Grove Press
Grove Press
Grove Press

The Retribution

by Val McDermid

The new thriller from internationally best-selling author Val McDermid pits the best crime-fighting team in the UK—detective Carol Jordan and profiler Tony Hill—against a master criminal with a very personal grudge and a perfect plan.

  • Imprint Grove Paperback
  • Page Count 416
  • Publication Date September 11, 2012
  • ISBN-13 978-0-8021-2044-1
  • Dimensions 5.5" x 8.25"
  • US List Price $14.00

About The Book

Val McDermid is a world-class crime writer whose books have sold millions of copies worldwide, making her a household name. Now joining the Atlantic Monthly Press list for the first time, she arrives with a chilling, high-velocity thriller featuring her immensely popular characters, Dr. Tony Hill and Carol Jordan.

Clinical psychologist Tony Hill has had a good run. He and police detective Carol Jordan have put away scores of dangerous criminals and have a clearance rate that colleagues envy or resent. But there is one serial killer who has shaped and defined their careers, a person whose evil surpasses all others: Jacko Vance, an ex-celebrity and sociopath whose brilliance and utter lack of remorse have never left Tony’s mind in the ten years Vance has been locked up. Now Jacko has broken out of prison and, with a mind even more twisted and cunning than before, he is focused on wreaking revenge on Tony and Carol for the years he has spent in prison. They don’t know when Jacko will strike, or where. All they know is that he will cause them to feel fear like they’ve never known.

A chilling, utterly gripping tour de force, The Retribution is the ideal introduction or reintroduction to the world of Tony Hill and Carol Jordan. It is an unforgettable read.


“I love every word Val McDermid writes. If you haven’t discovered her genius yet, you are in for a rare treat.” —Harlan Coben

“Be very afraid as you meet a truly inventive serial killer. Val McDermid’s 25th novel is stunningly good, but it comes with a health warning. It is truly disturbing. Not in the sense of too many detailed descriptions of violence or post mortem examinations, but in what she does in entering the mind of a wholly evil, exceptionally inventive serial killer of teenage girls.” —The Times (UK)

“The villain in the seventh thriller in the Tony Hill series is like a slowly growing tsunami that finally spends its fury on the inhabitants of the shore. As usual, McDermid shifts point-of-view deftly, moving from Jacko’s plans for escape and then retribution to Hill’s and Carol’s thoughts on how to outwit and outrun him. For those who like script-like prose with shock after shock,’mcDermid is perfect.” —Connie Fletcher, Booklist

“Superb. . . . The emotional wedge that the sadistic Jacko is able to drive between Tony and Carol makes this one of McDermid’s strongest efforts.” —Publishers Weekly

“(McDermid’s) understanding of the human psyche is breathtaking.” —New York Journal of Books

“[McDermid’s] writing remains taut and unflinching. In The Retribution, criminal psychologist Hill and DCI Jordan are back on the trail of Jacko Vance, the charismatic sports and TV star and serial killer of The Wire in the Blood. He has escaped from prison with a head full of vengeance and heart full of malice. As in all her novels, McDermid creates a brooding tension that allows readers to get close to characters whose lives are about to be ripped apart.” —Danuta Kean, The Independent (UK)

“Val McDermid . . . has done more to establish the British variant of the serial killer than anyone else—so successfully, indeed, that everyone else’s serial killers seem pale imitations . . . McDermid handles the multiple viewpoints of this complex narrative with assurance. She flicks from crisis to crisis, constantly misdirecting her readers. She is brilliant at sensational set-pieces . . . and Hill and Jordan have a psychological depth that’s rare in crime fiction . . . she also has the ruthless psychological scalpel that forms part of the equipment of all good novelists, whatever their genre. And, fortunately for us, she knows just how to use it.” —Andrew Taylor, The Guardian (UK)

“It’s perhaps fitting that for McDermid’s 25th novel she’s revisited her most thrillingly murderous creation, Jacko Vance . . . Put away by McDermid’s crime-cracking dream team—psychological profiler Dr. Tony Hill and DCI Carol Jordan—Vance never stopped plotting his escape. Finally, and brilliantly, in The Retribution he achieves his aim, then sets about exacting revenge on Hill and Jordan.” —Henry Sutton, The Daily Mirror (UK) (four-star review)

“McDermid is such a central figure in British crime fiction that it is hard to imagine a time when she was not.” —David Robinson, The Scotsman (UK)

“McDermid has made the transition from enfant terrible to grande dame.” —Nicholas Wroe, The Guardian (UK)


South Florida Sun-Sentinel Best Crime Novels of 2012


He got his arm behind the driver’s head and rammed him face first into the steering wheel. After the third sickening crunch, the man finally went limp. Still pumped with adrenaline, he jumped out of the car and hustled around to the driver’s side. When he opened the door, the driver slumped toward the road. Vance squatted down and got one shoulder under his torso.

He staggered as far as the hedgerow that bordered the road. Breathing heavily, feeling his heart hammer in his chest, he dumped the driver onto the top bar of a metal field gate, then tipped him over to the far side.

Vance leaned against the wall for a moment, catching his breath, letting himself recover from the overdose of fight-or-flight hormones. Then he returned to the car, this time to the driver’s seat.

He couldn’t help wondering how long it would take before someone noticed that Jason Collins was still on the Therapeutic Community Wing. And Jacko Vance wasn’t.

Before they understood that one of the most notorious and prolific serial killers the UK had ever produced was on the loose. And keen to make up for lost time.

This time, his grin lasted a lot longer than a few minutes.