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Time of Death (Tom Thorne Novels)

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There are strong hints of a recent case that caused Tom Thorne (and Hendricks) enormous grief and it is clear that this ‘holiday’ is overdue and much needed. This book has quite a lot of love in it, the characters are very close and very connected, They care about each other. Then, one of Thorne's good friends, a gay, completely covered with tats, and some piercings to top it off, to review the autopsy and forensic evidence. Oh what sheer joy it is to pick up another Thorne novel from Mark Billingham - you just KNOW you will not be disappointed, this really is a most marvellous series. There are no quick solutions here but a story that unfolds like the petals of a rose revealing a nasty underbelly and one shocking revelation concerning one of the players with a personal secret to unfold.

Sleepyhead and Scaredy Cat were made into a hit TV series on Sky 1 starring David Morrissey as Thorne, and a new series based on the novels In the Dark and Time of Death will be broadcast on BBC1 in 2017. The plot is tense, the scenarios realistic, the political environment of the workplace is familiar, the characters are finely drawn and three dimensional and feel like people you know. It is always a joy to see a 'new' Tom Thorne on the bookshelves and as ever this lived up to expectations.To sum up, a standard serial killer police procedural, quite well-written, slow in places, with lots of swearing, a bit of angst, the obligatory child abuse angle, and some gratuitous and silly police brutality. However Billingham keeps the tension flowing for the most part by skilfully casting suspicion on most of the male characters in turn. Unusually for a crime novel this book is as much about what happens to the family of a suspect when they are arrested as it is about the victims as well as the who, how and why element, and I really enjoyed it. My first impressions were pretty favourable – the serial killer storyline is increasingly hackneyed but Billingham tells the story well, and I initially liked the characters of both Tom and Helen. Helen spends a lot of time with Linda helping to support her as the suspect’s wife and I quite liked this angle, which is not one that we often come across in this type of read.

I thoroughly enjoyed this read and would like to say a special thank you to the author and to Little, Brown Book Group UK via Net Galley. Cleverly you have become a bit player on this large stage and therefore have a vested interest in discovering the truth.Yes, it did get better once Hendricks, Thorne's pathologist best mate, pitched up half way through and no, I can't say I've particularly taken to Helen, even though I now know much more about her. To Mark: I did love this but please pretty please could we have one with the whole team in London soon please please please? I read a couple of his early books a good while ago – ‘Sleepyhead’ and one other – but something about ‘Good as Dead’ put me off. Later in the book Tom’s joined by old friend and pathologist Hendricks whose charismatic presence, it must be said, lifts the novel up a notch.

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