A female serial killer is only the tip of the latest iceberg for DI Tom Thorne.
Richard Sumner, who’d planned to find some online “no strings nookie” while his wife was in Liverpool at a conference, ends up minus his ears and his life. Hari Reddy’s latest hookup in Clapham cuts out his tongue before killing him. Only then does a phone tip alert the coppers to the mutilated three-week-old corpse of Thomas Bristow in Hadley Wood. The murders are clearly the work of the same woman, and thanks to the panoptic surveillance apparatus of contemporary London, it’s not long before she’s identified as supermarket clerk Rebecca Driver. Only after her arrest do the twists start to come. Instead of denying her guilt, she seems to take pride in it and in her subservient direction by a man Thorne quickly decides is Stuart Nicklin, a prolific killer who escaped prison and kidnapped pathologist Phil Hendricks six years ago. When Thorne interviews Rebecca in prison, she all but laughs in his face. Nicklin, meantime, has started to assert himself in more direct and baleful ways that have Thorne scurrying to protect his girlfriend, forensic psychiatrist Melita Perera; his former partner, Helen Weeks; his current partner, DI Nicola Tanner; and of course Hendricks. But when he can’t even keep his emotions in check successfully enough to avoid threatening another officer whose complaint gets him removed from the case, how can he possibly stay one step ahead of a criminal who’s evidently spent years preparing his revenge?
Another return-of-master-criminal sequel better in parts than as a whole.
Praise for The Murder Book:
“Masterly…the intricate plot matches superior characterizations. Thorne fans will eagerly await his next outing.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review)
“Mark Billingham’s Detective Inspector Tom Thorne books are consistently excellent: easily some of the best police procedurals in print, with a complicated lead sleuth at their heart.” —BookPage (starred review)
“This is the eighteenth book in a series that began in 2001 and has established Thorne as one of British crime fiction’s most iconic characters. Billingham is a masterful plotter, and here he supplies a few alarming teasers before delivering one of his most amazing endings ever.”—Booklist, (starred review)
Praise for Mark Billingham and the Tom Thorne novels:
“A fantastic thriller, combining a gripping plot and lead characters of remarkable depth…Readers who grab this one but aren’t familiar with its predecessors will be seeking them out. A series to savor.” —Booklist (starred review), on Their Little Secret
“The twisted plot unfolds gradually, with a maximum of suspense. Billingham never strains credulity in this thoughtful page-turner.”—Publishers Weekly (starred review), on Their Little Secret
“Morse, Rebus, and now Thorne. The next superstar detective is already with us—don’t miss him.”—Lee Child
“Billingham is a world-class writer and Tom Thorne is a wonderful creation. Rush to read these books.”—Karin Slaughter
“With each of his books, Mark Billingham gets better and better. These are stories and characters you don’t want to leave.”—Michael Connelly
“Mark Billingham has brought a rare and welcome blend of humanity, dimension, and excitement to the genre.”—George Pelecanos