Val McDermid just gets better and better. The Last Temptation is intelligent about undercover police work and psychological profiling as well as moving on the human cost to the people who have to do society's dirty work.
We are back with profiler Tony Hills and super-competent cop Carol, who we met in The Mermaids Singing and The Wire in the Blood. The couple's past experiences have created a bond between them as well as a certain inability to bear the sight of each other. They are brought back into co-operation by the needs of the job in its European dimension. Tony is persuaded to help track a European killer who drowns and mutilates psychologists, while Carol is working undercover to trap a drug trafficker whose dead lover spookily resembles her.
As always, McDermid writes brilliant criminals. She adds that deadening of sympathy which makes horror possible. Both aristocratic gangster Tadeusz and vengeful psychotic Mann have their reasons for being who they are, doing what they do. McDermid makes us care that her detectives succeed and survive just that little bit more than we care for her villains to escape. She writes excellent thrillers simply because she has a journalist's eye for both sides of each case. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.