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Scaredy Cat (Tom Thorne Novels) Paperback – 1 Mar 2012

4.3 out of 5 stars 250 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Sphere (1 Mar. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0751548863
  • ISBN-13: 978-0751548860
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 2.8 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (250 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 12,584 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Amazon Review

Mark Billingham's Scaredy Cat is as inventive his previous serial killer novel a Sleepyhead. Detective Inspector Tom Thorne has the job of watching out for patterns and thinks he spots one--two similar killings on the same day; women followed from a mainline station and then strangled. Rapidly, though, it becomes clear that the methods differed in all sorts of ways--one killing was controlled, the other frenzied--and the timings do not work out. On a hunch, Thorne checks for other such pairings and finds them--this time two killers are working as a team, one setting the other challenges.

We know what Thorne does not, that all of this has to do with things that happened at school years ago; we also know a lot more than Thorne about the demons that drive some of his own investigating team. Billingham sets himself some complicated technical challenges here--flashes back and forwards, and closeups of killers' minds that keep crucial information from us--and some of the complications don't quite work. Overall, though, this is a terrifying exploration of brutal madness, made all the more so by touches of compassion for the killer's victims--the killer may think this a game, but we and Thorne know it is not.--Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

Murder and mystery do not come better than this What's on in London Brisk, racy read The Times Assured and shocking thriller The Guardian A cunning variation on the serial-murder theme Sunday Telegraph

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I have read a number of the Tom Thorne novels and Scaredy Cat definitely wins my vote as the best so far, within an excellent series. I think what makes this book stand out is that there are so many strands / sub plots that interweave throughout, continually intriguing as to how they will all connect in an ever-building and tense finale. The story centres on 2 serial killers who work as a team, with the use of flashback to their childhoods to explain a sinister relationship. As the pair kill randomly and in cold blood, the most chilling factors are that one has such a menacing influence over the other, and that they both seem to be leading normal lives with respectable jobs. Thorne is on their tail; greatly affected by the fact that one young boy has been left an orphan after his mother became a victim. As usual Thorne makes a lot of mistakes on the way to solving the case, distracted by solving another case involving a serial killer stalking hotel residents, the deteriorating mental health of his father and by constant run-ins with his superiors. It would also appear that some within his team have unexpected vices and relationships. The plot maintains a great level of suspense right to the very end, with a powerful and shocking conclusion.
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Format: Paperback
Great precis on the back cover and this book was in my hand ready to be bought. Then, slight hesitancy; written by a stand up comedian ! Still, can't pigeon-hole the guy, so paid up and read it in a day.
This book was completely engrossing from start to finish. DC Tom Thorne and his team battling to catch not one serial killer, but two working as a team; albeit one of them unwillingly. A screenwriter would have little to do to translate this novel on to small or big screen as the style of writing lends itself seemlessly to a HSBC sponsored drama on ITV.
The story is told through frequent use of flashbacks, which are an extremely effective way of keeping the story fast-paced and on track whilst at the same time developing the characters of the killers.
Oh, and like me if you think you've pieced the puzzle together and with a blinding flash of light you've figured out who "he" is, then you'll be equally shocked with the twist in the tale.
Mark Billingham is a fresh talent to the very popular, and some would say saturated genre of murder, mystery. He immerses the reader from page one and does not let go.
One word of advice. Don't go walking alone for a few days after reading this one, as in your mind's eye you never quite know who's watching.
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Format: Paperback
I read a lot of crime fiction and there is a lot of crime fiction out there to be read. Perhaps it is more due to that, than any fault of the author's then, but I personally found this book to be fairly average.
Its plot follows the kind of formula known well to crime fiction readers - the fiendishly clever serial killer (this time there are two working together) pitted against the essentially good but flawed law enforcement officer determined to solve the case, and of course the twist at the end when you discover who the killer is.
The book is well paced and well written but perhaps its biggest failing is the author's failure to create truly interesting and believable characters. Although he does reasonably well with one or two of the main ones, a lot of the supporting cast never really feel like more than names on a page and some of the subplots surrounding them seem very cliched. Even at the end when I discovered the perpetrator of the crimes I was thinking more 'oh, of course' that 'wow, I would have never guessed'.
The book's cover contains a number of quotes praising the book (and isn't every crime thriller these days 'shocking', 'gripping', 'tense' etc etc) one of which likens the author to Ian Rankin and Val McDermid. In my opinion both those authors are vastly superior and far more masterful at creating engaging characters and original plotlines. I would recommend purchasing any title from either author or more particularly 'Along came a Spider' by James Patterson for a more thrilling and satisfying read.
I would not be surprised to see this book appear as a film or, more likely, a made for TV drama some time in the future. Like the book I am sure a lot of viewers will find it enjoyable but ultimately forgettable
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By A Customer on 14 Sept. 2004
Format: Paperback
I was given both Scaredy Cat and Lazy Bones by my sister to read on holidays. With only three days to my holiday I decided to read the first chapter or two of Scaredy Cat. The result: I've only one book left for my holidays!
Starting off with the first murder and the constant flashbacks in the first section, you get a real feel for the characters, yet at the same time you don't know quite enough about him, so you keep reading. He's cool, always one step ahead of DI Thorne and his team and a master of manipulation.
I also liked the way Billingham sets the seed of doubt in your head as to who the killer may be. I was convinced it would be one of two people but was totally off the mark. I read in some of the reviews that the reader spotted it a mile off. Well, well done to them, I was way of the mark.
Towards the end, there are a couple of major surprises (the identity of the killer being one).
I cant wait to get cracking into Lazy Bones.
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