val mcdermid’s

June 27, 2008

i could see the four guys trudging through the snow, bracing against the cold… alex, ziggy, mondo and weird… tipsy, arguing about music, fooling around, chasing each other and then alex falling down the slope and landing smack on the dying girl… he “squirming back” in horror… wow!  i was hooked until the end of the 1st part of “the distant echo” by val mcdermid.  then it all fell apart.

why, why, why would the obviously intelligent mondo withhold a vital piece of information – even from his friends – when it was so easy to work out that that is all that is required to work out who the culprit is?  mondo didnt have to use it as a trump card.  with that card, there need not have been any game at all in the first place!

also, why judge mondo’s wife when alex and his wife, mondo’s sister, themselves regard him in such poor light – they even groan when he comes visiting.  they should appreciate the fact that she loved mondo.  in fact, she was so decent throughout inspite of her loss and others’ accusations and disapproval.

i still liked “the distant echo”.  but “the torment of others” was a total let down – from the beginning.

the conspirator’s personality comes across as over-confident and aggresive but totally lacking in tact and inspires no confidence.  seems to have no persuasive power whatsoever.  neither liked nor looked up to.  but manages to perfectly hypnotize and brain wash the so called mentally-slow, socially shunned people into executing flawlessly a series of murders and outwitting the police and the entire world.  the first one, derek tyler, even manages to hold his silence for 2 years.  on the other hand, the very insightful, so-discerning, ingenious dr.hill does not even think of hypnotising derek tyler.  if he was so suggestible, how come tony hill had to go to so much trouble to get him to talk – and talk he does but only to say “i cannot talk until the voice says so”.  and that leaves him grinning?

it is just that though story was alright, the plot literally solved itself… the characters were a waste.  because they didnt seem to do anything but wait for events to unfold and then acting as if they MADE the events unfold.  the book seemed to imply that the trauma that paula undergoes is less than what carol went through during her undercover operation.  how insensitive and callous.

and carol taking the credit for thinking of calling the geologist – when it was paula’s idea originally to even investigate the background in the photo – was so petty and immature.  in this book, the author has insulted her own intelligence – and intelligent she is.  and that is why it is such a letdown to see so many holes in the plot and no “character” in the characters.

anyways, i am being too critical.  inspite of the shortcomings, i enjoyed both the books.  they were not as bad as some other books i have read.  in fact i am going to read the highly recommended “a place of execution” next.

so long then!


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