V.L. McDermid

Lindsay Gordon
- Scottish Lesbian Journalist
Kate Brannigan -Spunky P.I., Manchester England

DCI Carol Jordan and Dr. Tony Hill Psychologist and Profiler, Bradford

"Hostage to Murder "

(Reviewed by Guy Savage DEC 30, 2007)

"When the only relationship you’ve seen up close was as fucked as my mum and dad’s was, you’d be mental to think it was easy to fall in love. Dive in, dive deep and then climb back out and dry off before you catch cold, that’s what works for me."

A Hostage to Murder by V.L. McDermid finds Lindsay Gordon back in Glasgow once again after spending several years in California with her lover, Sophie. Sophie has landed a plush job as the chair of obstetrics at Glasgow University, and Lindsay returns with her. In Glasgow, where she was known as Flash Gordon, Lindsay was once the top of her game--an investigative reporter who was known to do whatever it took to get her story. Now, Gordon, who’s spent the last few years out of the Glasgow journalist scene, finds herself reduced to the role of a hausfrau, waiting with dinner ready for Sophie’s return from her demanding job. Lindsay’s discontent is beginning to eat away at the foundations of her relationship with Sophie, and this is exacerbated by the fact that Sophie, who feels that her biological clock is ticking, insists on having a child. Parenthood is a responsibility that Lindsay feels unprepared for, yet she finds herself with little choice in the matter if she wants to retain a relationship with Sophie.

Just as Lindsay hits rock bottom, she runs into young, enthusiastic investigative journalist, Rory, who’s managed to carve a career for herself as a freelancer. Rory works alone, but she admires Lindsay and asks her to team up as her partner. Lindsay accepts Rory’s offer, and she soon finds herself joining Rory at her "office" --a back table reserved in the back of a gay bar, Café Victoria.

It’s just a matter of time before Lindsay lands a juicy case. When a small boy is kidnapped by his father, the hunt for the child assumes dangerous proportions for Lindsay and Rory. Taking enormous risks, Lindsay thumbs her nose at danger and places herself and others in jeopardy to solve the case. Lindsay is vaguely and uncomfortably aware that her desire for risk involves more than just her professional reputation, but she dives into the mystery head first without examining her motives too closely.

Since Hostage to Murder is one of series of Lindsay Gordon mysteries, a large portion of the novel is devoted to Gordon’s life--specifically her troubled relationship with Sophie. While it’s normal to include details of the protagonist’s life in a sleuth series, in this case the rather large portion of the book devoted to Lindsay’s personal problems interfered with the mystery at hand. Lindsay, the lesbian protagonist is stuck in a moral quandary, and the result is a novel that’s part sleuthing mystery, part drama, and part romance.  Since I detest romance novels, the pages that included the “I love you and I can’t stand to live without you” stuff were too gooey for me. I prefer McDermid’s abyss of dark, gritty reality. And Hostage to Murder is definitely not Mermaids Singing or Wire in the Blood. Fans of Lindsay Gordon will, no doubt, be delighted to see her back, but for those who like their mysteries dark, and seeping with psychological complexity, this is McDermid Light.

  • Amazon readers rating: 3 starsfrom 4 reviews

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Bibliography: (with links to Amazon.com)

Lindsay Gordon Mysteries

Kate Brannigan Mysteries

Dr. Tony Hill & Carol Jordan Mysteries



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Book Marks:


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About the Author:

Val McDermidVal McDermid grew up in a Scottish mining community and read English at St. Hilda's College in Oxford. She was a journalist for sixteen years and is now a full-time writer, though she did not publish her first novel until 1987.

In 1995 she won the Gold Dagger Award for Best Crime Novel of the Year. Her novel A Place of Execution won a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, was a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, won the Anthony, Macavity, and Dilys awards for best novel, and was a finalist for the Edgar Award.

She divides her time between South Manchester and Northumberland.

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