Val McDermid Books

Val McDermid is a Scottish author born in 1955. Born in Kirkcaldy, Fife, Val attended Kirkcaldy High School and St. Hilda’s College in Oxford. She eventually graduated and became a journalist. She pursued the career for sixteen years before choosing to focus her efforts on her novels and finally becoming a full-time writer. Val has cited her interview with Jimmy Savile as an inspiration for one of her ideas.

Order of Austen Project Series

# Read Title Published
1 Northanger Abbey 2014

Order of Inspector Karen Pirie Series

# Read Title Published
1 The Distant Echo 2003
2 A Darker Domain 2008
3 The Skeleton Road 2014
4 Out of Bounds 2016

Order of Tony Hill/Carol Jordan Series

Order of Lindsay Gordon Series

# Read Title Published
1 Report For Murder 1987
2 Common Murder 1989
3 Final Edition 1991
4 Conferences Are Murder 1993
5 Booked For Murder 1996
6 Hostage To Murder 2003

Order of Kate Brannigan Series

# Read Title Published
1 Dead Beat 1992
2 Kick Back 1993
3 Crack Down 1994
4 Clean Break 1995
5 Blue Genes 1996
6 Star Struck 1998

Order of Val McDermid Standalone Novels

Order of Val McDermid Short Story Collections

# Read Title Published
1 Stranded 2004

Order of Val McDermid Non-Fiction Books

# Read Title Published
1 A Suitable Job for a Woman 1994
2 Forensics 2014


# Read Title Published
1 Naked Came the Phoenix 2001
2 Magnetic North 2005
3 Criminal Tendencies 2009
4 Life's Too Short 2010
Print: Print PDF

An author of suspense novels, success for Val came after she published Report for Murder: The First Lindsay Gordon Mystery in 1987. She went on to gain recognition for her work, winning numerous awards and even receiving an honorary doctorate from the University of Sutherland.

Val McDermid’s work revolves around five primary characters, namely: Kate Brannigan, Karen Pirie, Lindsay Gordon, Carol Jordan and Tony Hill. Each of these characters is a lead in their own series, though Tony Hill and Carol Jordan share a series.

A writer of suspense and mystery novels, Val is most commonly known for Doctor Tony Hill, a character that first appeared in The Mermaids Singing, the first novel in the Tony Hill and Carol Jordan series, released in 1995.

Val and her partner Jo Sharp, a knitwear designer, were married in 2016.

Val McDermid Awards

The quality of Val’s work is such that she was been nominated for Dagger Awards, an Edgar Award and a BCA Crime Thriller of the Year Award. She has also had the pleasure of winning an actual Dagger Award, a Barry Award, an Anthony Award, a Dilys award and a Macavity Award.

Val McDermid Books into movies

Of all the adaptations that Val has seen of her work, the most prominent has to be Wire in the Blood. Broadcast between 2002 and 2008 on the ITV network, the show followed Doctor Anthony Hill, a psychologist played by Robson Green who had the uncanny ability to see into the minds of killers.

The show won Royal Television Society and Edgar Allen Poe Awards before its high production budget led to cancellation.

A lesser known adaptation is A Place of Execution, a three-part Television drama that was broadcast on ITV in 2008. The drama won a TV Dagger Award in 2009.

Best Val McDermid Books

Anyone looking to gain a better understanding of Val’s approach to storytelling will appreciate these books, some of the best she has written:

The Last Temptation: Chief Inspector Carol Jordan has finally come to terms with the fracturing of her relationship with Doctor Tony Hill. She soon immerses herself in an undercover sting that sees her try to gain the confidence of a European Drug Trafficker.

Her plans are complicated by the serial killer who is tracking her. While trying to escape the trauma of his past, Tony Hill’s quiet isolation is shattered when the criminal profiler is pulled into a difficult case.

A serial killer has been driven by psychosexual madness to hunt a sometimes lover of Tony. It doesn’t take long for Carol and Tony’s paths to cross as they face off against the twisted dreams of a killer.

Val McDermid makes this book every bit as tense and harrowing as any other Tony Hill novel. She is also able to keep readers engaged by delving into the police procedural elements that surrounding law enforcement in Europe, especially the jurisdiction aspects.

There are quite a few threads playing out in this story, all of which Val weaves together even while drawing engaging and well-developed characters.

A Place of Execution: George Bennett was just a young and newly promoted inspector when Myra Hindley and Ian Brady began their murderous careers. Following the disappearance of two children off the streets of Manchester, Bennett didn’t know what to expect when 13-year-old Alison Carter also vanished.

Without a body or any clues of note, Bennett’s investigation faced numerous dead ends. The final outcome of Bennett’s work would continue to haunt the community.

Having decided to finally tell his story several years later, journalist Catherine Heathcote is confused when Bennett tries to pull the plug on the book that might tell it all just when it is poised for publication.

Bennett suggests that he might have new information that could change everything, though he will not share it. Catherine gets down into the mud and begins to re-investigate the past, determined to find that secret that might turn the world upside down.

This is a standalone book. Val tells a story set in modern times and during the 1960s as her characters delve into a murder mystery with more angles than anyone had previously realized.