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From The Dead (Tom Thorne Novels Book 9) by [Billingham, Mark]
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From The Dead (Tom Thorne Novels Book 9) Kindle Edition

4.4 out of 5 stars 176 customer reviews

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Length: 369 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Amazon.co.uk Review

When speaking to book groups, the author Mark Billingham displays the kind of sardonic humour that reflects his background in stand-up comedy. But his highly professional crime novels featuring DI Tom Thorne are quite unlike the humorous crime writing of such authors as Christopher Brookmyre. Books such as the latest Thorne, From the Dead, are odysseys into the darkest reaches of human behaviour. It's interesting that Billingham's books have a reputation for extreme violence, as they actually deal more in the purveying of atmosphere – a real sense of dread is unerringly conveyed to the reader.

A man is burnt to death in a car in Epping Forest, the victim of professional hitmen. The evidence suggest that the dead man’s wife, Donna Langford, hired the killers, and she is found guilty of conspiracy to murder. A decade passes, and just before her release from prison, Donna is sent a photo: it is that of her supposedly murdered spouse. Is he, in fact, dead? And if not, whose was the charred body in the burnt-out Jaguar? Shortly after, DI Tom Thorne is contacted by a woman, Anna Carpenter. Anna is making a living (and hating it) by working for a detective agency that cynically uses her as a ‘pretend prostitute’ to trap men into sexually compromising set-ups in divorce cases. Anna is on the side of the worried Donna Langford, and asks a reluctant Thorne for help. The detective is not to be persuaded – until he realises that the supposedly late Alan Langford is very much alive, and wants payback – in the worst way.

Mark Billingham is (as ever) to be applauded for the sheer readability of his work on From the Dead, but his most impressive achievement is the sure-footed orchestration of tension. He avoids artificially pushing Thorne into uncharactistic behaviour, and trusts that we will accept the familiar character tropes, delivered as effectively as ever. But if there are no surprises in the development of his main protagonist, Billingham’s real achievement here is in the creation of the vulnerable, compromised tyro detective, Anna – she’s a wonderful creation. --Barry Forshaw

Amazon Review

When speaking to book groups, the author Mark Billingham displays the kind of sardonic humour that reflects his background in stand-up comedy. But his highly professional crime novels featuring DI Tom Thorne are quite unlike the humorous crime writing of such authors as Christopher Brookmyre. Books such as the latest Thorne, From the Dead, are odysseys into the darkest reaches of human behaviour. It's interesting that Billingham's books have a reputation for extreme violence, as they actually deal more in the purveying of atmosphere – a real sense of dread is unerringly conveyed to the reader.

A man is burnt to death in a car in Epping Forest, the victim of professional hitmen. The evidence suggest that the dead man’s wife, Donna Langford, hired the killers, and she is found guilty of conspiracy to murder. A decade passes, and just before her release from prison, Donna is sent a photo: it is that of her supposedly murdered spouse. Is he, in fact, dead? And if not, whose was the charred body in the burnt-out Jaguar? Shortly after, DI Tom Thorne is contacted by a woman, Anna Carpenter. Anna is making a living (and hating it) by working for a detective agency that cynically uses her as a ‘pretend prostitute’ to trap men into sexually compromising set-ups in divorce cases. Anna is on the side of the worried Donna Langford, and asks a reluctant Thorne for help. The detective is not to be persuaded – until he realises that the supposedly late Alan Langford is very much alive, and wants payback – in the worst way.

Mark Billingham is (as ever) to be applauded for the sheer readability of his work on From the Dead, but his most impressive achievement is the sure-footed orchestration of tension. He avoids artificially pushing Thorne into uncharactistic behaviour, and trusts that we will accept the familiar character tropes, delivered as effectively as ever. But if there are no surprises in the development of his main protagonist, Billingham’s real achievement here is in the creation of the vulnerable, compromised tyro detective, Anna – she’s a wonderful creation. --Barry Forshaw


Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1073 KB
  • Print Length: 369 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (19 Aug. 2010)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00403MB14
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars 176 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #8,494 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a welcome addition to a consistently excellent series: the others I've listened to in the car on audio cd, this one I was persuaded to buy for the summer holidays, and the longer version is just as fast-paced and engrossing as the abridged audio versions. Perhaps the plot is a little cliched, a gangster believed dead who isn't really, but there is some development of the regular characters, and engaging newcomers in Anna Carpenter and stereotypical Yorkshireman, Andy Boyle, one of whom I hope we hear from again. What is nice about Thorne as a central character is that he is fallible - he admits to being wrong with a couple of first impressions of people, and the resolutions of the two crimes this book is concerned with, while final and relatively satisfying to the reader, are less than conventional and in no way suggest that Thorne's deductive powers are magical and his powers supernatural, as with many fictional detectives: he is just a morally grounded character, trying to do his best, to do what is right, but at the mercy of circumstance and the manipulative cleverness of those he hopes to bring to justice.
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Format: Hardcover
When Donna Langford receives a photograph of her husband Alan, she is understandably shocked as she has just served 10 years in prison for organising his murder. Not having any love for the police she seeks out a private detective and finds Anna Carpenter who is keen and enthusiastic - this is her first real case. But Anna is inexperienced and out of her depth and so she contacts the detective who handled the case ten years ago.

DI Tom Thorne is initially not interested, as he is caught up in the case of a missing girl and the prosecution of the man he is certain murdered her, but eventually with pressure from the top he commences an investigation constantly dogged by Anna.

Whilst the story line - faking ones own death is not new, I found the story engrossing. The characterisation is excellent. Tom Thorne, is not a hero, but a man trying to do a difficult job and maintain a relationship that he is not sure is going anywhere, but he is still hanging in. Anna Carpenter, an engaging character who bored with working in a bank threw it all up for excitement and ended up in a run-down detective agency. It's real it's what happens.

A page turner - yes, I had to sit up and finish it!
-----
Lizzie Hayes
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By O E J TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 29 Nov. 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Somehow, this is the ninth in the DI Tom Thorne series - doesn't time fly. I still think the author has yet to top his first, though (Sleepyhead), for creativity, but for professional style and flair this is a well-rounded and polished effort.

The main story is about a woman released from prison ten years after being found guilty of conspiring to murder her gangster husband, whose body was found in a burnt-out Jaguar. Very soon she starts receiving photographs of him taken recently, showing him to be very much alive and well. At first the 'widow' appoints a flaky and amateurish private investigator to find out what's going on, and to find her missing teenage daughter who had been in foster care during the imprisonment period. It's not long before Thorne gets involved, still smarting from what he and his colleagues perceive as a miscarriage of justice in an unrelated missing teenager investigation and murder trial. The 'undead' gangster appears to be living it large in Spain, so that's where Thorne heads, helped by the Spanish Guardia Civil.

It's a good story and well-told, with interesting sub-strands such as Thorne's relationship with his live-in girlfriend Louise, but it's a little light on tension or suspense. Not much in the way of mystery or thrills either, come to think about it. Deep into the novel, I realised that what few unanswered questions that still prevailed boiled down to these: Who sent the photographs, and why? And that was rather unimportant anyway, and predictable as it turned out. So what this tale depended on, as is often the case with crime fiction series, was the enigmatic draw of its leading character Tom Thorne.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Excellent story as always, seamless. The story is different, the characters you know and love (if you have followed Tom Thorne) are just as enigmatic and lovable. I just love these stories and characters and I will continue to read them for as long as the author, Mark Billingham chooses to write about them.

Thanks for an enjoyable read Karrie.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A truly great crime thriller. Very well written and plotted, Mark Billingham is at the top of his game with this book. The "human" side of Tom Thorne is very much in evidence throughout the book but for me this enhanced the read. There is nothing to criticise here, no wonder the author is so well respected in this genre.
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Format: Hardcover
I like Billingham and his protagonist, Thorne, but this book was a little flatter than usual.

Thorne ends up in Spain on this occasion tracking a fugitive who was presumed dead. There is also a secondary story which closes well with a twist.

As always, there is no difficulty turning the pages here although the usual tension and excitement are missing. Surprisingly, there is very little Thorne does or thinks to blow open the case. I also felt there was far too much filler material as he journeyed through Spain.

I liked travelling with Thorne through the story, but overall the usual bite wasn't there, in my view. That said, I like Billingham's writing style and Thorne's character, so will pick up as new stories are released. 7/10

(P.S. The Kindle version I read had formatting problems - down to 4 or 5 sentences on some pages - but they were not bad enough to spoil the experience).
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