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review 2020-03-18 16:38
Sorry Mr Billingham but......
Their Little Secret (Tom Thorne #16) - Mark Billingham

So here's the rub...one well known crime writer is obliged to produce, not only for his adoring fans but more importantly for his publishers, one novel per year. Meet Sarah, single mum loves the school run and the early morning meet with fellow "mummies" exchanging gossip and good fellowship. But what's a girl to do with all that free time while the little one is attending to his studies? Enter Conrad gullible and loveable....Sarah and Conrad a Brady and Hindley for the 2020's.


Sorry Mr Billingham but the latest outing for Tom Thorne, and his new partner in crime, Nicola Tanner, is frankly laughable.....there is a slight spoiler to follow.....Sarah it would appear is not a mother but is pretending to accompany her imaginary son to school each morning and amazingly no one seems to notice. Entwined with this nonsense are a number of unexplained and seemingly senseless murders and the perpertrators are proving impossible to find. Open your eyes Tom even a second rate plod could solve this riddle. Well the publishers may be happy but I am very disappointed, why bring out a book if it is not a worthy edition to the series. This type of publishing, in my opinion does, little to enhance the reputation of DI Thorne and leaves a sour taste in the mouth of readers who have come to expect much better from the hand of Mr Billingham.

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review 2017-06-21 23:58
Love Like Blood: A Tom Thorne Novel (Tom Thorne Novels) - Mark Billingham

This was a great read with an extra bonus. I had no idea there was such a thing as honour killings. The act of killing a family member in certain religions because they are not "respectful". Such as women who want to wear makeup, go out to bars, etc. That was very enlightening and jaw dropping for me.

The book went at a pretty fast pace and was very enjoyable. I really liked the characters, Tanner and Thorne. Tanner was a very hell bent woman and she was bound and determined to find the killers of her partner. Thorne was a likable character and I would definitely read another book wherein he is the main character.

Thanks to Grove Atlantic and Net Galley for providing me with a free e-galley in exchange for an honest, unbiased review.

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review 2017-05-15 04:13
Love Like Blood: A Tom Thorne Novel (Tom Thorne Novels) - Mark Billingham

Book #14 in the Tom Thorne series gives us a proper twisty police procedural that deals with a delicate issue.


DI Nicola Tanner is convinced her partner’s murder was a case of mistaken identity & she was the real target. Tanner has a theory about some recent honour killings in London. It’s a sensitive subject & she hasn’t exactly endeared herself to members of the religious communities involved.

When she’s put on compassionate leave, some of her colleagues are hoping a little time away will help ease tension between the victim’s families & police.


But Nicola has other plans. She figures her partner was killed because she was getting too close. All she needs is another cop willing to help, someone with a fluid regard for the rules who won’t mind colouring outside the lines if necessary. Someone like….oooh, I don’t know….Tom Thorne, maybe.


They met on a previous case (“Die of Shame”) & although Tom is initially reluctant, Nicola isn’t above playing the sympathy card to get him on board. Besides, there’s a good chance one of his old unsolved homicides is related.


“Nuff said about the main plot line. There are plenty of zigs & zags to keep you guessing, especially when you throw in several characters with questionable loyalties. But what really grips you is the subject matter. People of all religions find the concept of honour killings difficult to understand. Here, we are privy to the domestic situations of young men & women who are caught between parents’ traditional expectations & the freer lifestyle that a big city like London has to offer. The book also looks at the challenges faced by police when they attempt to investigate the crimes. Finding someone from the community willing to break the code of silence is difficult. If they press too hard, they may be accused of cultural insensitivity or racial prejudice. It’s a political hot potato that leaves both sides frustrated & many of the cases end up unsolved (see author’s comments at the end for a sobering dose of reality).


But this is not a sermon about who’s right & who’s wrong. Instead, Billingham personalizes the issue by giving us relatable characters of all stripes who are just trying to live their lives. There are some nice twists along the way & he reserves a couple of whoppers for the final pages. One in particular, I gotta say….man, I did NOT see that coming.


As usual, we get to enjoy Tom trading insults with ME Phil Hendricks over a few pints. I love Phil. If Lisbeth Salander & Quincy had a child (ok, a much younger Quincy) Phil might be the result. More time is given to Tom’s personal life & we get a closer look at his relationship with Helen as well as the challenges faced by 2 cops living under one roof.


It’s an intricately plotted & pacey story that keeps you turning the pages to see how it all shakes out. Picking up one of these books is like running into old friends & I look forward to #15.




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review 2017-03-25 17:47
A welcome return for an old friend
Love Like Blood: A Novel (Tom Thorne) - Mark Billingham

It's a great big welcome back to that Merle Haggard, country lovin' detective, Tom Thorne. In one particular chapter there is a great and memorable moment when D I Tom Thorne is driving down the road singing at the top of his voice..."The late great Merle Haggard provided the accompaniment on the drive to a retail park in Wembley and Thorne sang along to Silver Wings with rather more gusto than he managed in the school hall the day before....." After the rather poor "Die of Shame" where we were first introduced to DI Nicola Tanner, and Thorne had a very minor cameo role in the final chapter, (the only good part of that book) it's a day of rejoicing to have TT back to his investigating best...we forgive him that he enjoys the company of country music and reluctantly accepts the approach of middle age...here he is back doing what he does best solving crime and crime does not come more topical that Mark Billingham's  Love like Blood.


DI Nicola Tanner has been investigating a series of what appear to be honour killings when her partner Susan is murdered. Turning to her good friend Tom Thorne she persuades him to help her uncover the truth behind the killings within the Muslim community, contracted out to hired assassins. Reading this book it is a pleasure to catch up on the old familiar faces especially the heavily tattooed  Phil Hendricks, police pathologist,  who is arguably Thorne's only real friend and together they enjoy good beer and watching football. He is in a relationship with social worker Helen and her young son Alfie but I can't help feeling that there is little future between them. The sex they share is passable...."Neither of them, had they been inclined to talk honestly about it, would have claimed it was the best sex they ever had.." and Helen still misses Paul, her previous partner, who was tragically killed and in one poignant moment she reveals her true feelings towards Thorne....."I'm happy really. You need to know that. But I want to be honest with you, and if I could go back and stop him being killed, I would. I'd do anything to have Paul alive again"....


So for fans of Mark Billingham, "Love Like Blood" will not disappoint, it's like putting on a well worn pair of comfy shoes! The subject matter is very well chosen and of the moment, the police investigation of the finest, the characterization and familiarity of the "cast" most welcome, and the perpetrators Muldoon and Riaz evil and well suited to the task of hired assassins. I only hope that when we next encounter DI Thorne that he has resolved his differences with the lovely Helen, but sadly I fear this relationship is doomed! Many thanks to the publishers Little Brown for supply me with a gratis copy in return for an honest review and that is what I have written.

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review 2016-05-29 20:44
Die of Shame.
Die of Shame - Mark Billingham

I’m a bit of a closet fan of Mark Billingham (sometimes I’m shrieky other times I just quietly get on with reading everything an author has ever written) but I think I might get *slightly* shrieky over “Die of Shame” because it was bloody brilliant.


Mainly for me it worked because of the layered characters, all with a common thread but all so very very different, the interaction and relationship the group developed I found endlessly fascinating – the main premise of the plot dealing with addiction, a subject I am not unfamiliar with, was done in such an authentic fashion at times I forgot I was reading a crime novel – then ooh look big fat juicy murder. The mish mash of personal drama and dastardly deeds made this a bang on perfect read for me.


The investigative strand, the other side of the coin if you like, was also horrifically addictive (yes you see what I did there?) as the police mostly in the form of the highly intriguing Nicola Tanner attempt to drag secrets out of those who are secretive by nature.  A natural part of the recovery process and one again that was done with a healthy dose of reality whilst still making it extremely entertaining. I was fond of Nicola – sharp around the edges, determined and refreshingly confident in her professional abilities – even though her home life is causing her somewhat of a challenge.


What else can I say? The point is its a blinking good read, plotted to perfection, entirely absorbing from the very first paragraph and as for the ending just really. Honestly. Clever. I sat there and went huh? Aaaah. Hmm. Interesting…..


Really good. Really VERY good. Mark Billingham is at the top of his game right now and lets face it he was hardly a lightweight to begin with.


Highly Recommended.

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