Scaredy Cat (Tom Thorne Series #2) [NOOK Book]

Overview


Now, killing is a team sport.

It was a vicious, calculated murder. The killer selected his victim at London's Euston station, followed her home on the tube, strangled her to death in front of her child. At the same time, killed in the same way, a second body is discovered at the back of King’s Cross station. It is a grisly coincidence that eerily echoes the murder of two ...
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Scaredy Cat (Tom Thorne Series #2)

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Overview


Now, killing is a team sport.

It was a vicious, calculated murder. The killer selected his victim at London's Euston station, followed her home on the tube, strangled her to death in front of her child. At the same time, killed in the same way, a second body is discovered at the back of King’s Cross station. It is a grisly coincidence that eerily echoes the murder of two other women, stabbed to death months before on the same day.

It is DI Tom Thorne who sees the link and comes to a horrifying conclusion. This is not a serial killer that the police are up against. This is two of them. Finding the body used to be the worst part of the job, but not any more. Now each time a body is found, Thorne must live with the knowledge that somewhere out there is a second victim, waiting to be discovered. But whilst the methods might be the same, the manner of the killings is strikingly different. Thorne comes to realise that he is hunting two very different killers. One is ruthless and in control, while his partner in crime is submissive, compliant, terrified.

Thorne must catch a man whose need to manipulate is as great as his need to kill, a man who will threaten those closest to Thorne himself, a man, who will show him that the ability to inspire terror, is the deadliest weapon of all...
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Billingham's second thriller (after Sleepyhead) featuring London Det. Insp. Tom Thorne offers a twist on the serial killer subgenre. Brooding, melancholy Thorne heads a team of detectives who are alerted to the death of a young mother brutally strangled as her three-year-old son looks on. The body of a second murder victim, strangled in the same manner, turns up the same day, and Thorn and his team surmise they have a serial killer on their hands. The first half of the book deals with Thorne's discovery that there are really two killers at work and introduces the childhood backstory of the murderers. The second half picks up speed as the actual hunt commences. Billingham is adept at creating believable characters with ordinary and not-so-ordinary personal problems, then weaving them into the plot in surprising ways. At times, though, he pushes too hard to make Thorne's colleagues quirky: "Thorne stared at the figure in black fleece, with shaved head and a startling collection of facial piercings. Phil Hendricks was not everyone's idea of a pathologist, but he was the best Thorne had ever worked with." Thorne's gloomy internal musings on death and guilt tend to slow things down, but Billingham's handling of the plot is deft, fair and scattered with enough red herrings to open a fish and chips shop. When the mastermind behind both sets of killings is revealed in a dramatic denouement, readers will give the author his due and settle back to wait for the next installment of this dependable series. 5-city author tour. (June 17) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Library Journal
With last year's auspicious thriller debut (Sleepyhead), Billingham has given himself a tough act to follow. But the return of London detective Tom Thorne is most welcome, and this novel is every bit as intense and creepy as the first. Thorne is again facing a serial killer, but this time around there's an unwelcome bonus: two killers (chums from grammar school days) who are working in tandem. Nicklin is controlling and ruthless, while Palmer is submissive and frightened-and together they make for a ghastly and lethal combination. Thorne and his fellow detectives discern the pattern with relative ease, but finding the true manipulator and ending the killings turns into a deadly game. Thorne is still a flawed, slightly battered cop who is tired of death and drinks too much in an attempt to buffer himself from his grisly job. Highly recommended, especially for fans of Harry Bosch and Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison of "Prime Suspect" fame.-Rebecca House Stankowski, Purdue Univ. Calumet Lib., Hammond, IN Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Tom Thorne gets double the usual headache when a pair of serial killers start terrorizing London. As a London Detective Inspector Thorne definitely makes the grade; as a human being, he's not so much fun. Morose and prickly on his best days, he's given to listening to Johnny Cash while poring over grisly crime in his spare time. First introduced in Billingham's debut (Sleepy Head, 2002), Thorne is an intriguing protagonist in that on the one hand he's your typical troubled cop but, on the other, Billingham makes him human enough and surrounds him with enough other flawed people so you can understand why some people would actually hang around. Here, the reason for Thorne's melancholy is a new string of murders that happen in pairs and appear to be the work of two serial killers working together. What gives Thorne and his team pause is their having found copious tears at one of the scenes: the killer was crying as he did his deed. Particularly haunting is the first murder, when a young mother was butchered in front of her three-year-old, who survived. Billingham takes his good time revealing who the killer is, flashing back from the present-day mayhem to a pair of schoolkids in the 1980s, one of whom excelled in the art of manipulation and kept his entire class in abject terror. Thorne's unusual amount of empathy ensures that the police procedural never gets too abstracted, while Billingham's measured and involving emphasis on developing the characters of the other cops (at least one of them seems to be cracking under the strain of the grim profession) keeps the reader from flipping ahead. Not the greatest thriller of the year, but one that mixes its chills with a healthy (and welcome) doseof reality. Agent: Kim Witherspoon/Witherspoon Associates
From the Publisher
“Billingham does a masterly job of creating his characters. . . . Narrator Simon Prebble gives an electric performance that is excellently paced. Mystery fans who like complex plotting, detailed character development, and realistic psychological suspense will relish this title.”
Library Journal [starred review]

Scaredy Cat, narrated by the always-spot-on Simon Prebble, . . . is a great way to get to know the thorny, edgy, driven detective.”
BookPage

BookPage
Scaredy Cat, narrated by the always-spot-on Simon Prebble, . . . is a great way to get to know the thorny, edgy, driven detective.”
BookPage
USA Today
“A plethora of pleasures in these pages.”
USA Today
Karin Slaughter
“A plethora of pleasures in these pages.”
USA Today
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802193254
  • Publisher: Grove/Atlantic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/9/2013
  • Series: Tom Thorne Series , #2
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Pages: 448
  • Sales rank: 13,594
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author


Mark Billingham is one of England's best known and top-selling crime writers. His most recent book was a #1 bestseller in the UK. He has twice won the Theakston's Old Peculier Award for Best Crime Novel, and has also won a Sherlock Award for the Best Detective created by a British writer. His novels Sleepyhead and Scaredy Cat were made into a hit TV series on Sky 1 starring David Morrissey as Thorne. Mark lives in North London with his wife and two children.
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Read an Excerpt

Scaredy Cat

A Novel
By Mark Billingham

William Morrow

ISBN: 0066213002


Chapter One

A little after nine-thirty in the morning. The first gray Monday of December. From the third floor of Becke House, Tom Thorne stared out across the monument to concrete and complacency that was Hendon, wishing more than anything that he wasn't thinking clearly.

He was, unfortunately, doing just that. Sorting the material in front of him, taking it all in. Assigning to each item, without knowing it, emotional responses that would color every waking hour in the months to come.

And many sleeping hours too.

Wide awake and focused, Thorne sat and studied death, the way others at work elsewhere were looking at computer screens or sitting at tills. It was the material he worked with every day and yet, faced with this, something to take the edge off would have been nice. Even the sledgehammer of a hangover would have been preferable. Something to blunt the corners a little. Something to turn the noise of the horror down.

He'd seen hundreds, maybe thousands, of photos like these. He'd stared at them over the years with the same dispassionate eye that a dentist might cast over X rays, or an accountant across a tax return. He'd lost count of the pale limbs, twisted or torn or missing altogether in black-and-white ten-by-eights. Then there were the color prints. Pale bodies lying on green carpets. A ring of purple bruises around a chalk-white neck. The garish patterned wallpaper against which the blood spatter is barely discernible.

An ever expanding exhibition with a simple message: emotions are powerful things, bodies are not.

These were the pictures filed in his office, with duplicates stored in the files in his head. Snapshots of deaths and portraits of lives lived to extremes. There were occasions when Thorne had gazed at these bodies in monochrome and thought he'd glimpsed rage or hatred or greed or lust, or perhaps the ghosts of such things, floating like ectoplasm in the corners of rooms.

The photographs on the table in front of him this morning were no more sickening than any he had seen before, but keeping his eyes on the image of the dead woman was like staring hard into a flame and feeling his eyeballs start to melt.

He was seeing her through the eyes of her child.

Charlie Garner, age three, now an orphan.

Charlie Garner, age three, being cared for by grandparents who wrestled every minute of every day with what to tell him about his mummy.

Charlie Garner, age three, who spent the best part of two days alone in a house with the body of his mother, clutching a chocolate wrapper he'd licked clean, starving and dirty and screaming until a neighbor knocked.

"Tom ..."

Thorne stared out into the grayness for a few more seconds before turning back resignedly to DCI Russell Brigstocke.

As part of the major reorganization of the Met a year or so earlier, a number of new squads had been established within the three nascent Serious Crime Groups. A unit consisting entirely of officers brought out of retirement had been set up expressly to investigate cold cases. This unit, quickly christened the Crinkly Squad, was just one of a raft of new initiatives as part of a fresh and supposedly proactive approach to fighting crime in the capital. There were other squads specializing in sexual assaults, violence against children and firearms offenses.

Then there was Team 3, Serious Crime Group (West).

Officially, this squad was devised to investigate cases whose parameters were outside those that might be investigated elsewhere - cases that didn't fit anybody else's remit. There were those, however, who suggested that SCG (West)3 had been set up simply because no one quite knew what to do with Detective Inspector Tom Thorne. Thorne himself reckoned that the truth was probably somewhere halfway between the two.

Russell Brigstocke was the senior officer and Thorne had known him for over ten years. He was a big man who cut a distinctive figure with horn-rimmed glasses and hair of which he was inordinately proud. It was thick and blue black, and the DCI took great delight in teasing it up into a quiff of almost Elvis-like proportions. But if he was a caricaturist's dream, he could also be a suspect's worse nightmare. Thorne had seen Brigstocke with glasses off and fists clenched, hair flopping around his sweatdrenched forehead as he stalked around an interview room, shouting, threatening, carrying out the threat, looking for the truth.

"Carol Garner was a single mum. She was twenty-eight years old. Her husband died in a road accident three years ago, just after their son was born. She was a teacher. She was found dead in her home in Balham four days ago. There were no signs of forced entry. She'd arrived back at Euston station at six-thirty P.M. on the twenty-seventh, having been to Birmingham to visit her parents. We think that the killer followed her from the station, probably on the tube. We found a travelcard in her pocket."

Brigstocke's voice was low and accentless, almost a monotone. Yet the litany of facts simply stated was horribly powerful. Thorne knew most of it, having been briefed by Brigstocke the day before, but still the words were like a series of punches, each harder than the last, combining to leave him aching and breathless. He could see that the others were no less shocked.

And he knew that they had yet to hear the worst.

Brigstocke continued. "We can only speculate on how the killer gained entry or how long he spent inside Carol Garner's home, but we know what he did when he was there."

Brigstocke looked down the length of the table, asking the man at the other end to carry on where he had left off. Thorne stared at the figure in the black fleece, with shaved head and a startling collection of facial piercings. Phil Hendricks was not everybody's idea of a pathologist, but he was the best Thorne had ever worked with ... (Continues...)



Excerpted from Scaredy Cat by Mark Billingham
Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

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Table of Contents

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First Chapter

Scaredy Cat

Chapter One

A little after nine-thirty in the morning. The first gray Monday of December. From the third floor of Becke House, Tom Thorne stared out across the monument to concrete and complacency that was Hendon, wishing more than anything that he wasn't thinking clearly.

He was, unfortunately, doing just that. Sorting the material in front of him, taking it all in. Assigning to each item, without knowing it, emotional responses that would color every waking hour in the months to come.

And many sleeping hours too.

Wide awake and focused, Thorne sat and studied death, the way others at work elsewhere were looking at computer screens or sitting at tills. It was the material he worked with every day and yet, faced with this, something to take the edge off would have been nice. Even the sledgehammer of a hangover would have been preferable. Something to blunt the corners a little. Something to turn the noise of the horror down.

He'd seen hundreds, maybe thousands, of photos like these. He'd stared at them over the years with the same dispassionate eye that a dentist might cast over X rays, or an accountant across a tax return. He'd lost count of the pale limbs, twisted or torn or missing altogether in black-and-white ten-by-eights. Then there were the color prints. Pale bodies lying on green carpets. A ring of purple bruises around a chalk-white neck. The garish patterned wallpaper against which the blood spatter is barely discernible.

An ever expanding exhibition with a simple message: emotions are powerful things, bodies are not.

These were the pictures filed in his office, with duplicates stored in the files in his head. Snapshots of deaths and portraits of lives lived to extremes. There were occasions when Thorne had gazed at these bodies in monochrome and thought he'd glimpsed rage or hatred or greed or lust, or perhaps the ghosts of such things, floating like ectoplasm in the corners of rooms.

The photographs on the table in front of him this morning were no more sickening than any he had seen before, but keeping his eyes on the image of the dead woman was like staring hard into a flame and feeling his eyeballs start to melt.

He was seeing her through the eyes of her child.

Charlie Garner, age three, now an orphan.

Charlie Garner, age three, being cared for by grandparents who wrestled every minute of every day with what to tell him about his mummy.

Charlie Garner, age three, who spent the best part of two days alone in a house with the body of his mother, clutching a chocolate wrapper he'd licked clean, starving and dirty and screaming until a neighbor knocked.

"Tom ... "

Thorne stared out into the grayness for a few more seconds before turning back resignedly to DCI Russell Brigstocke.

As part of the major reorganization of the Met a year or so earlier, a number of new squads had been established within the three nascent Serious Crime Groups. A unit consisting entirely of officers brought out of retirement had been set up expressly to investigate cold cases. This unit, quickly christened the Crinkly Squad, was just one of a raft of new initiatives as part of a fresh and supposedly proactive approach to fighting crime in the capital. There were other squads specializing in sexual assaults, violence against children and firearms offenses.

Then there was Team 3, Serious Crime Group (West).

Officially, this squad was devised to investigate cases whose parameters were outside those that might be investigated elsewhere -- cases that didn't fit anybody else's remit. There were those, however, who suggested that SCG (West)3 had been set up simply because no one quite knew what to do with Detective Inspector Tom Thorne. Thorne himself reckoned that the truth was probably somewhere halfway between the two.

Russell Brigstocke was the senior officer and Thorne had known him for over ten years. He was a big man who cut a distinctive figure with horn-rimmed glasses and hair of which he was inordinately proud. It was thick and blue black, and the DCI took great delight in teasing it up into a quiff of almost Elvis-like proportions. But if he was a caricaturist's dream, he could also be a suspect's worse nightmare. Thorne had seen Brigstocke with glasses off and fists clenched, hair flopping around his sweatdrenched forehead as he stalked around an interview room, shouting, threatening, carrying out the threat, looking for the truth.

"Carol Garner was a single mum. She was twenty-eight years old. Her husband died in a road accident three years ago, just after their son was born. She was a teacher. She was found dead in her home in Balham four days ago. There were no signs of forced entry. She'd arrived back at Euston station at six-thirty P.M. on the twenty-seventh, having been to Birmingham to visit her parents. We think that the killer followed her from the station, probably on the tube. We found a travelcard in her pocket."

Brigstocke's voice was low and accentless, almost a monotone. Yet the litany of facts simply stated was horribly powerful. Thorne knew most of it, having been briefed by Brigstocke the day before, but still the words were like a series of punches, each harder than the last, combining to leave him aching and breathless. He could see that the others were no less shocked.

And he knew that they had yet to hear the worst.

Brigstocke continued. "We can only speculate on how the killer gained entry or how long he spent inside Carol Garner's home, but we know what he did when he was there."

Brigstocke looked down the length of the table, asking the man at the other end to carry on where he had left off. Thorne stared at the figure in the black fleece, with shaved head and a startling collection of facial piercings. Phil Hendricks was not everybody's idea of a pathologist, but he was the best Thorne had ever worked with ...

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

Average Rating 4
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted October 5, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    MUST READ!!

    I love these kind of books.
    Never could find them out here until I looked here. I just finished reading this book and I must say that it had me on the edge of my seat the whole time I was reading it. Every page was something different. Some new thing going on.
    I would def suggest you read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 9, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    powerful police procedural

    London Detective Tom Thorne is churlish and depressing when he is in what he would consider a good mood, quite a rarity for this cop. However, when he becomes involved in a homicide the police receive the best out of him professionally, but his behavior turns atrocious. His current case leads him to suffer from the Grand Canyon of misery when two murders with the identical MO occurs at approximately the same time in different parts of the city. One of the victims is a mother whose three-year-old watched her die. <P>Tom and his team investigate the twin killings on the extraordinary concept that a pair of serial killers working in tandem committed the crimes. Forensics say the killers were radically different with one being a professional, smooth and experienced at the job while the other was an amateur. They believe the pro is teaching and leading the rookie and if the theory holds it is the accomplished killer who must be stopped fist. Tom will soon learn this individual is a master manipulator who learned his killing lessons two decades ago in school. <P>Readers who like a powerful police procedural with strong characters, including the secondary support cast, will want to read this superb tale. SCAREDY CAT develops the crime and the cast before going into hyperspeed as Tom digs deep into any clue he finds to insure no one else dies. This is a winner as was Tom¿s first appearance in SLEEPYHEAD. <P>Harriet Klausner

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2013

    Training/hunting grounds

    Scorge.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 7, 2004

    could not 'get into' this book

    this one looked really good. however, i could not get into it. pretty hard to follow. none of the characters were likable. i got to page 30 and dropped the book. I rarely stop reading a book once i have started it, but better sooner or later i guess.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 17, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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