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Sony Reader Adventure: Val McDermid’s Carol Jordan/Tony Hill Mysteries

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Instant gratification. That’s really what technology has brought us. Fast email, faster Internet surfing, instant messaging. Everything is immediate and nothing requires (much) waiting. This is one of the greatest appeals of eReaders like the Sony Reader (Pocket Edition).

I’m a browser. I’ll venture into the local Borders or Barnes and Noble or independent bookseller, and I’ll walk the aisles glancing at the covers and spines, the new books and the backlisted offerings. I also like mystery series—English mystery series, to be exact. Nothing upsets me more than finding a new series, looking for the first book in the series at the store and finding it missing from the shelf.

So, what do you do? Order it, wait a few days and finally get your hands on it to read. Of course, by then I’ve already started another book. Sigh. This is one of the true beauties of eReaders. Open the downloadable library software (it works much like iTunes), search an author, a title or a keyword and your choices pop up in the window. Click and (just like using iTunes), the book downloads into your library. Connect the Reader and in a few seconds, the book is loaded onto the Reader.

Sony makes several eBook Readers, and the Pocket Edition (PRS-300) seems to be the most basic. But it’s more than enough for most reading. It hold lots of books, it’s easy to page through any novel of any size, it weighs next to nothing. But back to my mystery series.

I got hooked on Val McDermid’s Wire in the Blood novel series after watching the dramatized BBC a few years ago. The series ran for six seasons and I decided to get caught up on the novels upon which the series is (rather loosely based).

The novel series, beginning with The Mermaids Singing take place in Bradfield England, a fictional city with lots of very insane murderers running around. The first case concerns the murder of four young men found in Bradfield. The investigation is headed by Detective Inspector Carol Jordan. (In the television series, Carol leaves after three seasons and is replaced by Alex Fielding in season four.) Clinical psychologist Tony Hill, a brilliant psychological profiler has the unique ability to piece together motive and evidence identify the most heinous serial killers. Hill is engaged to hunt this particularly gruesome killer. But in capturing the murderer, Hill may fall prey himself. As the case goes on we learn more about both Hill and Jordan, and we are drawn to Hill's intensity and Jordan's resolute courage as they are drawn towards each other.

The socially awkward and eccentric psychologist forges an uneasy alliance with tough, smart Carol in the first novel that grows into deep affection as the novels go on (the sixth, Fever of the Bone has just been released in the UK), with the requisite sexual tension enough to drive any reader mad. The novels are as much psychological thriller as mystery, with Tony Hill getting scarily into the heads and hearts of the killers he pursues.

Each novel leaves the reader breathless and driving to read on even late into the night. And when you’ve finished, you’re left wanting more, on to the next book. The Sony Reader is a perfect companion for what will surely become obsessive reading. The instant gratification that comes free of charge with the Reader is something to appreciate with a mystery series like this. Finish one, and instantaneously order up the next; you’ll have it in moments. Unfortunately not all of the books of the series are yet available in eBook format for the Sony Reader, but several can be found in the Sony eBook store or through the online bookstore ebooks.com—enough to get you hooked.

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About Barbara Barnett

Barbara Barnett is publisher and executive editor of Blogcritics, as well as a noted entertainment writer. Author of Chasing Zebras: The Unofficial Guide to House, M.D., her primary beat is primetime television. But Barbara writes on an everything from film to politics to technology to all things pop culture and spirituality. She is a contributor to the book called Spiritual Pregnancy (Llewellyn Worldwide, January 2014) and has a story in Riverdale Ave Press' new anthology of zombie romance, Still Hungry for your Love. She is hard at work on what she hopes will be her first published novel.
  • http://www.marykir.com/ marykir

    I can’t read this series right before bedtime. Too disturbing :) Very well written, though.

  • http://twitter.com/b_barnett barbara barnett

    Once I’ve started, I’ve found it hard to put down. Excellent read, but I agree–quite disturbing.

  • http://oakhaus.blogspot.com Bill Sherman

    As a fan of the teevee Tony Jordan, I’ve been wanting to try out McDermid’s books for some time now. You’ve nudged me into doing so.

  • http://twitter.com/b_barnett barbara barnett

    I actually like the novels better. I really missed the dynamic between Carol Jordan and Tony in seasons four through six. And I hear that the series has not been recommissioned for a seventh season.

  • Flo

    I love those books!! Really dark and disturbing but oh how fascinating!!! I’m really into psychoanalysis and mechanism of human being behavior.

    Also like the books better. The series should have ended when Carol left.

  • barbara barnett

    Totally agree Flo. I was always hoping the actress would come back, as Tony surely must’ve pined for her. I’ve found Tony very interesting as a character. Quirky, quite strange. But completely on it professionally.

  • Flo

    The dynamic between Carol and Tony is a really big part of the novels and I think it was interesting in the tv show.
    Okay in the Tv show Carol didn’t have an eidetic memory and she wasn’t totally the good ‘intuition freak’ she is in the book, but the dynamic was there and very interesting. I liked how they related to each other.

    The last scene between those two in the show is complex and great therefore, the fact that, suddenly, Carol wasn’t here anymore didn’t feel right. Certainly not with the way the writers dearlt with it. I know that the departure of Hermione Norris wasn’t easy to write but common!!
    No offense to Simone Lahbib, but her character was less appealing and I couldn’t care less about her and her son. It just wasn’t the same.
    Makes me feel a bit like “The X-Files”: this show was all about Mulder and Scully. Well, it is the same thing about this series of books and should have been the same in the show.

  • Tom M.

    I bought Sony readers for both my daughter and wife. They both take the train to work and I thought they’d really appreciate having all their favorite novels on one small device. Alas, I’m the only one who uses the reader. I love it. Read it all the time even though I do miss the “feel” of a real book, I’m getting used to the imitation leather cover that came with the Sony reader.