I highlighted Mark Billingham’s new Thorne novel in an earlier post. Although I’ve not read all of his books – I’m more of a dabbler - the ones I have read have been enjoyable and I particularly liked his recent non Thorne novel, Rush of Blood, where nothing was quite what it seemed throughout – just as you thought you’d understood one of the characters, their lives are revealed to be a little more complicated than you first thought.
Well, to Thorne....he’s been busted down to uniform as a punishment for his reckless actions in Good as Dead. The freedoms he had as a detective are gone. He now has to attend the muster for each shift and go out on patrol to deal with the daily grind of volume crime. His personal life has changed, seemingly for the better though – shacked up with Helen Weeks and slowly becoming a father figure for Weeks’ boy Alfie.
Thorne becomes suspicious about what looks like an elderly couple that have just committed suicide. His detective’s antennae are twitching – it looks like murder but the evidence is thin. Just as you’d expect, he can’t let it go. He goes to see the CID team, but is humiliated by the detectives and soon makes an enemy of DCI Hackett who describes himself as “a fat bastard but far from jolly”. Thorne can’t let this go and starts an unofficial investigation. He’s quickly on the trail and calling in favours from his old friends Hendricks, Holland and Kitson, as well as lying to Weeks about what he’s doing and where he’s going. The chase hots up as we see the killer speeding up his murder appearing as suicide spree. As you’d expect Thorne and his unofficial team work out who the killer is, and then…..
Phew! It’s a good book with pace that builds effectively and portrays a Thorne that seems to be getting on with work and life, whilst underneath there’s what feels almost like a suppressed and seething anger. He knows there’s a killer out there; he’s the only one that can resolve it and he’ll do almost anything to do that, even risking his relationship with Weeks, his long standing friendships and even his friend’s careers. It’s almost as if he’s the parallel figure to the killer, who has a ruthless plan and won’t stop until it’s complete. The characterisation is great and is perfect for this plot.
….and finally, giving no secrets away, the book does end on a great big cliffhanger. I say no more except to recommend you read this book!
PS - do look for the Mark Billingham interview coming up on The Crime Warp shortly!!