Discussion on “Beneath the bleeding” by Val McDermid

Members were unimpressed by the book with comments such as “bland” “obvious” and “not a page turner”. It was observed that Val McDermid has enjoyed TV success with “Wire in the Blood” which is thought to employ the same characters: although members were not familiar with this series it was thought the book was formulaic.

It was commented that the characters were cardboard, particularly the counter terrorist group which seems an unbelievable group of people used essentially as an unconvincing plot device. The rather pathetically obvious false names used by the villain was part of a plot which was readily apparent.

It was noted that the cast of characters has become stereo typed in stories of this type: an example cited was Chen the IT wizard who parallels similar IT types in similar stories. This is a lazy device which imparts an air of mystique to computer investigation without the author ever having to reveal how this works. It is notable how this mystique is often used, as here, to move the plot along in ways which which are otherwise impossible.

There was some nice use of metaphor although even that such as “clotted traffic” is rather too widely used. In an attempt to be of the moment there was some use of idiom which was baffling. An example was the use of “Scooby” which was simply not understood.

The lack of enthusiasm for the writer and her work was convincingly demonstrated when members declined the offer of a similar book by the same author


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