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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stubborn, tenacious, insightful - Thorne's back
I highlighted Mark Billingham's new Thorne novel on The Crime Warp, a blog I write for. Although I've not read all of his books - I'm more of a dabbler - the ones I have read have been enjoyable and I particularly liked his recent non Thorne novel, Rush of Blood, where nothing was quite what it seemed throughout - just as you thought you'd understood one of their...
Published 19 months ago by Romancrimeblogger

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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thorny Situation!
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...
Published 17 months ago by Pigwin


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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Thorny Situation!, 25 July 2013
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.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Stubborn, tenacious, insightful - Thorne's back, 26 May 2013
I highlighted Mark Billingham's new Thorne novel on The Crime Warp, a blog I write for. Although I've not read all of his books - I'm more of a dabbler - the ones I have read have been enjoyable and I particularly liked his recent non Thorne novel, Rush of Blood, where nothing was quite what it seemed throughout - just as you thought you'd understood one of their characters, their lives are revealed to be a little more complicated than you first thought.

Well, to Thorne. He's been busted down to uniform as a punishment for his reckless actions in Good as Dead. The freedom's he had as a detective are gone. He now has to attend the muster for each shift and go out on patrol to deal with the daily grind of volume crime. His personal life has changed, seemingly for the better though - shacked up with Helen Weeks and slowly becoming a father figure for Weeks' boy Alfie.

Thorne becomes suspicious about what looks like an elderly couple that have just committed suicide. His detective's antennae are twitching - it looks like murder but the evidence is thin. Just as you'd expect, he can't let it go. He goes to see the CID team, but is humiliated by the detectives and soon makes an enemy of DCI Hackett who describes himself as "a fat bastard but far from jolly". Thorne can't let this go and starts an unofficial investigation. He's quickly on the trail and calling in favours from his old friends Hendricks, Holland and Kitson, as well as lying to Weeks about what he's doing and where he's going. The chase hots up as we see the killer speeding up his murder appearing as suicide spree. As you'd expect Thorne and his unofficial team work out who the killer is, and then.....

Phew! It's a good book with pace that builds effectively and portrays a Thorne that seems to be getting on with work and life, whilst underneath there's what feels almost like suppressed and seething anger. He knows there's a killer out there; he's the only one that can resolve it and he'll do almost anything to do that, even risking his relationship with Weeks, his long standing friendships and even his friend's careers. It's almost as if he's the parallel figure to the killer, who has a ruthless plan and won't stop until it's complete. The characterisation is great and is perfect for this plot.

....and finally, giving no secrets away, the book does end on a cliffhanger. I say no more except to recommend you read this book!
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Our favourite maverick is back..., 16 Jun 2013
By 
Raven (England) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
It was a very real sense of anticipation that I embarked on reading The Dying Hours, the latest instalment of the hugely successful D.I. Tom Thorne series. Having been disappointed by the standalone, Rush of Blood, and bemoaning the hiatus in this series, I was itching for Billingham to return to our troubled detective Thorne with his thorny (excuse the pun) professional and personal life...

Our maverick hero returns, busted back to uniform after the destructive events of Good As Dead and he's mad as hell. Caught in an impasse between his uniformed and CID colleagues, with neither side appreciating his presence, Thorne quickly irritates them all further having noticed that a spate of seemingly straightforward suicides is anything but. Thorne adopts his traditional determined stance becoming increasingly frustrated with the antipathy of his colleagues and their stalwart position that there is not a murderer at work, and that these are indeed just suicides. Enlisting the albeit reluctant help of some his former colleagues- well, the ones that still deign to give him the time of day- Thorne and his able sidekick, the marvellous pathologist Phil Hendricks, seek to get to the bottom of the mystery by fair means or foul. This is where Billingham excels in this series, with the sharp interplay of Thorne and his colleagues that supports what, to my mind, was quite an un-engaging plot. I didn't particularly care who was committing the crimes nor in the motivations of the exceptionally dull killer, so most of my pleasure was derived from Thorne and his cohorts, putting themselves at professional and personal risk as Thorne bullishly seeks to keep his investigation under the radar, despite the problems this causes. Billingham's razor sharp dialogue and injection of wit is clearly in evidence again, and to my mind what the book lacks in plot, is more than made up for in the interaction between Thorne and others in his professional sphere. Thorne has no compunction in getting them into scrapes and I enjoyed their moral dilemmas as they seek to disengage from their renegade former boss, and naturally the verbal tussles between Thorne and his mate Hendricks are always a crowd pleaser!

On the personal front, Thorne has embarked on an affair with the comely police officer, Helen Woods, although this relationship is clearly delineated by their separate abodes and the awkwardness caused their differing shift patterns. I actually found Helen's role in the book little more than window dressing, with only an arbitrary focus on her own career and her simply being used as a foil for Thorne's frustrations when she eventually finds out what he's been up to. With her employment in one of the most stressful police investigation units I got a wee bit bored with her naval gazing as to whether she was up to her job after recent events, and just wanted her to get involved in a juicy case of her own to support her former characterisation by Billingham as a ballsy and determined police officer, not just a woolly mother in need of a good shake, and hopefully to step out from the shadow of Thorne.

So criticisms aside, I for one, breathed a sigh of relief at the return of Tom Thorne, and despite this having a small feel of a `bridging' novel about it with the intimation that Thorne may well be up to something entirely more interesting in the next book, I found this a satisfying enough read. Carried by Billingham's natural skill for dialogue and some solid characterisation my final verdict would be good- but not great.
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 4 Jun 2013
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Now that's how you write a detective story...gripping, tense, funny, sad, thoughtful and mad. I can't wait until the next book.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not His Usual Standard, 9 Sep 2014
This review is from: The Dying Hours (Tom Thorne Novels) (Paperback)
I have read several Mark Billingham books in the past & enjoyed them very much. I was, therefore, looking forward to reading this one and was pleased when it came through relatively quickly from the library. Unfortunately, I was rather disappointed and felt this book was far from his usual standard.
In this book we find Tom Thorne back in uniform following a demotion as a result of his behaviour in the previous book. He isn't particularly happy about it and seems to be constantly trying to find fault and pick arguements with every other officer he comes into contact with. He has moved in with his girlfriend Helen and her toddler son, Alfie. Thorne isn't happy with a particular crime scene and wants it to be investigated as a murder as opposed to a suicide. He starts to investigate in his own time.
My biggest problem with this book is Tom Thorne. He has evolved into a rather unpleasant character with no consideration for anyone else's feelings, jobs or lives. This includes himself, his closest friends and even his girlfriend. He becomes so focussed on this suicide/murder case that he uses and abuses his friendships and even other police officers that he barely knows. He lies to his friends and girlfriend on almost a daily basis. There appear to be a few moments of remorse but they don't hold him back from what he is focussed upon. Quite why his friends & Helen continue to have anything to do with him is beyond me. Tom Thorne seems determined to self-destruct and doesn't seem to care whose lives or careers he takes with him.
Having a main character who is so unlikeable and impossible to empathise with, made reading this book very difficult. I couldn't get involved with his character. The other characters in this book are quite weak and really not well enough developed to allow the reader to empathise with their feelings towards Tom Thorne. This book is primarily a one man show with a cast of under developed supporting characters.
The actual plot was fairly reasonable. I was surprised at how much police officers could abuse the police force's resources without any detection or come back. I hope that this is not relective of real life!
Overall I felt that this was a poor offering from a good author. His earlier Tom Thorne books are far superior to this one and I would recommend reading one of those in preference to this book. "Sleepyhead" is one of the best.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Poor addition to the Thorne series, 1 Aug 2014
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It kind of pains me to do this but I found this a bit boring. I've been a fan of the Thorne series from the start and have read every one. But with this one I found myself looking at the percentages left on my kindle and wishing them to get to 100 quickly. And when the book finished on 94% I was quite happy.

To me there seemed no tension or intrigue, no mystery or thrills. The reason why the crimes were being committed was dull, you knew who was doing the crimes and why they were doing them pretty soon on in the book. And it seemed that a large percentage of the book was Thorne going from one crime scene to another, whilst at the same time trying to justify to his nearest and dearest why he was investigating these crimes.

In this book Thorne has been demoted, so he was not really supposed to be investigating these crimes and was doing it 'on the side'. But that got weary very quickly, as you were always thinking just tell your colleagues. Yes I know he tried at the start, but try again if a serial killer is out there on a killing spree. I know it's not a documentary, but lone copper working out the connection but the rest of the whole police force can't as the bodies mount up? Really? It was kind of explained at the end why the rest of the police did not work it out, but that just felt extremely contrived and a easy cop out to try and justify the whole premise of the book. The team of Kitson and Holland were shoe horned in a bit but never really got involved in the story.

There were a few twists but you could see the majority of them coming, and I guessed who the protagonists would be at the finale and what situation Thorne would likely be in pretty early in the book. So when this happened I was very disappointed as it just felt lazy as it was so obvious, and seemed more like it was written for TV. Having said that I'd feel a bit let down if this was the plot for a 2 hour TV cop show, and to me it was certainly no where near as good as the previous Thorne books.

I know everyone is entitled to an off day, but this book felt that it was written as a contractual commitment based around a rather boring premise, rather than it coming from a really good idea for a crime thriller.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Pensioners in peril, 16 July 2014
By 
Dr R (Norwich, UK) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: The Dying Hours (Tom Thorne Novels) (Paperback)
Tom Thorne has been transferred to uniform from the Murder Squad following the actions described in ‘Good as Dead’ [2011]. Although still an Inspector, when he assists a detective at an apparent dual suicide of two pensioners, he is made to understand that his suggestions and thoughts are not wanted. Other detectives seek to patronise and humiliate him. He is now back to fluctuating shift patterns, paperwork and pairing up for police patrols. His preferred partner, Sergeant Christine Treasure, is bolshy, flatulent and makes Thorne feel a little frightened. However, ‘he likes her attitude’.

Thorne carries on investigating and, when he finds a cluster of elderly suicides, he calls on his former colleagues, DI Kitson and DS Holland to assist him by retrieving information in databases that he no longer can access. Poly-pierced pub-crawling pathologist Phil Hendricks is on hand to listen to Thorne’s ideas, pass on autopsy details and urge caution that is generally ignored. Some of the best dialogue and mordant humour comes in meetings between these close colleagues. As Thorne’s investigation becomes more complex, Kitson and Holland question whether they should continue to assist. This tension between characters that we have previously seen only as team players is an interesting aspect of the novel.

There are changes too on the home front where Thorpe is now in a relationship with Helen Weeks, a Detective Sergeant in a Child Abuse Investigation Team, who was the hostage from Billingham’s last book in this series. He is beginning to act as a father figure for her toddler, Alfie. Whilst Weeks is present in a significant part of this book, she was not especially well-characterised. On the other hand, the characters of the individual victims are much better presented, in much less space, and the descriptions of their final moments are truly chilling. I found the killer, who is introduced very early on, somewhat two dimensional, partly because he has no redeeming qualities.

A short, beautifully-written, Prologue shows the reader that Thorne is, indeed, correct in his thinking but the motive and the links, if any, between the victims are not easy to see. Thorne is under great pressure from his illegal investigation, the mounting deaths, which he takes personally, lack of sleep, rather too much alcohol and relationship problems. The investigation has to be pursued in Thorne’s free time and when he reports in as sick.

Billington rightly places Thorne at the centre of the book and we share his pain and frustration at no longer being part of the planning and investigation team for serious offences [‘Thorne was nobody’s ray of sunshine 24/7, bur she’d heard enough about him to know that he was a moody bugger long before he’d been bumped off the Murder Squad….Any copper who didn’t know what a black mood felt like wasn’t doing their job properly.’] His involvement in actions to minimise gang fights in London is no substitute. In his determination to catch the killer, Thorne cuts many corners and exploits, even manipulates, younger officers, as with Trainee DC Jenny Quinlan. At one level there is not much difference between the morality of the killer and Thorne himself.

The author’s plotting, always a strong point, is very good and the story hurtles along at breakneck speed. There are the expected twists and the final lines of the book [‘Brigstocke brushed crumbs off the bed, turned to him. Sighed. ‘You want the good news or the bad news?’’] leaves the reader impatient for the next book. Apart from the two lapses in characterisation, mentioned above, I found Billington’s descriptions, dialogue and humorous asides compelling.

Despite Thorne’s abuse of regulations and procedures, his determination to do things his way, stubbornness, readiness to exploit his friends and his inability to open up fully to his lover, his character has grown into much more than a mere acquaintance. Not the best book in the series but still very enjoyable. Any reader coming freshly to this series would be well-advised to read ‘Good as Dead’ first.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars The dying hours, 7 Jun 2014
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Took reality a little to far I missed out how the murderers helper managed to find him when no one else could, to long and drawn out
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another amazing book, 4 May 2014
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Mark Billingham has been my favourite author for years and once again does not disappoint. Tom Thorne is as exciting as ever and although this isn't my favourite book out of the eleven I still couldn't put it down. I was supposed to save this for my summer holiday but couldn't resist
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Not great - has gone off the boil, 17 April 2014
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A tad disappointed, it has lost the punch of its Tom Thorne heady heights. I felt as if I was reading a part of a a series .. As I guess it now is Which is unfair for anyone who hasn't read the last few books. Previously the Tom Thorne books didn't take your readership for granted . You could pick up any book and get pulled into it as the plot was amazing . This and it's predecessor doesn't . It felt mechanically written And quiet frankly boring in parts . Way too much technical policing info. It felt like a custody suite training Manuel , rather than a thriller. The cynical humour had been missed . I' think it's time for Tom Thorne retire and for Mark Billingham to refresh himself and get his edge back . I won't be buying another Tom Thorne book .
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The Dying Hours (Tom Thorne Novels)
The Dying Hours (Tom Thorne Novels) by Mark Billingham (Paperback - 27 Mar 2014)
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