As a result of a bungled hostage situation a while ago, Tom Thorne finds himself no longer part of the Murder Squad but effectively demoted to Uniform Patrol although he does retain the rank of inspector. Tom is not a happy chappy and, not surprisingly, has yet to settle into his less than welcome posting, but he does get along very well with his new female colleague who is in no danger of falling for Thorne's dubious charms!
When there is a spate of suicides in the area Thorne believes the apparently separate incidents are linked and are murders rather than suicides but when he outlines his concerns to the powers that be in his old squad he is told, in no uncertain terms, to butt out. This of course does nothing to deter Thorne and he initiates his own covert investigation in his own time while calling on a few long-suffering and loyal ex-colleagues in the Murder Squad to help him clandestinely.
While there are no real surprises in this novel it is nevertheless gripping and exciting and a compulsive read. I consider Mark Billingham to be a a master of the detective fiction genre and over the course of his previous novels I have become quite fond of Thorne who may be a thorn in the side of his superior officers and a thorny live-in lover(I know awful pun) but still remains dedicated to the job and a very humane and all-too-human person.
This book ends on a bit of a question mark so I hope Mark B carries on where he left off in the next Tom Thorne outing.
I would certainly recommend this novel to fans of detective fiction and/or thrillers.