As well as her books, Val McDermid also does a lot of work with events and supporting other up and coming crime writers. She founded a crime festival in Harrogate and organised the first 3, it's now been going for about 8 years.
If you ever get the chance to see her at an author event, she is lovely. Very warm, funny and interesting. I have known Val for years, so cannot claim to be unbiased, but she is a treat to meet. I book a lot of authors for events and she is probably the crime fans favourite. I just dont know how she finds the time to do everything
Bridget- maybe try one of her stand alone ones there no where near as violent. I agree they can be quite gruesome she's the only author who I've ever had to skip a bit in a book! She did justify it recently by saying the crimes have to be like that or the unit Carol and Tony are part of wouldn't be dealing with them.