Book Review – The Vanishing Point

by Val McDermid (Little, Brown) ISBN: 9781408703212


I have read most of Val McDermid’s novels. I am a fan. Sadly, I am not a fan of her latest book. The Vanishing Point doesn’t know what kind of novel it is. Stephanie Harker’s son, Jimmy is snatched at O’Hare airport. Everything is going according to the blurb on the book. Another McDermid thriller begins. Or so I thought.

Then we are thrust into a long-winded narrative of Jimmy’s history. Steph, as she is known, is a ghost-writer. She tells the FBI the story of Jimmy, and his real mother, Scarlett, a reality TV star, and how she, Steph, became Jimmy’s mother. This insulted my intelligence. What mother would calmly narrate the story over an extended period instead of becoming hysterical? What FBI agent would listen to it?

I was lulled into the plot by the always excellent writing talents of the author. I thought she must have a reason for telling the story this way. I became acquainted with Joshu, Jimmy’s father; Pete, Steph’s stalker ex-boyfriend; Detective Sergeant Nick Nicolaides, Steph’s new love interest; Maggie, Steph’s agent; and Simon, Leanne and Marina, all part of Scarlett’s entourage. And then I was confronted with a b-grade ‘surprise’ ending. What a waste of good writing.

Amanda Patterson

Posted on: 18th December 2012