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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood Line - Mark Billingham
I have been counting down the days to the release of the next Tom Thorne novel. In Blood Line, Thorne is searching for a killer linked to a previous case - that of serial killer Raymond Garvey who murdered 7 women 15 years ago.

I think this is a 5-star read:

* Characterisation - If you have read all of the Thorne novels you will have shared his...
Published on 9 Aug 2009 by S. Lloyd

versus
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Page turner but becoming too familiar
Billingham's Tom Thorne books continue to impress. They are fast-paced, quick reads that skilfully combine realistic characters, gruesome crime scenes and a sense of down to earth story telling that is often lacking from the more whimsical detective fiction. Now that he's not trying quite so hard, and letting the characters have a sense of space, the books work all the...
Published on 10 Jun 2010 by Jl Adcock


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56 of 59 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blood Line - Mark Billingham, 9 Aug 2009
By 
S. Lloyd (Norfolk, England) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (REAL NAME)   
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This review is from: Blood Line (Hardcover)
I have been counting down the days to the release of the next Tom Thorne novel. In Blood Line, Thorne is searching for a killer linked to a previous case - that of serial killer Raymond Garvey who murdered 7 women 15 years ago.

I think this is a 5-star read:

* Characterisation - If you have read all of the Thorne novels you will have shared his professional and personal ups and downs. Now we see a more sensitive side to him, particularly given through his inner most thoughts when on the train or listening to a CD.

Alongside Thorne are the credible and rich characters of Phil Hendricks, Louise Taylor and Carol Chamberlain - all of whom bring out a different dimension to Thorne's personality.

*Dialogue -- This is so natural. The humour makes you smile and in general is not linked to the crimes themselves. It reminded me a little of RD Wingfield in the respect of the realism put across through dialogue.

* The strength of the plot. You may work out some clues as you go along but this will not detract from the plot or spoil the twists.

* The pace - There are times when the pace slows down to match when the investigation is not moving as fast as Thorne would like. Then in the last few chapters I found that I was racing through them to keep up with Thorne's necessity for speed.

* The writing is quality. I thought the opening chapter and how this links in later gave great impact and the plot's realism enhanced by giving us different first-hand perspectives from various characters.

I only had one slight criticism and that is the murderer's motive did not seem to come strongly across to me as in previous Billingham novels. Overall this is well-written and visual - when's the TV series coming out?
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bloodline hits its Mark, 25 Sep 2010
This review is from: Blood Line (Hardcover)
Once again, Billingham has served up an excellently plotted and finely crafted crime thriller.
The ongoing "subplot" with Debbie and Jason added an extra depth to the ongoing storyline, but also didn't patronise Jason as an intellectually-challenged child. Debbie's fragility and determination, and total involvement with her son drew a totally convincing (minor) character for us.

Tom Thorne is -- as always -- painted with very deft strokes. Billingham manages to portray him as a man not without personal doubts and insecurities, but at the same time, avoids the cliché of the "troubled hero".

The action is well paced, and the suspense is also fine-tuned such that we almost have our "ah ha" moments simultaneously with Thorne. Whilst hinted at, none of the plot devices is really telegraphed ahead too obviously.

All in all, a thoroughly well-recommended book.
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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Thorne in the side of the competition, 22 Aug 2009
By 
Phil Robertshaw (North Somerset) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
DI Tom Thorne is becoming one of the great characters in modern detective fiction. Over the course of the series that began with Sleepyhead, we've watched him evolve through various personal challenges, never losing his slightly world-weary, cynical approach to his life and career.

In Bloodline, Thorne is on the trail of a killer who is targeting the children of the victims of serial killer Raymond Garvey several years earlier. Garvey is now serving a sentence for his crimes but someone seems to be following in his footsteps. It's this intriguing premise which forms the core of the plot. Thorne is aided and abetted by a now familiar cast of colleagues: Brigstocke, Kitson, Holland, Hendricks and semi-retired Carol Chamberlain.

What makes this series so good is that the characters feel so much more real than in many regular police procedurals. The dialogue is realistic and the characters don't speak in cliches. Medical examiner Hendricks, Thorne's closest friend, is a perfect example, always adding a good deal of humour. Billingham's skills as a stand-up comedian lend themselves to his writing and balance the darker moments of his work. And perhaps because the characters do seem so much like real people, as a reader it's easy to grow to care for them.

Bloodline is another fine story with enough suspects, twists and turns to keep the reader guessing until the very end. Whether read as a starting point to the series or in sequence with the rest, it's another highly enjoyable tale which should satisfy any lover of British crime fiction. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it today!, 23 Jun 2010
My first Mark Billingham novel and I loved it. Full of suspense, well written, gripping plot. I'm definately going to order more of his books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Billingham never disappoints, 17 July 2011
By 
E. Crowley (QUINCY, MA USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
"He remembered some movie where the cop would stand in the houses where people had been murdered and commune with the killer....For Thorne, it just came down to wanting to know something about the victim...Something simple and stupid would usually do it. A picture on a bedroom wall. The biscuits they kept in the kitchen cupboard or the book that they would never finish reading...As for what went on in the mind of the killer, Thorne was happy knowing just enough to catch him and no more."

Emily Watson has been brutally murdered. There is no sign of forced entry so the obvious conclusion is that Emily knew her killer. As expected, the first suspect is her husband, but when a time of death is narrowed, George Watson has a perfect alibi. A teacher at a nearby school, George comes home for lunch everyday, stays an hour, and returns home for the day in mid-afternoon, except on Wednesday when he supervises a chess club. Emily is killed on a Wednesday; the killer has taken the time to know the Watsons' schedule. Clutched in the palm of her hand, is a piece of film cut from an xray. When other bodies are discovered, killed in the same way, another piece of the xray folded into the palm, the police, and the public, realize there is a serial killer at large. As the identities of the victims, male and female, are revealed, the murders take on an even more bizarre element. Each victim is the child of a woman murdered by Raymond Garvey over fifteen years ago. Garvey has died in prison but there are no shortage of books written about the murders. Someone is using the information about the Garvey killings as a script for these new murders.

Garvey killed seven women. Thorne and his team have to find the copycat killer but they also have to find the other potential victims before the killer does.

I have enjoyed all the books in the Tom Thorne series and I look forward to more. If a formula works for an author and for the reader, it doesn't seem that there is anything wrong with the author using a template that pleases most who will read the book. It isn't possible for everyone to be pleased all the time so every time an author launches a book, it is as if the author is taking a high dive into a pool with circling sharks. When I discover an author who is new to me, if there is a series, I start at the beginning. I don't read the books in the series, one immediately after another. It keeps the series fresher for the reader; if there are flaws from one book to another, they aren't glaring.

Mark Billingham is an exceptional writer; each of the books in the Thorne series offers new puzzles and new insights into the characters. After reading BLOODLINE, I looked at reviews of the book posted on Amazon UK. More than a few critiques were aimed at Mr. Billingham's series, carping about "formula" and "predictability" rather than discussing this one book. The Tom Thorne series is one of the best available and the books are satisfying from beginning to end. Billingham has devised plots in various books that include inducing locked-in syndrome, serial killers working in tandem, street people and Gulf Was veterans being killed seemingly without motive, and guilty people being convicted for crimes they didn't commit while escaping justice for the ones they did. I look forward to more about Thorne and the interesting characters, Holland, Hendricks, Louise, and others who people the stories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Billingham, 2 April 2010
Having read all Mark Billingham's books I was really looking forward to reading this one and it didn't disappoint. A gripping storyline with the usual twists in it that I've come to expect from Mark Billingham.

Thoroughly recommend it to anyone who enjoys a thriller with twists and turns and a classic set of characters. Can't wait for the next Thorne book now.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Father and Son, 30 Oct 2009
By 
Ted Feit (Long Beach, NY USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blood Line (Hardcover)
Tom Thorne is a troubled protagonist. More so than customary in this novel, the latest in the Thorne series, an unusual story about a serial killer, as well as in his personal life. It begins with Tom and his partner learning that the latter's pregnancy is not viable and that she needs a D&C. Tom does not quite how to react to or address the situation.

However, a grisly murder soon comes to light, diverting him to another tough case. The victim is found with a piece of an x-ray in her hand, as well as some letters which eventually provide a clue. It quickly is learned that her mother was murdered 15 years before by an infamous serial killer who had murdered six others.

More bodies are found with pieces of x-rays in their fists, and it becomes apparent that the killer is targeting children of the original victims. Now the problem becomes not only catching the present-day murderer, but protecting the remaining potential victims. This novel encompasses what is perhaps Thorne's most complicated case.

The author's ability to provide graphic detail in simple but pungent prose is clear and compelling. The writing is smooth and the plot superb; the characterizations are poignant, and the insights into Thorne's personality incisive. Highly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another gripping Thorne novel, 7 Sep 2009
By 
Clarrie (Leicestershire) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Blood Line (Hardcover)
This is a must for all Mark Billingham fans - yet again I couldn't put this one down and read it in a couple of days. A tense, gripping thriller featuring the usual suspects Thorne, Hendricks et al. Buy it and enjoy!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Page turner but becoming too familiar, 10 Jun 2010
By 
Jl Adcock "John Adcock" (Ashtead UK) - See all my reviews
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Billingham's Tom Thorne books continue to impress. They are fast-paced, quick reads that skilfully combine realistic characters, gruesome crime scenes and a sense of down to earth story telling that is often lacking from the more whimsical detective fiction. Now that he's not trying quite so hard, and letting the characters have a sense of space, the books work all the better for that.

However, "Blood Line" indicates that the Thorne series needs some new direction, some shake up amongst the main characters, to move the series into another dimension after a handful of novels that have seen the characters and situations become a little formulaic. This one is well-done, and you certainly won't want to be away from reading it for too long, but there was something about it that made me think there's now one eye on a TV series, because the end of the book felt like something you'd get in a dramatisation on screen.

Here's hoping that the Thorne series continues to develop and delight. "Blood Line" is okay, but something of a treading water addition to the series, from a writer who treats his audience with respect - whether it be on the printed page or when he's touring the book circles and library events.
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5.0 out of 5 stars First Tom Thorne novel, 2 April 2014
By 
J. Walton "jeanniew" (Lancs) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Bloodline (Tom Thorne Novels) (Kindle Edition)
Thoroughly taken in with the characters, and story line. Eager to read another so I can get more inside the characters . Admittedly I did guess how the pathway of the story was leading , but this made me so more eager to check if I had got the culprits character true good read .
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