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Summary

Up until now the only serial killers Tony Hill had encountered were safely behind bars. This one's different - this one's on the loose. Four men have been found mutilated and tortured. As fear grips the city, the police turn to clinical psychologist Tony Hill for a profile of the killer. But soon Tony becomes the unsuspecting target in a battle of wits and wills, where he has to use every ounce of his professional nerve to survive.

©1995 Val McDermid (P)2015 W F Howes Ltd

Critic reviews

"Terrifying but stylish and compassionate! Truly, horribly good." ( Mail on Sunday)
"Gripping, intelligent stuff." ( The Times)

What members say

Average customer ratings

Overall

  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Story

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Good ( if a little too gory) book but terrible narration

Enjoyed this book, although I found the explicit sex scenes and graphic descriptions of torture a bit distasteful. The plot is good and the tension built dramatically , and pleasingly, throughout the book. The thing that spoiled this book for me, however, was the narrator. He didn't seem to have a grip of any regional accent, his Geordie accent sounded Welsh, and his Scottish accent was frankly appalling! His awful attempts ruined the story for me, and I found listening quite painful at times.

12 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Fab story ruined by narrator.

What did you like most about Mermaids Singing?

Love this author and indeed the whole Tony Hill series. It's such a shame that this is ruined by the narrator.

How could the performance have been better?

Wrong narrator, not a lot of feeling in his voice or range come to that. Ruined it for me I'm afraid.

18 of 20 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

Almost Great...

Would you listen to Mermaids Singing again? Why?

This is the first in a major series so no need to go back just yet. Maybe in a few years.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Mermaids Singing?

The evolving relationship of the main characters and the senior police issues were handled quite well.

How did the narrator detract from the book?

The main characters in this book are in the 20-50 age range yet everyone sounded like they were in their 70's. I found it hard to picture the characters as I should as the voices did not portray this very well the differentiation was minimal at times.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

It is a bit too long for that but the last few hours did fly by.

Any additional comments?

This is a good story with good characters, I wasn't a huge fan of the ending though.

13 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

good story

I enjoyed the story very much but found some of the narrator's accents a bit odd!

7 of 8 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Terrible narration

This cracking story was completely ruined by the narrator. His reading of narrative is wooden, his accents are completely unconvincing, and his reading of dialogue us absolutely terrible - particularly female characters. I have hundreds of audiobooks and this is the only one I have abandoned due to the narration.

6 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Awful, awful narration...

I really tried with this but the narration was so bad it was almost insulting. He manages to make all the characters sound like simpletons and the breathy, childlike characterisation of the lead female character (a police detective) is beyond dreadful. I perservered as long as possible to overcome the narration but less than half way through I had to admit defeat...

5 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

Story ok, pity about the narrator.

The story was quite good if somewhat dated and very un PC.
The narrator was terrible. The baddy should be a young man yet sounds about 70. The breathy voice he used for the female lead was just awful to the point of annoying.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Simply Brilliant.

I always love it when a book exceeds my expectations. The Mermaids Singing audiobook did. I’d had several reservations about listening to The Mermaids Singing audiobook. My reticence was not because I have any doubts about Val McDermid’s expertise as I’ve read and enjoyed several of her books, but the subject matter deals partly with extreme torture, a horror I know I’m squeamish being confronted with, having been traumatised by one scene in Braveheart. The Mermaids Singing was such an enthralling, fast-moving story that I survived, relatively unscathed, although the grisly descriptions of the fates of the serial killer’s victims took me to the edge several times. I was also worried the audiobook might be a struggle to listen to as it’s 13 hours long. I was wrong. I couldn’t believe how swiftly the time had flown by and have nothing but praise for the voicing skills of the narrator, Saul Reichlin. I mainly listen to audiobooks while sunbathing in my Oldham garden, so I now have a deep tan thanks to the recent unusually sunny weather and the swift passage of time, thanks to Val McDermid’s well-honed skill at telling dark tales. I felt breathless at times as there are several twists, turns, and a praiseworthy surprise climax. I hope to read or listen to the rest of the books in the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series, partly because I’m nosy and want to discover whether Carol Jordan can help criminal psychologist with his ‘little problem’. I’d love to tell you more about the exciting, unusual storyline, but I don’t believe in dishing out spoilers. All I can do is recommend you either read or listen to The Mermaids Singing.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Great story

I thoroughly enjoyed listening to this book but found the narrator's accents a little irritating. However, this didn't spoil it for me. Val McDermid is such a great writer.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • barbara
  • angmering, United Kingdom
  • 22-05-16

Good

This was a very good thriller but beware it's very gory . I skipped a lot of the gory bits as I don't like joy hearing someone suffer .

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Alex
  • 16-08-17

Unnecessarily graphic, poor narration, not a fave

Would you say that listening to this book was time well-spent? Why or why not?

it was ok - i got engrossed although I took a few breaks listening. I was quite annoyed with the unnecessary graphic description of sexual and physical torture. I am not squeamish but I found it did not add to the storyline at all. In fact, come to think of it, except for the graphic descriptions there wasn't much of a storyline to hold the interest.I much prefer other Val McDermid books I listened to.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Mermaids Singing?

can't say

Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Saul Reichlin?

I like male narrators, but in this case I much prefer Cathleen McCarron. At the start I wasn't sure if I could stand the narrator but got somewhat used to him. He reads as if he is wading through syrup - so slow and so boring and sounding so old.

Could you see Mermaids Singing being made into a movie or a TV series? Who should the stars be?

I certainly wouldn't want to watch it!

Any additional comments?

Not a great start to the series - too graphic, too sexually explicit, boring narrator