One, Two, Skip A Few…
by Fiona Crawford - October 25th, 2011
I picked up Val McDermid’s new book by pure chance at the airport bookshop the other day, stumbling across it while I performed a community service: covering up copies of Christos Tsiolkas’ The Slap*.
The latter’s a book that I’ve made no secret I think it truly awful and that has, much to my chagrin, just been re-released with a new cover to coincide with the release of the TV series that it has (again, much to my chagrin) just been turned into. I figured the fewer copies on display, the less likely unsuspecting travellers might buy it and be as bitterly disappointed as I was. Truth be told, I felt pretty good about doing it too.
The unexpected benefit of that early morning Slap effort was that I realised McDermid had a new book out. Entitled The Retribution, it sees everyone’s favourite serial killer Jacko Vance escape from jail to seek revenge on everyone’s favourite profiler Tony Hill and his sidekick Carol Jordan.
If you’re anything like me, you weren’t aware Vance had actually been caught and sent to prison. I’ve read and enjoyed a few of McDermid’s books but I’ve read them in entirely random order. Seems like it’s been a case of me reading one, two, skip a few…
I almost wrote an entire blog a few weeks back about how important it is to clearly communicate the order of books in a series—I’ve completely muddled myself on Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse series and have missed at least two of the similarly titled books in the process.
But then I couldn’t think of much to say except ‘it’s really important to clearly communicate the books’ order’—if not in the books themselves, which I understand gets tricky or even impossible depending on when they’re published, then at least on the authors’ or publishers’ official website. Then I realised they’re pretty self-explanatory statements.
Either way, I was hugely surprised from the foreword to learn that The Retribution was McDermid’s 25th—25th?!—book. I’ve read maybe four of them, so clearly have some oeuvre visiting to do. The Tony Hill series is, from what I can tell, her strongest work (much like the Kay Scarpetta series is Patricia Cornwell’s strongest), but I like McDermid’s stories and style well enough to warrant reading the others too.
I’m off to order them now (and probably to sort through my hate mail from Tsiolkas and his publisher). It was a community service, honest.
*Note that I’m so grumpy about the book, I refuse to link to it on this here good bookstore lest anyone accidentally buy it.