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on 2 May 2017
Glad it wasn't just me who gave up on this. I found his sentence construction and punctuation really bad, I had to keep re reading sentences. It also skipped around too much so you weren't sure who was speaking. Too many names that were similar, Alison, Anne etc etc and he jumped from
Surnames to first names and back again so I lost track of who was who. I have read his latest one 'Die of Shame' which I really enjoyed so maybe he just got better with each book.
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on 28 January 2016
This review was first published at M's Bookshelf - (...)

I had never read any of Mark Billingham's books before, but when his name came up as a suggested read on the cover of one of my favourite books, I decided it was time to change that. I picked up the first book in the Tom Thorne series 'et voilà'.
Tom Thorne is not an easy character to like, or to warm up to. He's tortured by things that happened in his past but incredibly motivated to solve this murder case in the present. Only that motivation turns into obsession. Along with Tom Thorne, you think you got it all figured out. And you're waiting for that one misstep that will get this monster arrested. But this killer is playing a game.
Mark Billingham alternates between Tom Thorne's perspective, that of the killer and even that of one of his victims. Hearing Alison's thoughts is incredibly. It's a very unique reading experience and she actually brings a humorous aspect to the story - how unbelievable that may seem. She's a star! Being able to "look inside the killer's head" makes him an even more disturbing villain, one who will haunt you even after you've closed the book.
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on 1 November 2015
Really enjoyed this. I was offered it as a free download on a Kindle deal when I bought mine and I remembered my Mum raving about it, so I picked it. I was not disappointed. The book has aged a little (which is inevitable), but there's a GREAT twist at the end that Billingham seeds and pays off expertly. I can see why SLEEPYHEAD is acclaimed as a police story that "shaped a decade". What's particularly striking is the characters, who are well rounded and authentic, even Alison who has locked in syndrome (who by the way is funny as well, instead of the usual, dull tragic representations of victims of crime, I loved her ending and applauded her and Anne!). I didn't realise it was published back in the early 00s, so at first I wondered where all the references to social media were and why the author was referencing long defunct shows like BROOKSIDE, but otherwise this didn't affect the story at all - which shows what a talented writer Billingham is. I'm not usually big on male protags OR police procedural-type stories (I often prefer "ordinary woman gets sucked into a crime/mystery"), yet Billingham really pulled me into the world of Tom Thorne and I will definitely be reading more in this series.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 11 July 2014
: I have thoroughly enjoyed the Thorne series up until now, however I have to be honest and say that I struggled a little bit with this latest book (the 4th in the series). The writing itself is still great although in this particular book I found it more difficult to get into the story. When corpses appear with an X marked into their skin, Thorne is as usual tied up with the case. Enter the organized crime Boss Billy Ryan and the stage is set. However, for some reason the booked lacked the spark that previous books have had.
Recurring characters such as Chamberlain and Tughan appeared but I just felt like they didn’t go anywhere. I’m actually struggling to review this book as although it was far from terrible, it almost felt like it was written in a hurry or without any real spark, which is certainly a world away from the usual Billingham style. The chapters flowed relatively well but the overall feeling was that it was failing to spark any real interest, beyond completing another stage of the Thorne books.
I’m still certainly a fan of Chamberlain and hope we continue to see her in future books. However, I was disappointed with the lack of characters featured such as Holland and Hendricks. It may sound like I am being really picky and I promise you I’m not. I’m sadly failing to be all that articulate either, but I think you get the gist.
Overall, it seems like this book was solidly written but lacked its usual oomph. Having said that I will eagerly move on to book 5 as soon as my ridiculously long reading list
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on 20 August 2015
I loved the concept of this book, which revolves around a young woman who has been deliberately put into a permanent state of locked-in syndrome by her attacker, who continues to attempt to replicate this procedure, but ends up killing all his other victims instead.

However, I found the story poorly executed. I didn't empathise with any of the characters and really didn't care what happened to any of them, with the exception of Alison. The lead detective, Tom Thorne, I found extremely unlikeable. I persevered to the end, because I hate to walk away from a half-read book, but even the ending I found entirely unsatisfying.

This was my first foray into the books of Mark Billingham, and I find myself uninterested about making a return visit.
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on 12 February 2015
This book has an interesting premise - a 'killer' who only kills as a byproduct for his real motivation. I liked the north London locations also, as I'm familiar with them. However, I felt it was all a bit overcooked, laboured and with a few too many cliches. There was far too much of the 'detective with the haunted past'. I felt the 'red herring' in the plot was a little too obvious as well. If it was trimmed down a bit and had less of the flawed anti-hero stuff I would have preferred it.

Nitpick: Thorne is said to be about 5'6" or 5'7" tall. However, he is supposed to have joined the force in the early 1980s - at that time this would have been below the minimum height requirement. Maybe he wears platform shoes!
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This is the fourth novel featuring Tom Thorne and follows Sleepyhead, Scaredy Cat and Lazybones. Carol Chamberlain, who we met in the previous book, has been brought back from retirement to work on cold cases. However, she is haunted by a case she supposedly solved years before - that of Gordon Rooker, currently in prison for setting fire to a young girl in a school playground. So why, if the criminal has been caught and convicted so long ago, has been receiving phone calls about the crime? Chamberlain turns to Thorne for help.

Rooker says that a gangster, Billy Ryan, put out a contract on the daughter of a rival - but that he burnt the wrong girl by mistake. Now he says that he is innocent of the crime and asks for protection. Meanwhile, Billy Ryan is still on the streets, running his many rackets. The story of the burning girl and the repercussions of that crime intersect with Thorne's investigation into protection rackets, gangs and human trafficking, in a good addition to the series. Mark Billingham portrays the area he writes about very well and Thorne is a well rounded character; tired, almost defeated, sometimes making bad judgements, but always trying to keep his integrity intact.
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on 9 June 2015
This is a really good enjoyable crime thriller that has some good twists and turns although nothing particularly unique or stand out (this is not necessarily a bad thing mind). Tom Thorne is the lead detective on a murder investigation that throws up plenty of questions about the killer's real motives, especially when one of his victims survives but is trapped inside her own body. The case also gives Thorne plenty of flashbacks to a case long past that has haunted him in the intervening years. Of course there is the usual love interest thrown up by the case which clouds judgements and offers plenty of scope for conflict and debate. While this doesn't really offer anything new to the genre it is a good enjoyable read and I think I'll be looking out for more from this author in future. A nice break from those more taxing reads.
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on 18 June 2015
This novel was written from many points of view so it is not always clear who is speaking especially as each scene is mostly very short. The two main suspects have the same initial to their first name and this leads to confusion (which may have been deliberate.). There are some plot weakness e.g. Thorne forgets his phone at just the wrong time; at the denouement I cannot understand why he is unable to tackle the protagonist; the doctor would know that the manufacturer in the car was the wrong man because she would know he had changed his car and in any case she would recognise him; why is there a scene on the underground where a detective sexually molests a girl. Why is this here? And the issue with the Calvert family? This doesn't appear to serve a purpose. I liked the ideas behind the plot and I enjoyed reading this book but I don't think I will read another by Mark Billingham.
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on 18 November 2015
This book was very scary indeed!,without giving too much of the plot away ,the detail of what was being done to the victims was quite horrific and really played on the imagination! A very good book which really kept me interested and wanting to read more.I have just brought this authors other novels but I now need a bit of light reading so I having a read of 'chick-lit 'at the moment before I start the next episode, as I don't want to scare myself too much! Highly recommended ,well written and crafted book.
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