Val McDermid’s Carol Jordan/Tony Hill series is one of Auntie M’s all-time continuing favorites. It seemed a while since there was a new one and reader’s wait will be rewarded with the unbelieveable Insidious Intent.

As the readers turns the last haunting page, there is a message from McDermid, asking readers not to spoil the ending for others. So there will be no spoiler alerts here, but suffice it to say that this one will leave readers speechless.

It starts with a burned body found in a car on a lonely country road and turns suspicious when it’s deemed the person was already dead when the fire was started. No suicide or mechanical issues here.

DCI Carol Jordan is tasked with the case as her first as the head of the newly-formed regional major incident team–reMIT, a way to forge policing ahead by taking on the most violent cases from all of the forces.

Jordan is still reeling from a screwup in the last book, Splinter the Silence, where what turned into an act of corruption, although noble, is dogging her heels.

There’s no choice but for her and her team to make a success of this case, but as the bodies start to mount up, one thing becomes clear: this killer has studied forensics in a way that stymies their every move and continues to elude justice.

Tony Hill has been staying with Carol at the barn that her brother and sister owned. After renovating it till there is no memory of their murders left, he’s concerned for Carol and hopes his presence will keep her from drinking. His profile on the case is skewed by this killer, until he figures out that the man is killing woman in a prelude to the one woman he really wants to kill.

Scenes from the killer’s point of view illustrate his cunning, and his invincible attitude. He feels he’s untouchable, and he may just be right.

Woven into this is the compelling story of Carol’s DS, Paula McIntyre, her partner, Dr. Elinor Blessing, and the teen they have staying with them after the death of his mother. Torin turns out to have more than his own issue to deal with, a timely one that could affect any youngster in today’s age.

But there’s a long road ahead as the team investigates and Carol relies on their varying areas of expertise, all the while she’s stalked by the investigative reporter intent on bringing her down, all leading to the ending that will leave you gobsmacked. I promise.

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