Cry Baby by Mark Billingham – Review.

About The Book

It’s 1996. Detective Sergeant Tom Thorne is a haunted man. Haunted by the moment he ignored his instinct about a suspect, by the horrific crime that followed and by the memories that come day and night, in sunshine and shadow.

So when seven-year-old Kieron Coyne goes missing while playing in the woods with his best friend, Thorne vows he will not make the same mistake again. Cannot.

The solitary witness. The strange neighbour. The friendly teacher. All are in Thorne’s sights. 

This case will be the making of him . . . or the breaking.

The gripping prequel to Mark Billingham’s acclaimed debut, Sleepyhead, Cry Baby is the shocking first case for one of British crime fiction’s most iconic detectives.

My Review

With thanks to the to the publisher for the copy received via Pigeonhole. This year marks the twentieth anniversary of Mark Billingham’s excellent Thorne series. It is one of a few that I have fallen behind on over the years but after reading Cry Baby, a prequel, that shows Thorne as a DC it was the nudge in the ribs I needed to make a determined effort to catch up. 

The thing about prequels is that it is a marvellous way of finding new readers. Obviously there are no spoilers, so you don’t have the worry about reading out of sequence. And for the readers who are familiar with the series you get to see friendships develop. Happily, for me, the friendship here was between Thorne and Hendricks. Hendricks has always been my favourite character in the books I have read and I loved that this was a friendship that didn’t start in the best way. 

The case itself was full of intrigue. I have to admit I got so hooked on one part of the investigation I forgot about an other. So when the culprit was revealed I was a little flummoxed. But not for long, and this just added to the more sinister side to the storyline.

The last chapter was one that will stay with me for a while. What happens there is something I’ve never really thought about before and it shows that sometimes a happy outcome is never guaranteed. 

First Monday Crime with Mark Billingham.

On Monday Mark Billingham will be taking part in one of the two panels at the December First Monday – Christmas Special that is being held in Browns – The Judges Court. The event is sold out but you can read all about it here
It looks fantastic, it would be great to be able to go one of these events one day.

About the Author

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Mark Billingham is one of the UK’s most acclaimed and popular crime writers. A former actor, television writer and stand-up comedian, his series of novels featuring D.I. Tom Thorne has twice won him the Crime Novel Of The Year Award as well as the Sherlock Award for Best British Detective and been nominated for seven CWA Daggers. His standalone thriller IN THE DARK was chosen as one of the twelve best books of the year by the Times and his debut novel, SLEEPYHEAD was chosen by the Sunday Times as one of the 100 books that had shaped the decade. Each of his novels has been a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller.

A television series based on the Thorne novels was screened in Autumn 2010, starring David Morrissey as Tom Thorne and series based on the standalone thrillers IN THE DARK and RUSH OF BLOOD are currently in development with the BBC.

About the Book

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Every Monday evening, six people gather in a smart North London house to talk about addiction. There they share their deepest secrets: stories of lies, regret, and above all, shame.

Then one of them is killed – and it’s clear one of the circle was responsible.

Detective Inspector Nicola Tanner quickly finds her investigation hampered by the strict confidentiality that binds these people and their therapist together. So what could be shameful enough to cost someone their life?

My Review:

It’s a while since I read a Mark Billingham novel and Die of Shame was a welcome reminder of how good they are and a slap on the wrist for falling behind. It’s a stand-alone novel that concentrates on a group of people who all suffer from an addiction. Most of the novel focuses on the group instead of the detectives who are investigating the case.
All of the group had different addictions and there were times when I had sympathy for all of them but this feeling diminished the further I read, when I knew them better. There was one exception though. I’m not saying who they were, you will have to make up your own mind.
The surprises started straight away. The identity of the victim isn’t revealed immediately and it wasn’t who I expected it to be. You are given no clue why the individual was killed and I couldn’t work out who had killed them. Each chapter focused on a different person, their problems and the relationship that they had with each other and the victim. Every time I finished a chapter there was something to convince me that they were the murderer.
At first I was a little unsure about the ending but a couple of days after finishing it I decided it worked and I liked it a lot. It’s a great novel, one that somebody new to his work would enjoy, but I can certainly recommend his previous novels. I now need to work out which of the Inspector Thorne books I’ve not read.

With thanks to the publisher for a copy received.

Die of Shame by Mark Billingham.

 

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Every Monday evening, six people gather in a smart North London house to talk about addiction. There they share their deepest secrets: stories of lies, regret, and above all, shame.

Then one of them is killed – and it’s clear one of the circle was responsible.

Detective Inspector Nicola Tanner quickly finds her investigation hampered by the strict confidentiality that binds these people and their therapist together. So what could be shameful enough to cost someone their life?
My Review:
It’s a while since I read a Mark Billingham novel and Die of Shame was a welcome reminder of how good they are and a slap on the wrist for falling behind. It’s a stand-alone novel that concentrates on a group of people who all suffer from an addiction. Most of the novel focuses on the group instead of the detectives who are investigating the case.
All of the group had different addictions and there were times when I had sympathy for all of them but this feeling diminished the further I read, when I knew them better. There was one exception though. I’m not saying who they were, you will have to make up your own mind.
The surprises started straight away. The identity of the victim isn’t revealed immediately and it wasn’t who I expected it to be. You are given no clue why the individual was killed and I couldn’t work out who had killed them. Each chapter focused on a different person, their problems and the relationship that they had with each other and the victim. Every time I finished a chapter there was something to convince me that they were the murderer.
At first I was a little unsure about the ending but a couple of days after finishing it I decided it worked and I liked it a lot. It’s a great novel, one that somebody new to his work would enjoy, but I can certainly recommend his previous novels. I now need to work out which of the Inspector Thorne books I’ve not read.