Dr Tony Hill, quirky and brilliant psychologist/profiler, is recovering in hospital after a more than usually dangerous encounter with a psychopath, when Bradfield's star football is brought in, mysteriously ill. Thanks to a particularly astute doctor, Robbie Bishop's diagnosed with ricin poisoning - unfortunately, this doesn't help as ricin has no antidote. But his death is just the beginning - the stadium is blown up, raising fears of a terrorist cell, and DCI Carole Jordan's murder team are unceremoniously pushed aside by members of the Counter Terrorism unit - surly, aggressive, and seemingly not bounded by the same laws as the rest of Britain. Tony has to try to work out what's going on from his bedside, while fending of his estranged mother and, once again, trying to work out what exactly his relationship with Carole is.
McDermid's writing is brisk and involving. This is the fourth book in the fantastic Wire in the Blood series and it's just as compelling as both the rest of the series and the fantastic TV show with the all-around brilliant Robson Green. McDermid manages to convey the difficulties of balancing safety against threat with prevention of creating worse monsters within, and manages to expose the assumption of readers as much as of the police. Her characters are well rounded and sympathetic, and Tony is one of the most fascinating characters in contemporary literature. The series is without doubt best read in order, so dash out and start with The Mermaids Singing. Now! - Alex