Earlier this year when ITV in their infinite wisdom announced the cancellation of the critically- acclaimed crime drama Wire In the Blood there was an uproar amongst devotees, to the extent it made front page news. The reasons said the channel were purely cost based. It was simply too expensive. It was a crying shame as it's one of the few shows ITV has showcasing Robson Greene excelling in a series that's never hit a bum note. A rarity in our increasingly throw away reality show culture, which sees us importing contemporary crime dramas from abroad. Luckily for fans there is a new novel to enjoy until a savvy channel sees fit to fund a new series. 'Fever Of The Bone' is McDermid's sixth book featuring crime fighting duo, criminal profiler Dr Tony Hill and Detective Chief Inspector (DCI) Carol Jordan. This is a refreshingly topical, exceedingly modern tale of a crumbling recession hit Britain; rife with teenagers lured to their deaths by a faceless monster on cyberspace seducing them with textspeak and of how office politics, ambitions and budgets constrain the police from 'doing the right thing,' even when lives are at stake and murders that have lain unsolved for years have a chance of resolution. McDermid brings a pleasing if grisly credibility to her novels with charismatic characters barbed with tinges of black humour, which are sure to please existing fans, as well as impress newcomers to her work. There are enough asides and hints to a backstory for the latter to enjoy the ride. For those who are pining the loss of DCI Jordan in the TV series (Hermione Norris's family commitments saw her drop out) there is the pleasure of witnessing further twists in the complicated but tender bond between the ferociously stoic DCI and socially inept, vulnerable anti-hero Dr Tony Hill. It's the classic exquisite plot device of ' will they, won't they?' that has proved as much of a draw as the realistic, luridly dark plots McDermid magics up. This novel sees Hill's uneasy relationship with his past further uncovered with the inheritance of a house from a father he never knew, who abandoned him to an abusive childhood resulting in him now 'passing for human.' He agonises over what to do. Combined with the introduction of new major characters, this unfurling has given the series a fresh impetus and opened up new possibilities for the future. Sleeping dogs do not get to lie. The only bugbear to highlight is the assumption that the reader will know what acronyms stand for in the police task force. It tends to slow the story down while you are left playing detective yourself - trying to figure them all out. It's a small price to play for a credible, confident offering from a mind that leaves you reeling when the denouement comes - and you realise you've been played as much as the detectives have, but as a reader you've thoroughly loved it. Fever Of The Bone will claw at your undivided attention for however long it takes to reach the last page. But be warned you won't see social networking sites in the same way again. For more information about Val McDermid visit: http://www.valmcdermid.com 'Fever Of The Bone' is available now in all good bookstores.