review: Splinter the Silence by Val McDermid



Quite frankly, I feel like I know these characters like the back of my hand. They are old friends. Carol, Tony, Stacey, Sam, Paula, Kevin… even John Brandon. They are as familiar as lovers might be, or enemies. It’s fantastic to return to them and get reacquainted, find out what they’re up to and discover once again how wonderfully human Val McDermid’s characters can be.

The Retribution was the weakest of the Tony Hill/Carol Jordan series, and while I remember enjoying Cross and Burn, I honestly don’t remember the plot, so that’s saying something. Splinter the Silence is solid, but I do think the “will they/won’t they” dynamic of Tony/Carol needs some release, or it’s just going to become stale. I don’t even sense the slightest chemistry between them any longer. There isn’t a spark or even a flicker of flame. They’re just old friends. Maybe that’s all they ever will be? Maybe that would be okay?

In Splinter the Silence, we deal with an anti-feminist psycho killing women for daring to have opinions —



It’s really effectively maddening (Val McDermid knows exactly what she’s doing, especially with the current climate) and you just want to bitch slap the villain until he cries.

Meanwhile, Carol is sneaking vodka and tonics like it’s her job, until a chance traffic stop sends her straight to court for drunk driving. She calls Tony natch, and through a series of unlikely events, ends up getting offered a plum job directing a new force of roving investigators. It’s a new start for the series – I can see lots of major cases in their future – and it’s promising for readers who love these characters.

A “dry” Carol is perhaps a bit less interesting than messy, drunk Carol but I can forgive this character development given what Carol needs to achieve in this new position. However, I stand by that the Tony and Carol dynamic is getting stale, and I think a good dose of friendship is exactly what they need right now. There isn’t a whiff of sexual tension between those two. Let it grow organically or not at all!

The police work in this one is done mostly by Stacey – who desperately needs to catch a break an a raise – and interestingly, Tony does NOT come up with an embarrassingly juvenile name for the perp. I wonder who suggested McDermid drop that habit?

Lovely, unputdownable, solid, recommended. As always. This series is a gem.


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