Val McDermid - Fever of the Bone (3 stars)

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Val McDermid - Fever of the Bone

Staying true to gruesome form, the first murder in the Fife crime novelist’s latest slice of Tartan Noir could’ve been committed in 1880s Whitechapel. After the body of a young girl is found with her genitals removed, psychological profiler Tony Hill and DCI Carol Jordan (as seen on TV’s Wire in the Blood) embark on their sixth cold case.

However, the odd couple’s efforts to solve what swiftly proves to be a serial killing spree – targeting youngsters with no apparent connection beyond being contacted online by the killer – are complicated by a new boss whose cost-cutting excludes Hill from the investigation. Meanwhile, Hill is plagued by parental issues and Jordan is torn between solving cases and advancing her career.

If the sixth book in the Hill and Jordan series is somewhat by the numbers, it’s also very readable. And the genre conventions are embellished by the ongoing development of personal relations between McDermid’s Mulder and Scully-alike protagonists.

(Little, Brown)

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