


Book Published 2009


See a full list of books by Val McDermid

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