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4.4 out of 5 stars132
4.4 out of 5 stars
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This is the sixth Tom Thorne novel and, as always, things are not going well for our country music loving detective. It is six months since Thorne went undercover amongst London’s homeless and he is still being side-lined. However, when pressure is put upon his superior officer to help with the kidnapping of a former Detective Chief Superintendent’s son, Thorne is unceremoniously loaned to the kidnap unit. Alongside D.I. Louise Porter, Thorne is sent to discover who is holding sixteen year old Luke Mullen, who was seen getting into a car outside his prestigious North London school.

One of the things that I have to admit appeal to me about this series, is that they are set in the part of London where I live and there is much that is familiar. I recognise the London Mark Billingham writes about and the people who populate his books. Of course, the kidnapping case is not going to be easy to solve, especially when things are complicated by Luke’s location being moved. Along the way, there is the case of a previous murder – racially motivated – and the chief suspect being a boy at Mullen’s school. There are also questions as to why the father of the kidnapped boy did not give a very comprehensive list of people who may have had a grudge against him and the reasons he retired at almost the same time as a previous child sex offender vanished from sight…

Like all the Thorne books, this is comprehensively plotted and realistic. Thorne is not an action hero – but a disgruntled, weary man, coping with personal problems and a bad back. There are familiar characters that we have come to know, including Dave Holland and Yvonne Kitson, and they help flesh out the storyline. This is certainly a series that I intend to read on with and it has become one of my favourites.
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on 24 January 2013
Billingham has struck on a winning formula with his popular detective series: something or someone from the past re-emerges or is discovered in the present day and it is down to world-weary DI Tom Thorne to solve things.

Billingham does manage again to infuse the plot with plenty of unexpected and dramatic developments despite the tried and tested formula. This story on the surface seems like a routine kidnapping, but it is soon apparent that it is anything but that.

I enjoyed revisiting stalwart characters like Hendricks and Holland. It is vital for the `human' element that we feel we know these characters and care about them. If not for them, it would be just another crime novel. The way Thorne interacts with his colleagues and friends gives the novel its meat and its soul. Thorne's main strength is his ordinariness; he is not a super-cop, but a rough-around-the-edges, seasoned veteran.

This thriller is taut, suspenseful, shocking and disturbing. As well as the kidnapping it deals with hate crimes and racist attacks, sex assaults and bullying. Light reading it is not. This is all designed to push the reader's emotional buttons and to prompt righteous indignation. I can only speak from my own experience and say that it works. I was totally hooked and hoping that the wrong-doers were brought swiftly to justice.

This is no wish-fulfilment fantasy, Billingham is again at pains to illustrate police procedure and the work and policies of the various specialist crime units involved. Thorne operates very much in the real contemporary world.

Buried is a solid addition to the series and for my money, one of the best. He has really hit his stride and I am certain that the series can continue to provide exciting storylines and problems for Thorne to tackle for many years to come.
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Mark Billingham was born and brought up in Birmingham. Having worked for some years as an actor and more recently as a TV writer and stand-up comedian his first crime novel was published in 2001.

Though still occasionally working as a stand-up comic, Mark now concentrates on writing the series of crime novels featuring London-based detective Tom Thorne. Mark lives in North London with his wife and two children.

For any new readers who have not read any of the DI Thorne books, you are missing a real treat. Start reading them now, I am sure you will not be disappointed.

Buried is the sixth book in the Tom Thorne series and they have all been equally good. It is not always easy for an author to maintain the high standard they have set themselves with previous books and even the best of them have the odd bad novel, but Mark Billingham seems to have been able to maintain a high standard with all of his offerings and long may that continue.

A sixteen-year-old boy has disappeared and the obvious conclusion must be that he has been kidnapped. Luke Mullen, to make matters worse is the son of a former high-ranking police officer. While no one is prepared to take the final step and say outright that the boy must be dead. Detective Inspector Thorne is brought on to the squad of officers dedicated to locating Luke.

The first and most obvious thing to do is identify and locate anyone who may have had a grudge against his father, a man who incarcerated a lot of villains in his years as a police officer. This case is going to be complicated and it is going to take time to sift through the suspects. Unfortunately time is the one commodity they have not got . . .
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A teenage boy goes missing - the son of a former police officer who might have had some enemies with scores to settle.

This is Mark Billingham's sixth and latest novel featuring London-based DI Tom Thorne, and in my considered opinion, it's also the best yet.

You may have heard the saying that it's better to see an average film with a great script than a great film with a bad script. In a way, BURIED is an example of why it's better to read a well-written book with a so-so story line than an interesting story that's been poorly written. I have a feeling that some of the criticism that this novel has received has been a result of its less than sensational plot and story-line; some people possibly expected another serial killer tale (which this is not) with dead bodies discovered every other chapter. No, BURIED is a more intelligent story, a more realistic one if anything, and as someone who has read all of the author’s five previous novels I would suggest that he has put the greatest amount of thought and research into this latest story even if it lacks some of the bells and whistles that some of Mark's fans might have expected. A great deal of care and planning has gone into the structure of every single page, and with regard to the bigger picture of the entire book, it is a considerably more multi-layered piece of work than Lifeless, for example, which only had me thinking in one direction throughout.

The only weakness of BURIED was its ending, which of course I cannot really describe here but in this regard it bears comparison with several books I have read this year which had endings that failed to live up to the promises created earlier. With less than 100 pages to go I was enjoying this book enormously and eagerly looking forward to giving it the highest of accolades here on Amazon, but to my (slight) frustration it didn't quite deliver the knockout punch that I felt it could have. I have still given it the full 5 stars though, because the first 300+ pages deserved it on their own. Perhaps the key message for me is that Mark Billingham is back at his best after something of a dip in his performance, he's definitely a better writer than he ever has been and if he can come up with a smash-hit story-line for the next in the Thorne series, then he will have a major success on his hands. He has now proved that he has genuine depth of ability in his writing structure, and we know he has great imagination thanks to his debut novel Sleepyhead; if he can combine those two rare skills in one book next time round then we are all in for a real treat.
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VINE VOICEon 17 August 2006
This book sees Mark Billingham return to the winning ways of his first few novels after the poorer performance of `burning girl' and `lifeless' in the `thrilling' department. Buried still doesn't have him at his best but he's certainly heading in right direction for another winner.

This book has a reasonable amount of twists and turns to keep you guessing especially since there is more than one case and several threads to even the main one allowing for them to all come together in the final climax. It isn't the most thrilling book I've ever read and if I'm honest my heart rate never increased by much at any particular point in the book. It's still a good read though and like I said its Mr Billingham returning to his prime.
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on 7 May 2008
I have enjoyed the Tom Thorne series of books, but, I found Buried a bit of a struggle to read. After the initial kidnapping, the characters seem to plod along, and there is no real sense of urgency or panic. A number of characters and plotlines are introduced, that don't seem particularly relevant, to the main case, and at times they take up more of the story, than the main kidnap storyline. It all comes together a bit clumisly towards the end, as the reader is hit with a series of twists.

I would have like to have given this book a higher rating, as I like the regular characters, Thorne, Holland, Brigstocke, Hendricks etc., but I feel this book is a bit dull, and two stars is about right.
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VINE VOICEon 13 July 2007
In a crowded marketplace for grumpy police detective series, Mark Billingham's books about DI Thorne sweep aside most of the competition and stand alongside Ian Rankin's Rebus books easily.

As usual, Billingham finds a very different angle from the usual straightforward murder. This time, it is a kidnap which requires his involvement.

Billingham again gets everything right. Thorne is a recognisably real character, but usually a few steps ahead of the reader when it counts. The odd mix of rivalry and genuine co-operation between different parts of the force is again convincing. And his descriptions - of London, of houses and workplaces - are thoroughly evocative.

The book ends with a certain amount of ambiguity, which I always see to be the sign of a mature writer willing to take a risk and make the reader think.
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TOP 500 REVIEWERon 6 January 2016
I am slowly catching up with this series and I feel like the more I read of them the more I enjoy them. This is largely down to Tom Thorne as a character! I love the fact that Thorne is a disgruntled and weary copper that had his own strange personality quirks. In addition I love how his father is still a large part of his life and is written in as dialogue when Thorne is battling with many questions. Since Torne’s last outing which saw him on the streets Undercover, he is being pushed aside hence the move to the kidnap unit. This latest instalment sees teenager Luke Mullen go missing. Luke’s father also happens to be a former Police Officer which makes the case a lot tougher than usual.

In addition to Thornes colleague Holland we now meet DI Louise Porter who makes for some very interesting reading and interaction with Thorne. As usual these Billingham books are so easy to read and seeing as they are set in my neck of the woods, it’s always great to have a sense of familiarity as they are set in and around South London. All the necessary requirements are there with book 6, with plenty of suspense, and drama as well as characters I seem to have grown attached to.

I feel like there is still so much more to come with Tom Thorne and now I’m nearing the halfway mark, I am even keener than before to get up to date and find out what’s happening with Thorne and his colleagues. This is a cracking series and it’s easy to see why he has such a following. Looking forward to book 7 and would definitely recommend this series!
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on 22 October 2015
Must admit at the start of this, that I’m coming into this series pretty late because this is the sixth book in the series but I often think with series books in a crime genre you should be able to throw yourself right in and to a point I could. Quite easily. The book follows the country music loving detective Tom Thorne who appears to be a little side-lined by his colleagues (I’m sure this relates to a book earlier in the series.) However he is moved back into the spotlight when he is chosen to investigate the kidnapping of a former Detective Chief Superintendent’s son Luke. The book continues as the police hunt down Luke and his kidnappers as the plot thickens with more deaths, a racial crime and a romantic love interest to boot.

So for the positives; the book is a well written in terms of the jargon police language and the main character (I’m sure over the previous five books) has been developed into a really strong character profile. I thought it really helped the plot feel grounded and was an interesting persona to read about. Additionally the supporting main characters to a point were well written although at times under-developed and they helped to weave the two stories and add a feel to the novel. I thought the writing of the racially motivated murder was intriguing and helped to add a sub-plot. There are a number of red-herrings weaved into both the plots and I thought the use of the Former Detective helped to add some suspense. Throughout I knew there wasn’t something quite right and I thought the sense of unease was handled well.

For me though this book really struggled; it has a really slow pace and being such a hefty number of pages I felt bogged down and need something to really excite me, but it just doesn’t deliver. Many of the secondary characters are under-developed or seem to play very little part and I think in terms of the writing a good two-hundred of so pages could have been wiped and instead the other content should have been whipped into shape.

Additionally, and oddly, the title doesn’t match the book inside. T asked me why it was called Buried and I could only come up with a very tenuous link. The author however, appears to acknowledge this with one of the chapters starting with a line such as ‘It was like being buried.’ Nope – that is not enough to link the book to the blurb. Additionally I thought that the links between the first and second plot was so tenuously linked it was a struggle to see why Billingham has done it at all.


I needed to put this in because I wanted to rage about this to you. Towards the end the police find out who the killer is, they then discuss him without directly mentioning him for a good chapter or two and then when the name was revealed I had no idea who it was. Mainly because he had been spoken to once in the first couple of chapters. No, No, that is NOT okay! Gah *rages.* Additionally, there are so many last names that I had trouble defining who was who and who was female and not; crime novels are so bad for this but here it was overwhelmingly so. I thought the ending was messy too, I’m still not sure how it all connects. Finally, and this is a big one, I didn’t like any of the characters that much so when it all came to a resolution I kind of thought – right that’s over. That’s not the feeling I want to feel so I was quite disappointed.

Overall I was really upset about this and I’m annoyed. For something so long in length I wanted something really powerful and to not get that after 350+ pages I feel cheated. Add to this that to have under-developed characters in something so long is unbelievable. I didn’t enjoy this and I’m not sure you will too.
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on 26 August 2014
Another fabulous read about my favourite all time copper, Tom Thorne. These books are so addictive, I just can not get enough of! Hats off to Billingham for coming up with all these different scenarios' and for making Thorne so human, just like the rest of us and we get see that side of him that is soft, cuddly and vunerable....Mr Billingham certainly has done his research well regarding the subject matter and has maybe added a little of the softer side of himself along the way? Either is very welcome.

This tale is really in 2 parts although seemingly unconnected at first, the more Thorne digs the more he discovers and all is not as it seems. This is also where Thorne feels some spark of interest for another female copper who works the case with him and it's nice to see another side of him that we wouldn't normally see.

Twists and turns a plenty, a completely unpredictable ending and loads of action in between. I love the rapport between Thorne and Hendricks, the one-liners and the laughs...The Sweeny feel to it all..

Thank you Mark for something that will stay with me for quite a while, while I ponder the plot and subplot again and again.

Highly recommended, thank you
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