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Lazybones (Tom Thorne Series #3)

Lazybones (Tom Thorne Series #3)

4.7 9
by Mark Billingham

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The first corpse was found hooded, bound, and naked, kneeling ona bare mattress in a seedy hotel room. This was no ordinary murder but rather the work of a killer driven by something special, somethingspectacular. The fact that the dead man was a convicted rapist recently released from prison only increases the bizarre nature of the gruesome crime ... and the


The first corpse was found hooded, bound, and naked, kneeling ona bare mattress in a seedy hotel room. This was no ordinary murder but rather the work of a killer driven by something special, somethingspectacular. The fact that the dead man was a convicted rapist recently released from prison only increases the bizarre nature of the gruesome crime ... and the police's reluctance to apprehend the perpetrator. It's the body count that troubles Detective Inspector Tom Thorne, as brutal slaying follows brutal slaying, each victim more deserving than the last. Though he has no sympathy for the dead, Thorne knows he must put an end to a cruelly calculating vigilante's bloody justice before time runs out -- and a horrifically efficient serial killer targets a life worth fighting for.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Fans of public television's various BBC Mystery programs would do well to tune into this third in Billingham's series (Scaredy Cat; Sleepyhead) featuring Detective Inspector Tom Thorne and his fellow officers of the London Metropolitan Police Service. After the body of a strangled and sexually violated male is found in a seedy hotel room, Thorne quickly learns that the victim was a convicted rapist. When a second recently released rapist is discovered in the same condition, Thorne believes he has a serial revenge killer on his hands. While some of his fellow policemen feel that the victims deserved their fate, Thorne's commitment to justice remains unfailing. Another murder follows, this time of a pornographer whom the detectives link to the other dead men. Billingham does not delve as deeply into either Thorne's personal issues or those of the other policemen as he did in his last book; the detective's dark brooding on the nature of death is replaced here by a healthier, less obsessive introspection. It's a wise move, making Thorne a more accessible character. He still has problems with women and commitment, and his father is still struggling with Alzheimer's, but Thorne has lightened up enough to get himself a girlfriend (though that doesn't work out quite the way he thought it would, to put it mildly). The structure is much like that of the other books, with the anonymous killer alternating chapters with Thorne and his partners until all of them come together in a shocking climax. This is a mature, intelligent novel by a writer who's as thoughtful as his main character, and the series grows better with each new addition. Agent, Kim Witherspoon. (June) Forecast: Consistent quality, solid publisher backing, inclusion in several recent anthologies and a six-city author tour should continue to bring Londoner Billingham new readers stateside. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
In his third novel (after Sleepyhead and Scaredy Cat), Billingham delivers a remarkable combination of police procedural and psychological thriller. Detective Inspector Tom Thorne is faced with a case that no one wants to solve: someone is killing convicted rapists as soon as they are released from prison. The only clues that Tom and his team have are the supposed name and pictures of a woman being used to lure the rapists to their death. As the investigation progresses, the case connects to a 25-year-old murder/suicide. If Tom can figure out why, he'll have his killer. Billingham builds the tension slowly as time runs out. And though serial murders have become fairly ubiquitous in crime fiction, the addition of solid and realistic police investigation by a very human detective serves to balance the horribly unreal. Recommended for all public libraries. [Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 2/15/04.]-Jane Jorgenson, Alicia Ashman Branch-Madison P.L., WI Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
London police inspector Tom Thorne (Scaredy Cat, 2003) goes up against another sadistic killer-though this time the pulse hardly quickens. Just as grumpy as he was in his previous outing, Thorne is also a little lonelier and randier: a combination that won't serve him well in the trap that's set for him. A murderer with a hard-to-suss motive has started snuffing convicted rapists who've been released from prison. He (they think it's a he) likes to whet the rapists' appetites with suggestive correspondence and pictures, then lure them to a hotel and-well, the details are a bit rough. Let's just say there's little for Thorne and his all-too-human squad at the Metropolitan Police Service (normally a pretty sensitive cop, Thorne fondly remembers a time when they were a "force" and not a "service") much to go on. Compounding the lack of workable clues is the fact that it's hard for most people (readers included) to whip up much sympathy for the victims, and when Fleet Street gets a whiff of the story, the tabloids can't congratulate the killer enough for his deeds. And, just to make Thorne's personal life (a long, sad round of takeout curry, football on the telly, and cans of lager) even more desolate, his apartment gets burgled and his car stolen. About the only thing looking up for him is the sputtering flirtation he's carrying on with Eve, a florist who telephoned in the first murder scene Thorne was called to (the killer likes to order bouquets). What the author has going for him is an unusually character-rich policeman who carries some of the gravitas of a George Pelecanos or James Lee Burke protagonist without those authors' tendencies toward morose self-involvement. Frustratingly,though, the plot is stalled as often as Thorne's relationship with Eve, and the climax's big surprise is telegraphed about a hundred pages too early. Written with care, though Billingham may need to switch the formula soon. Agency: William Morris

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Tom Thorne Series , #3
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Chapter One

The look was slightly spoiled by the training shoes.

The man with the mullet haircut and the sweaty top lip was wearing a smart blue suit, doubtless acquired for the occasion, but he'd let himself down with the bright white Nike Airs. They squeaked on the gymnasium floor as his feet shifted nervously underneath the table.

"I'm sorry," he said. "I'm really, really, sorry."

An elderly couple sat at the table opposite him. The man's back was ramrod straight, his milky blue eyes never leaving those of the man in the suit. The old woman next to the old man clutched at his hand. Her eyes, unlike those of her husband, looked anywhere but at those of the young man who, the last time he'd been this close to them, had been tying them up in their own home.

The trembling was starting around the center of Darren Ellis's meticulously shaved chin. His voice wobbled a little. "If there was anything I could do to make it up to you, I would," he said.

"There isn't," the old man said.

"I can't take back what I did, but I do know how wrong it was. I know what I put you through."

The old woman began to cry.

"How can you?" her husband said.

Darren Ellis began to cry.

In the last row of seats, his back against the gym wall-bars, sat a solidlooking man in a black leather jacket, forty or so, with dark eyes and hair that was grayer on one side than the other. He looked uncomfortable and a little confused. He turned to the man sitting next to him.

"This. Is. Bullshit," Thorne said.

DCI Russell Brigstocke glared at him. There was a shush from a redhaired grunt type a couple of rows in front. One of Ellis's supporters, by the look of him.

"Bullshit," Thorne repeated.

The gymnasium at the Peel Centre would normally be full of eager recruits at this unearthly time on a Monday morning. It was, however, the largest space available for this "Restorative Justice Conference," so the raw young constables were doing their press-ups and star jumps elsewhere. The floor of the gym had been covered with a green tarpaulin and fifty or so seats had been laid out. They were filled with supporters of both offender and victims, together with invited officers who, it was thought, would appreciate the opportunity to be brought up to speed with this latest initiative.

Becke House, where Thorne and Brigstocke were based, was part of the same complex. Half an hour earlier, on the five-minute walk across to the gym, Thorne had moaned without drawing breath.

"If it's an invitation, how come I'm not allowed to turn it down?"

"Shut up," Brigstocke said. They were late and he was walking quickly, trying not to spill hot coffee from a polystyrene cup that was all but melting. Thorne lagged a step or two behind.

"Shit, I've forgotten the bit of paper, maybe they won't let me in." Brigstocke scowled, unamused.

"What if I'm not smart enough? There might be a dress code ... "

"I'm not listening, Tom ... "

Thorne shook his head, flicked out his foot at a stone like a sulky schoolboy. "I'm just trying to get it straight. This piece of pond life ties an old couple up with electrical tape, gives the old man a kick or two for good measure, breaking ... how many ribs?"

"Three ... "

"Three. Thanks. He pisses on their carpet, fucks off with their life savings, and now we're rushing across to see how sorry he is?" "It's just a trial. They've been using RJCs in Australia and the results have been pretty bloody good. Reoffending rates have gone right down ... "

"So, basically, they sit everybody down presentence, and if they all agree that the guilty party is really feeling guilty, he gets to do a bit less time. That it?"

Brigstocke took a last, scalding slurp and dumped the half-full cup in a bin. "It's not quite that simple."

A week and a bit into a steaming June, but the day was still too new to have warmed up yet. Thorne shoved his hands deeper into the pockets of his leather jacket.

"No, but whoever thought it up is."

In the gym, the audience watched as Darren Ellis moved balled-up fists from in front of his face to reveal moist, red eyes. Thorne looked around at those watching. Some looked sad and shook their heads. One or two were taking notes. In the front row, members of Ellis's legal team passed pieces of paper between them.

"If I said that I felt like a victim, would you laugh?" Darren asked.

The old man looked calmly at him for fifteen seconds or more before answering flatly. "I'd want to knock your teeth out." "Things aren't always that clear-cut," Darren said. The old man leaned across the table. The skin was tight around his mouth. "I'll tell you what's clear-cut." His eyes flicked toward his wife as he spoke. "She hasn't slept since the night you came into our house. She wets the bed most of the time." His voice dropped to a whisper. "She's got so bloody thin ... "

Something between a gulp and a gasp echoed around the gymnasium as Darren dropped his head into his hands and gave full vent to his emotions. A lawyer got to his feet. A senior detective stood up and started walking toward the table. It was time to take a break.

Thorne leaned across and whispered loudly to Brigstocke. "He's very good. What drama school did he go to?" This time, several of the faces that turned to look daggers at him belonged to senior officers ...

Lazybones. Copyright © by Mark Billingham. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

Meet the Author

Mark Billingham is the author of nine novels, including Sleepyhead, Scaredy Cat, Lazybones, The Burning Girl, Lifeless, and Buried—all Times (London) bestsellers—as well as the stand-alone thriller In the Dark. For the creation of the Tom Thorne character, Billingham received the 2003 Sherlock Award for Best Detective created by a British writer, and he has twice won the Theakston’s Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year Award. He has previously worked as an actor and stand-up comedian on British television and still writes regularly for the BBC. He lives in London with his wife and two children.

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Lazybones (Tom Thorne Series #3) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 9 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I picked this book up while on vacation in Victoria, BC and was not disappointed. Some language to interpret, but the story line and characters are superb. One of the best mystery books I've read in a while. The f-word is used quite liberally but doesn't detract. As the book review said, 'you won't be disappointed'.
JimJF More than 1 year ago
This is the third title from Billingham I have read and just ordered a 4th. Characters are great and Tom Thorne is a classic. The usual references to English terms and nuances are kept to a minimum so as to not crowd out the story. The setting mostly could be in New York without much adjustment.
NinoCA More than 1 year ago
I am a die hard fan of al Billingham,books, he can' do no wrong with he Thorne series, keep them coming!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Excellent book
prgal1 More than 1 year ago
Thoroughly enjoyed this book - will definitely read other books by this author.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
While Douglas Renfrey was serving time for rape in Derby Prison, Jane Faley sent letters with suggestive photographs of her to him. When he was released from prison, he meets Jane at a flea bag hotel, but instead of sex he was strangled and his naked body posed on the sheet-less bed. There is no evidence in that room to lead the police to a suspect. The phone rings at the Hotel and Detective Inspector Thorne of the serious crimes group answers it.......................................... The person on the other end is florist Eve Bloom who has a tape with someone ordering a wreath to the room that Renfrey was killed in. Thorne meets Eve to get the tape and they begin dating but they don¿t consummate the relationship because she has a roommate and he doesn¿t have a bed. Work also gets in the way as two more rapists are murdered; the officers working the case have no sympathy for the victims. A break occurs when a retired officer working cold cases finds a link to a murder/suicide over a quarter century ago. Thorne pursues this avenue not realizing the deadly danger from a killer without mercy................................. LAZY BONES humanizes the police officers by showing the effect their profession has on their personal lives. Like the police officers, readers feel no sympathy for the victims because they are monsters who would rape again at the first opportunity. Thorne is a noble cop who, though he detests the victims, believes their perpetrator should be caught and prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. Mark Billingham writes an exciting police procedural complete with red herrings, unexpected twists and turns in the case and an unforgettable finish. ................................ Harriet Klausner
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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