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Sleepyhead (Tom Thorne Novels) Paperback – 1 Mar 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (1 Mar 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 075154891X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751548914
  • Product Dimensions: 2.8 x 12 x 18.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (136 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 4,179 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

30 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on 14 Jan 2003
Format: Hardcover
From the first page, I was hooked. This story revolves around a young woman who has "locked-in" syndrome ie she is a prisoner within her own body, having been attacked and suffering a stroke as a result. At first the police think it was a murder attempt gone wrong, but the truth is even more chilling -- the attacker meant to leave her like this and previous deaths were mistakes on his part. Is this girl the only one with any clues to the perpetrator? Now he has succeeded once, who will his next subject be? I won't reveal any more of the plot, but the writing is superb. The policeman has a great stock of one-liners; he reminded me of Inspector Rebus, and there is a nice injection of black hospital humour. The characters were true to life, nicely flawed, and as a British crime thriller, the reader does not have to contend with Americanisms and superhuman cops. A great read. I'm looking forward to reading Mark Billingham's next.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By OEJ TOP 100 REVIEWERTOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 22 Dec 2006
Format: Paperback
This is Mark Billingham's debut novel featuring the stout figured DI Tom Thorne, just turned 40 and on the trail of a psychopath who kills a number of women `by accident' until eventually he is successful in his most unusual objective : to leave them somewhere in between life and death. The murders are errors on his part while he perfects his technique. Early on we are presented with a prime suspect, or at least someone who Thorne is convinced is the killer, so this novel becomes less of a whodunit as much as a "did he or didn't he?" - and I for one was never completely sure about the answer until hundreds of pages later and the moment of revelation.

Despite the serial-killer storyline, Mark Billingham successfully manages to create a `novel' twist to the well-worn theme by making it clear that all of the murders were mistakes, at least in the mind of the perpetrator who has something of an obsession with Thorne and in addition to making direct (but anonymous) contact with the determined copper he seems to want Thorne to be the one who finally nabs him. Thorne has emotional scars of his own, dating back several years and which unknowing to him have served to shape his personality both as a detective and as a man. All is eventually revealed, and very disturbing it is. Thorne's something of a maverick, sometimes part of the team but often the cavalier, maybe he's on the verge of some kind of burned-out breakdown but just when you think he's going off the rails, he gets back on track again.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Janie U TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 21 Jan 2010
Format: Paperback
The troubled cop as the lead character in a murder story has been used far too many times but when it is as well written as this book then I can forgive the author for using a cliche.
The language is surprisingly descriptive and evocative. It is used to good effect within the crime scenes and is describes emotions particularly well.
I found myself getting very frustrated with a few of the police characters surrounding the main man, although I'm sure that was the intention of the author.
This book is the first in a series of Tom Thorne stories and is a very good introduction. He has been in the police force for so time and has an interesting history which is gradually fed to the reader throughout the book. I came away wanting to know more about Tom which will encourage me to pick up some more of the other books sometime.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Trelloskilos on 11 Oct 2003
Format: Hardcover
Finally. A thriller I actually enjoyed!
Sleepyhead is a neat little book that sets a very plausable plot and doesn't get too OTT for the sake of it. Despite the blurb on the back, it's not a book that is going to keep you awake at night, but offers a few chills in just the right places.
Character-wise, the book also succeeds. Although Billingham is usually associated with stand-up comedy, Sleepyhead does not turn into a dizzy spoof of itself. Each character certainly makes the odd humorous observation, but no more than any human who finds themself in a stressful situation. The central character, D.I Tom Thorne is believable, although the old formulas of 'hard-boiled detective with a grudge/mysterious past' does crop up on occasion. This is toned down by development of other characters, such as Holland, Hendricks etc.
One thing that the book succeeds on in particular is the relationships between the characters involved. Unfortunately, however, because of this, the ending becomes either a tad predictable, or slightly confusing. I'd like to explain further my reasoning, but I may give something away.
Saying that though, I still enjoyed the book. As I mentioned, I'm not a huge fan of crime thrillers, but this book may be an indication that I may have been unlucky in my fiction selection in the past, and that the crime thriller genre is far from dead.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By Stuart Walsh on 27 Jun 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I bought this book because I recalled seeing Mark Billingham's face pasted up on tube station walls a while back and I wanted to read the first novel by someone who apparently deserved this attention.

Well, it starts off OK. The detective on the case is the usual hackneyed weary type with a divorce and some kind of drink problem (eyes starting to close), who argues with his boss (stretch arms), feels sorry for a victim who's still alive and gets involved with her doctor (yawn) who just happens to have had a fling with the main suspect (Zzzzzzz), then eventually, with no clues finds the victim who isn't who we/I thought through pure luck (flatline - beeeeeeeeeeeep).

This thing plods along with glacial vigour. We are constantly told that this Thorne guy is one of the best but we never find out why; he certainly doesn't show any Columbo-esque genius - he's stupid: Is it normal police practice to ring up a murder suspect to tell them that you are on your way to arrest them? Being a naive type, I would have thought doing that would give the suspect a chance to escape, but that's just the way my non-police brain works.

And perleeeze!! Finding one door that should be locked and isn't locked is just about getbyable, but three? And is it me, but I thought London had a good transport system with it's 1000's of taxis, 100's of buses and a tube and rail network that are the envy of the world, so why did the person who knew he was a suspect gladly give the 'tec a lift instead of pointing him towards a mode of public transport? Do fibres from the boot of a modern car really stick limpet-like to briefcases?
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