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The Grave Tattoo: A Novel Audiobook, by Val McDermid Extended Sample Click for printable size audiobook cover
Author: Val McDermid Narrator: Kate Reading Publisher: Macmillan Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date: February 2007 ISBN: 9781427200648
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (1,726 ratings) (rate this audio book)
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In The Grave Tattoo, suspense master Val McDermid spins a psychological thriller in which a present-day murder has its roots in the eighteenth century and the mutiny on the H.M.S. Bounty.

After torrential summer rains uncover a bizarrely tattooed body on a Lake District hillside, a long-disregarded old wives' tale takes on a chilling new plausibility. For centuries, Lakelanders have whispered that Fletcher Christian, made infamous by Mutiny on the Bounty, staged the massacre on Pitcairn so that he could return home. And once there, what if he could tell his story to an old friend and schoolmate, William Wordsworth, who turned it into a long narrative poem—a poem that remained hidden lest it expose Wordsworth to the gallows for harboring a fugitive. Wordsworth specialist Jane Gresham, herself a native of the Lake District, feels compelled to discover once and for all whether the manuscript ever existed—and whether it still exists today. But as she pursues each new lead, death follows hard on her heels. Suddenly Jane is at the heart of a 200-year-old mystery that still has the power to put lives on the line.

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Quotes & Awards

  • I've been a Val McDermid fan forever...like all her work, The Grave Tattoo is an experience...a visceral entertainment that leaves you panting right up to the shattering climax . Ridley Pearson, New York Times bestselling author of The Kingdom Keepers

  • “A world-class crime novelist at the top of her game. George Pelecanos, author of Hard Revolution

  • Val McDermid at her very best. Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Company Man
  • It is difficult to find words to capture the masterful achievement that is Val McDermid's The Grave Tattoo. Laura Lippman
  • If you haven't discovered her genius yet, you are in for a rare treat. Harlan Coben, New York Times bestselling author of The Innocent
  • Absorbing modern mystery...McDermid's mix of historical and literary clues with modern detection is handled with panache. The Times (London)
  • One of our most accomplished crime writers...compelling. Glasgow Herald
  • An irresistible combination of contemporary psychological thriller and historical mystery filled with the moody atmosphere of the Lake District. Tess Gerritsen, New York Times bestselling author of Harvest

Listener Reviews

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  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Krob | 2/14/2014

    " Val McDermid usually delivers a solid story, and this is no exception. The premise, that Fletcher Christian made it back to England and told his side of the Bounty story to Wordsworth who then wrote a poem about it, is intriguing. The poem was never published and the heroine searches for it amid murder and mayhem. I listened to this on a book-on-tape and enjoyed it throughly. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Malia | 2/2/2014

    " A lot stuff and history weaving back and forth in this one that I liked. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Connie | 1/22/2014

    " This is the second book I've read by McDermid and I was not disappointed. (A Place of Execution was also excellent!) A murder, a lost poem by William Wordsworth, and Mutiny on the Bounty are all tied together in this complex story. McDermid brings history alive and sends you racing to Google to find out how much of the story is true. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Sofia | 1/11/2014

    " Storyline had tremendous potential but disappointingly not realized. Took me too long to become engaged and writing was average. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Liz | 1/4/2014

    " This book suffered from an overabundance of characters. Supporting characters, some of whom were key to plot development, were so thinly conceptualized that they seemed to have no real motivations, goals or personalities. That being said, the overall plot was compelling, and the author doesn't shoehorn in a trite ending, which keeps the reader engrossed throughout the book. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Heather | 1/1/2014

    " Another great book by Val McDermid, although i did guess who the killer was about halfway through. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Caron | 12/18/2013

    " I liked it, interesting subject matter. I'm a sucker for literary mystery. However I always know who the killer is before the end. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Emma | 12/17/2013

    " A crime story involving literature and the Lake District. And all that written with McDermid's usual skills. Loved it, of course. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Morrigan | 10/23/2013

    " I really enjoyed this book, good characters, great plot line. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elynor | 9/29/2013

    " Really enjoyed it. Reminded me of "Shadow of the Wind"--which is one of my favorite books. Mutiny on the Bounty, Wordworth, academia, and murder. What more could you ask for? "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dorte | 8/22/2013

    " A cock-and-bull yearn, yet good entertainment :) "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Coki | 5/26/2013

    " Listening to. Excellent reader. mystery with literary roots. well done "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Danielle | 10/27/2012

    " This is the 2nd Val McDermid book I've read that is not a Tony Hill novel. I didn't enjoy this one quite as much as the other one I had read. This was still a great book, that I would not hesitate to recommend to anyone. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Dede | 9/24/2012

    " Wonderfully written mystery. We listened to this in recorded book form and loved it. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Lucy | 8/21/2012

    " I found other books from this author better, but its still an interesting story. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 Simon | 5/16/2012

    " I didn't enjoy this, it just never got going "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Nancy | 5/7/2012

    " Not as intricate a plot; a departure from the macabre crime tales McDermid usually writes. An interesting premise, though. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Naomi | 4/6/2012

    " Hands down, my favorite Val McDermid book, thus far. One of the things I love about McDermid's books are the versatility in her writing style. This book is totally unlike her other mysteries, particularly her series. This is one I could def. see making its' way into a Masterpiece Mystery movie. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Mary | 4/3/2012

    " Enjoyed this - efficiently written and liked the idea of linking Christian Fletcher and Wordsworth in order to launch a series of murders. Ingenious. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 3/29/2012

    " This was not the usual Val Mcdermid - not quite as brutal as some of her books. For me this was quite a pleasant change although I like most of her work.In this book she linked the past and present very well providing an interesting and engrossing read. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Lauren | 12/25/2011

    " Interesting story but the ending was fairly predictable. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Christina | 5/18/2011

    " A really good, interesting story with plenty of twists to leave you guessing. It kept me occupied, and contained enough of other areas than criminology that my attention was held. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Marcia | 5/17/2011

    " This novel weaves several stories together. The strength of the author is that all of them are resolved at the end. It takes some effort to read this author because the vocabulary is precise and because British dialect is used throughout. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 David | 4/24/2011

    " Not sure I will manage to finish. Why bother to write a book which involves a fictional encounter between two historical figures if we know it is not true. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Anne | 3/4/2011

    " Wonderful mystery....part "cozy"....part historical mystery being solved in the present (ala DaVinci code, only much better written) "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 stella | 2/16/2011

    " I just could not get into this book, although I havea gut feeling if I stick with it, I would encounter a great mystery... "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Elaine | 2/1/2011

    " Val McDermid is a very good writer. This stand-alone offering is a bit of history, a bit of mystery. Good book for a plane ride! "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Sarah | 1/13/2011

    " This was a good story. Kept my interest better than some mysteries have. Never suspected who-done-it, which tickled me since I usually know ahead of time who the culprit is. Thought the 13 year old character was a bit foolish but hey, 13 right? "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Linda | 12/7/2010

    " Another mystery story that goes between the past and the present, with a literary connection. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 Angela | 11/30/2010

    " This was not the usual Val Mcdermid - not quite as brutal as some of her books. For me this was quite a pleasant change although I like most of her work.In this book she linked the past and present very well providing an interesting and engrossing read. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Kristy | 11/20/2010

    " I enjoyed the mix of history, literature, thriller and crime in this book. It's not a mixture that should work but it did with everything drawing together. Towards the end I couldn't put it down. Unfortunately I guessed the 'twist' so that spoiled it a bit. "

  • 3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 Anne | 10/28/2010

    " An intriguing premise that never quite really fulfills it's promise, but interesting all the same. "

  • 5 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 55 out of 5 Kerki | 10/17/2010

    " Afwijkend van ander werk door origineel verhaal dat terug gaat naar de muiterij op de bounty. Verrassend! "

About the Author

Val McDermid was a journalist for sixteen years and is now a full-time writer living in South Manchester. Among her awards are the Gold Dagger for Best Crime Novel of the Year for The Mermaids Singing. Her novel A Place of Execution won a Los Angeles Times Book Prize, was nominated for the Edgar Award for Best Novel, and named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year.

About the Narrator

Kate Reading has recorded hundreds of audiobooks across many genres, over a thirty year plus career. Audie Awards: The Strange Case of the Alchemist’s Daughter (mystery), Breasts (non-fiction), Bellwether (fiction), and Words of Radiance (fantasy), co-narrated with her husband, Michael Kramer. Among other awards, she has been recognized with: the ALA Booklist best of 2019 for Bowlaway (fiction), AudioFile Magazine Voice of the Century, Earphones Awards, Narrator of the Year, Best Voice in Science Fiction and Fantasy, and Publisher’s Weekly’s Listen-Up Award. She records at her home studio, Madison Productions, Inc., in Maryland.