Mark Billingham


"...Billingham is at the top of his game..."


Billingham returns to familiar territory with Tom Thorne and his companions after a brief hiatus where he wrote the standalone thriller, Death Message.

DI Tom Thorne returns to what looks like an uncomplicated domestic murder. However upon finding an X-ray fragment in the victim's hand, the case takes a more sinister tone.

Thorne's investigation uncovers the fact that the victim's mother was murdered by a serial killer, Raymond Garvey, 15 years previously. The body count rises and Thorne is faced with the task of tracking down the killer before he manages to kill any more of Raymond Garvey's victim's children.

The killer turns out to be one of the most deranged that Thorne has ever had to face.

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Mark Billingham is one of the UK's leading crime writers and he is on sparkling form here with one of the best crime thrillers of the year. The Tom Thorne novels are always gritty, touching, humourous and impossible to put down. Once again Billingham reaches the high standards set by his previous novels and this latest outing for Thorne is equally as good as any of it's predecessors. Thorne has a personal tragedy hanging over him as he tackles this case, yet he does not allow himself to be distracted by a sense of grief that he does not know how to express. All of the usual characters prominent in the Thorne books are present including Hendricks, Yvonne Kitson, DCI Brigstocke and Superintendent Trevor Jesmond who is on hand to frustrate and annoy Thorne with his career-minded strategies. As you would expect from Mark Billingham all of the characters are beautifully depicted. even the killer's newsagent whose name we never learn! Thorne's emotions are the perfect playground for Billingham's talent as he raises strong emotions which will strike a chord with many a reader. The plot is fairly straightforward without being simplistic and the book's greatest strength is the way it is character driven, rather than a series of bewildering high octane set pieces loosely threaded together. Do not expect to predict the end though, as there are still a few moments that leave you wondering “why didn't I see that coming” when you have all of the same information Thorne does. Mark Billingham is at the top of his game with Bloodline. If anyone I cared about was murdered I would want Tom Thorne on the case.

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