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Summary

The first stunning thriller in the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series, from best-selling author Val McDermid.

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.

A tense, beautifully written psychological thriller, The Mermaids Singing explores the tormented mind of a serial killer unlike any the world of fiction has ever seen.

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

Critic reviews

"Gripping, intelligent stuff." (The Times)

"A superb psychological thriller." (Cosmopolitan)

What listeners say about Mermaids Singing

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    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.

54 people found this helpful

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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.

44 people found this helpful

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Don’t be put off by other reviews

This was my first experience of this author, and I was not disappointed. An excellent story that developed at a very enjoyable pace, culminating in an exciting and believable climax. The narrator is good and, although his ‘local accents’ may not be the best, they do not, in my view, detrimentally impact the story like some reviews suggest. I recommend you give it a try.

20 people found this helpful

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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...

28 people found this helpful

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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.

12 people found this helpful

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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.

10 people found this helpful

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good story

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

18 people found this helpful

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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.

33 people found this helpful

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Great story, shame about the reader

This is a brilliant thriller, but the readers inability to do the accents weakens it and even makes it a joke when the Geordie policeman starts of as Pakistani Welsh, gets totally Welsh and ends up as Jamaican!

7 people found this helpful

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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.

19 people found this helpful

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  • Lia
  • 14-02-19

Wow! Great Series

Wow. The Mermaids Singing is the second book by Val McDermid that I have listened to, and I found the book as good as the first, if not better. It's not for the faint-heated. A number of supposedly gay men are tortured and murdered by a serial killer, their bodies left washed and naked in the streets of Bradfield. The whole community is on edge, and the police too, who is using the services of a profiler, Tony Hill. Carol Jordan is an inspector who is taking part in the investigation, and her character adds to the interest of the story. What did I like about this book? First, the characters are real. Second, the plot is very good (You'll get a surprise at the end). Third, the writing flows. Fourth, the murder "weapons" and killings are unusual. Fifth, ditto for the murderer. Get it, you won't be disappointed.

Saul Reichlin was outstanding with the delivery of the story

5 people found this helpful

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  • 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

2 people found this helpful

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  • Mark
  • 23-07-21

Dark

A good story - very dark - not for the faint of heart - a bit predictable but a great listen

1 person found this helpful