Author: Mark Billingham
‘Evil is in the bloodline.’
I think I’m slowly picking up a new favourite genre. Thrillers or Crime Thrillers have made up a lot of my reading lately and I’m thrilled (see what I did there?) at how they’ve turned out, but for a few exceptions.
In this book, DI Tom Thorne is on the team investigating a cluster of murders. The link between all these people? Their mothers were all murdered by the same man fifteen years earlier. How’s that for a hook?!
I bought this book for £1; it was in a service station on the way back from Conception and I thought ‘meh, why not? Someone I’ve not heard of, only £1. Can’t be that much of a stinker, right?’ I’m glad I was right! Billingham has spun a tale that had me right from the very start.
Only when I read the back blurb did I realise that this was a detective story. I’ve had my ups and downs with those books and expected a few more clichés and overdone plot devices. Still, it was the idea that killer was leaving behind little clues (as, lets face it, they tend to do in these sorts of stories) that drew me in. But reading the back didn’t make the idea seem hackneyed or overdone. For some reason – that was very comforting – it all felt very fresh to me.
And the whole of the book is like that. Tom Thorne is a wonderfully believable character with his own problems that occasionally become obvious while he’s working the case. Its clear he has a full and colourful history and whether that’s just back story or explained in previous books, it helps to give the character a flavour and a roundness that some others just lack. The bit-characters are all engaging and genuine as well, a wonderful compliment to Thorne without stealing the limelight.
The story itself is gripping; well paced unfolding of the action and the motives behind the killer’s actions as well as a little insight into the victims, which prevents them from being one dimensional cut outs. Just enough ‘copper talk’ to keep it real without making me snore.
This is definitely an author I’ll be looking for again; this series of books only looks like it will get better and better as it goes on.