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Lifeless (Tom Thorne Novels Book 5)
 
 

Lifeless (Tom Thorne Novels Book 5) [Kindle Edition]

Mark Billingham
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)

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Product Description

Amazon.co.uk Review

In Lifeless, Mark Billingham's Tom Thorne reaches something like the nadir of his police career, broken by the death--possibly the murder--of his demented father and shuffled off to a desk job of infinite tedium. When someone starts kicking the London homeless to death, he suggests going undercover, and those of his friends who care about him worry that he is looking for his own destruction as much as for the killer. Certainly Thorne finds compensations on the street for danger, cold, hunger and squalor--his friendship with two young addicts is nonetheless real for his deceit and their pragmatic ruthlessness. Yet the secret of the deaths he is investigating lies only partly in London's dark alleys and corners; it lies as well fourteen years in the past on the road to Baghdad... This is probably Billingham's best thriller yet--inventive and passionate and full of commitment and dark humour. In his vulnerability and shrewdness, Tom Thorne is gradually shaping up into a classic detective whose habit of breaking the rules is not so much a strength as part of a pattern of self-destructive behaviour. Billingham's writing gets better with each book, too--the rough tenderness for each other of Spike and Caz, Thorne's mildly deranged guides to the street, is delicate and moving. ---Roz Kaveney

Amazon Review

In Lifeless, Mark Billingham's Tom Thorne reaches something like the nadir of his police career, broken by the death--possibly the murder--of his demented father and shuffled off to a desk job of infinite tedium. When someone starts kicking the London homeless to death, he suggests going undercover, and those of his friends who care about him worry that he is looking for his own destruction as much as for the killer. Certainly Thorne finds compensations on the street for danger, cold, hunger and squalor--his friendship with two young addicts is nonetheless real for his deceit and their pragmatic ruthlessness. Yet the secret of the deaths he is investigating lies only partly in London's dark alleys and corners; it lies as well fourteen years in the past on the road to Baghdad... This is probably Billingham's best thriller yet--inventive and passionate and full of commitment and dark humour. In his vulnerability and shrewdness, Tom Thorne is gradually shaping up into a classic detective whose habit of breaking the rules is not so much a strength as part of a pattern of self-destructive behaviour. Billingham's writing gets better with each book, too--the rough tenderness for each other of Spike and Caz, Thorne's mildly deranged guides to the street, is delicate and moving. ---Roz Kaveney

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 516 KB
  • Print Length: 481 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0751536164
  • Publisher: Sphere; New Ed edition (4 Sep 2008)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002TZ3DB2
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,850 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Mark Billingham is one of the UK's most acclaimed and popular crime writers. A former actor, television writer and stand-up comedian, his series of novels featuring D.I. Tom Thorne has twice won him the Crime Novel Of The Year Award as well as the Sherlock Award for Best British Detective and been nominated for seven CWA Daggers. His standalone thriller IN THE DARK was chosen as one of the twelve best books of the year by the Times and his debut novel, SLEEPYHEAD was chosen by the Sunday Times as one of the 100 books that had shaped the decade. Each of his novels has been a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller.

A television series based on the Thorne novels was screened in Autumn 2010, starring David Morrissey as Tom Thorne and series based on the standalone thrillers IN THE DARK and RUSH OF BLOOD are currently in development with the BBC.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
31 of 35 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Lifeless, Mark Billingham 3 Mar 2005
By RachelWalker TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Hardcover
Someone's killing homeless people. That's the basic thrust of Billingham's new novel, his fifth to feature DI Thorne. Thorne himself has been shunted aside, a bit out of favour with his bosses and still getting over the death of his elderly father, which he will never be certain wasn't murder. He's most definitely "having a rest" - until, eager to be in the thick of the action, he volunteers to go undercover out onto the streets of London, posing as one of the many homeless, to try and garner vital information about the killings which show no signs of stopping. Understandable, much is made of the perhaps precarious nature of Thorne's mental wellbeing, especially as he throws himself into his mission with such gusto and, well, enthusiasm. (The fact is, it's probably quite good for him, I think.)
I'm undergoing somewhat of a disaffect with serial killer novels right now, so I wasn't too sure about this book, especially after The Burning Girl, which veered away from that sub-genre completely, and broke entirely new and refreshing ground for the series. The fact is that if Billingham sticks with serial killers then he's never going to better his first book (and so far, he hasn't - but his last came close). I was pleased, then, that this book, despite its initial conceit of strings of homeless people being killed, steers away that, and is ultimately better for it. (Though, I suspect, the exposited motivation for some of the killings is less accurate than the simple fact Billingham had to have them in order to maintain a selling point, an original angle.) Lifeless is a clever, topical, intelligent crime novel, another point on Billingham's arc of growing maturity that started with Lazybones.
One of the central problems I have personally with Billingham's series is Tom Thorne.
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33 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Billingham's best 4 April 2005
Format:Hardcover
Mark Billingham's latest novel is without a doubt his best yet. I honestly cannot remember the last time I enjoyed a book as much as this. This novel manages that rare feat; to be thrilling, hilarious, moving and socially aware. To reveal any of the plot would spoil enjoyment but suffice to say if you are a fan of crime novels, you will relish this. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing Realism 29 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback
Lifeless is very gritty and bleak thriller that really encapsulates the life of the homeless on the streets of London through the eyes of Tom Thorne going undercover to try and track down a ruthless serial killer targeting the rough sleepers. A military link is quickly established as the main motive, drawing on a very topical subject of the time with the abuse of prisoners by the military. Billingham ensures that well know landmarks serve as a backdrop to the plot and therefore ensures an even great sense of realism for the reader. Central to the plot is Thorne adapting to life on the streets and his friendship with drug addict Spike, and from where he is able to observe and comment on both the homeless community and his police colleagues. Nice little twist in the end.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Billingham back on form..... 11 Aug 2014
Format:Kindle Edition
Billingham is back on track after the disappointment of The Burning Girl (in my eyes anyway) previously. Although not quite a serial killer type book it never the less explores the life of the homeless on London’s' streets where Thorne volunteers to go undercover whilst trying to catch a killer who is killing ex-military personal who have become homeless.

Aside from the fantastic tour around London streets which I have come to know during my own travels to the capital over the years, this novel certainly covers different ground for Billingham and I have to say it is a very welcome change.

Thorne feels at rock bottom emotionally and physically after his last case did not pan out as he'd hoped and he got in to trouble with his superiors, the death of his Father in a fire which he is not certain was an accident or deliberate and I think his all-round lethargy of over work, over weight and single with no woman for company (and everyone knows that a man cannot live alone...lol) contribute to his overall state.

Befriending Spike and one day Caroline, two young drug addicts, Throne although initially finds life on the street extremely difficult, it is not long before he begins to understand why people do become homeless and what drives them to become addicts. Dare I say it but I got the feeling that Thorne could quite easily have fallen in to this life style eventually if left abandoned. It's not difficult to just go with the flow if there is nothing left to hold on to.

I enjoyed the book because it was different and explored unknown areas of atrocities committed in battle which a lot of people would rather cover up due to their very nature.

Highly recommended reading, thank you Mark.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars another blinder from mark billingham 21 July 2005
Format:Hardcover
I was eagerly awaiting this book as all his other books have been excellent and i was not disappointed.
Tom Thorne is a character that you really care about and is totally believable.Mark Billinghams writing is very witty as he is a stand-up comedian as well as an author and i like the fact that they are set in and around Kentish Town as that is where i come from.
Every thing about this book is great and if you havent read any of his other books i highly recommend them all.
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