Source: Review copy
Publication: 9 June 2022 from Little, Brown
My thanks to Little, Brown for an advance copy for review
Tom Thorne has it all.
In Nicola Tanner and Phil Hendricks, Thorne has good friends by his side. He finally has a love life worth a damn and is happy in the job to which he has devoted his life…
He has everything to lose.
Hunting the woman responsible for a series of grisly murders, Thorne has no way of knowing that he will be plunged into a nightmare from which he may never wake.
And he’ll do anything to keep it.
Finally, Thorne’s past has caught up with him and a ruinous secret is about to be revealed. If he wants to save himself and his friends, he must do the unthinkable.
I loved The Murder Book. Revisiting Tom Thorne, Phil Hendricks and Nicola Tanner is such a treat. And in this, the 18th in the series, Billingham shows us that he can still shock and surprise his readers.
You can read The Murder Book as a stand-alone but I guarantee you’ll want to read the whole series by the time you’re finished and you will get more from it if you have read previous books in the series.
D. I. Tom Thorne is a character you can’t help but like. He’s not great with bureaucracy, has a terrible track record when it comes to his love life, he sometimes finds it hard to reign in his temper, but he has the best of friends and this trio of close knit chums has a secret that binds them together in the most uncomfortable way. It’s a secret that is about to catch up to them – not that they know it yet.
In The Murder Book, Thorne’s worst nightmare, an old adversary has come back into his life – with a vengeance. Three serial daters have been sadistically murdered and savagely mutilated and with diligent detecting skills, Thorne and the team soon have a suspect in custody. Far too soon for these crimes to be so simple and this is where the fun really starts.
The Murder Book is fast-paced, twisty and full of misdirection. Just when you think you know where things are heading events take a different turn. Thorne, Tanner and Hendricks have strong reasons for needing this antagonist dealt with but so far they’re letting them run rings round them.
Thorne is worried for those closest to him and Nicola is taking chances that make the reader want to shout ‘beware’ at her. It’s a tense time and Billingham does a magnificent job of creating tension and then letting us laugh to blow off some of the head of steam that is building up.
Verdict: This is a book that really ratchets up the tension. You fear for Thorne and those he is close to. I formed and discarded theories all through the book, but in the end my heart was in my mouth because I could not see any way out of the terrifying situation that Thorne and his friends were facing. It’s an interesting and excruciating form of entertainment and I absolutely loved it. This is top class crime fiction from a master of the art.
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Mark Billingham has twice won the Theakston’s Old Peculier Award for Crime Novel of the Year, and has also won a Sherlock Award for the Best Detective created by a British writer. Each of the novels featuring Detective Inspector Tom Thorne has been a Sunday Times bestseller. Sleepyhead and Scaredy Cat were made into a hit TV series on Sky 1 starring David Morrissey as Thorne, and a series based on the novels In the Dark and Time of Death was broadcast on BBC1. Mark lives in north London with his wife and two children.