61 of 71 people found the following review helpful
Come Die With Me,
This review is from: Rush of Blood (Paperback)
Are you allowed to keep saying that an author's latest book is his best yet? Every time? Well, it's true in the case of Mark Billingham. Since he's spread out beyond the Tom Thorne series, his writing seems to continually get better and better. Rush of Blood is another standalone that refers to DI Thorne only in passing and as a matter of form (for those wondering what might have happened to him after his actions at the end of Good as Dead), the author instead delving into new directions on a case that relates to the kidnapping of a child in Florida. Even more impressive is Billingham's take on the whodunit crime sub-genre, delivering a book that meets every requirement for an unputdownable page-turning thriller, while at the same time providing the author with a new angle from which he can approach certain familiar themes.
The disappearance of a young child from a holiday resort will have a recognisable familiarity and topicality, but Billingham ties it brilliantly into a tradition that is just as well-recognised which allows him to play to his real strengths of delving into those particularly British attitudes and behaviours in relation to crime. Three British couples, at the Florida holiday resort at the time of the disappearance, actually follow up those promises to meet up again and take it in turns to invite each other over for dinner when they get back home. Obviously they have the case to discuss in common, but just as predictably the differences between them lead to tensions over the course of the meetings, particularly when a trainee detective constable conducts some follow-up interviews with them for the Florida police investigation.
With simple direct writing, Billingham lays bare these individuals and couples brilliantly and insightfully, with a keen eye for character, and with witty, disturbing and revealing exchanges of dialogue between them. It's more than just character development however and more than just using the cringing banality of dinner parties to heighten the tensions between these people, any one of which could potentially be involved in the crime (or not) - even though on those fronts alone this is wonderfully thrilling and entertaining writing. Through it however Billingham is also able to explore the dynamic between different sections of the British working middle classes, between men and women, and the need they feel to play or be defined by certain roles in society. He's particularly brilliant at showing what brings out the worst in people, and how closely that is related to criminal behaviour. It's scary how ordinary and recognisable these characters are, yet how easily those flaws and foibles within their nature and in what defines them can potentially lead to the most dangerous and damaging actions against others.
Billingham has always been good at that, but he's particularly brilliant here in Rush of Blood. He does perhaps play to the conventions of the genre and feel the need to be a little more clever than necessary with the conclusion, but in doing so without invalidating the character development and the meticulously laid-out crime procedural elements that make this a terrific and insightful read, he demonstrates just how good a writer he has become. This is British crime writing at its very best.
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Showing 1-10 of 13 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 26 Jul 2012 09:16:26 BDT
just wondering how you managed to read the book and comment on its quality before it is released to the public? please let us know your secret!!!!! as we would all love to get our hands on his books asap if not sooner. lol
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jul 2012 10:14:15 BDT
B. Mulvanerty says:
I was just thinking the same thing. How'd that happen?
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jul 2012 12:20:43 BDT
It's not uncommon for uncorrected proofs to be sent out in advance by the publisher, and I was lucky enough to be able to get my hands on a copy.
It's not as much fun as you think, because although you get to read it early, you don't really get an opportunity to share your enthusiasm when a book is as good as this until close to the publication date, and you still have to wait to see if everyone else likes the book as much as you did. Personally, I can't wait to read what other fans of Billingham think of this new one.
In reply to an earlier post on 26 Jul 2012 12:59:58 BDT
any chance of passing on my name and address so i might be able to read some books before they come out, read about 3 new books a month, sometimes more. xx
Posted on 26 Jul 2012 23:33:00 BDT
Last edited by the author on 26 Jul 2012 23:33:13 BDT
R. Valeria says:
Could you please tell us what Thorne is doing in his cameo appearance? I will be reading Rush of Blood but I live in the US and don't know when I will get it. Moreover, I just read all the Thorne novels over the last month (just discovered them) and am really wondering what the punishment was after Good as Dead. Thanks!
In reply to an earlier post on 27 Jul 2012 10:12:13 BDT
Thorne is now working for the Florida police and is heading up the investigation Stateside
No, there's no way can I reveal anything about Thorne here - that would definitely be a spoiler.
Andy - sorry, but publishers are a bit strict on what you do with proofs. You really can't pass them around.
Posted on 28 Jul 2012 19:26:15 BDT
This was a really interesting and constructive review Keris but as a fan of Mark Billingham I had a very different reading experience to you with the proof of this! Will post my review soon so we can compare notes :)
Posted on 1 Aug 2012 19:31:04 BDT
J. E. Pitt says:
The person who made this review works for the publisher - it's as simple as that. They all do it.
In reply to an earlier post on 1 Aug 2012 19:52:18 BDT
Yeah, sure. And I see you work for a T-shirt company since that's the only thing that's inspired you to write a review on Amazon.
I don't work for the publisher. If I did, they'd be wondering why I spend most of my time on Amazon reviewing opera Blu-rays. A simple click to my reviews could have confirmed that.
There's always one, isn't there?