Time of Death by Mark Billingham

Time of Death5 stars from me!

I picked up the latest Tom Thorne thriller with great delight as I’ve found his character to be an enjoyable one – all the way from Sleepyhead right up to date; this series is one not to be missed.

And now I can see there is a new Billingham book (non Thorne) that I haven’t read so I’m going to have to lay my hands on a copy of Die of Shame too!

Tom’s character is so flawed that he becomes believable. I like the fact that he can’t be arsed with most things and yet can’t ignore the nagging clues that most people wouldn’t spot in a million years. I can’t quite see why Helen is with him as he really isn’t the greatest catch in boyfriend terms but then I guess she probably isn’t winning any world’s best girlfriend awards either.

This story throws you in the middle of media shitstorm forcing you to view the case from the viewpoint of the girlfriend of the accused. It offers a horribly real feeling to the fact that the family of the person accused suffer and are persecuted just as much as the accused is. It’s not nice to face up to the fact that, as a Society, we do that.

I liked all the twists and turns and am happy to admit that I pegged the wrong guy.

Great book, I look forward to more and if you’ve never read this series then I urge you to go find a copy of Sleepyhead and I envy you your journey through the Thorne novels.


Synopsis: The astonishing thirteenth Tom Thorne novel is a story of kidnapping, the tabloid press, and a frightening case of mistaken identity. Tom Thorne is on holiday with his girlfriend DS Helen Weeks, when two girls are abducted in Helen’s home town. When a body is discovered and a man is arrested, Helen recognises the suspect’s wife as an old school-friend and returns home for the first time in twenty-five years to lend her support. As his partner faces up to a past she has tried desperately to forget and a media storm engulfs the town, Thorne becomes convinced that, despite overwhelming evidence of his guilt, the police have got the wrong man. There is still an extremely clever and killer on the loose and a missing girl who Thorne believes might still be alive.

The Dying Hours by Mark Billingham

Dying HoursSynopsis: 

The Suicide

A cluster of suicides among the elderly. Such things are not unknown to the police and the deaths are quickly dismissed as routine. Only one man is convinced that something more sinister is taking place.

The Suspicion

However, no one listens to Tom Thorne anymore. Having stepped out of line once too often, he’s back in uniform and he hates it. Patronised and abused by his new colleagues, Thorne’s suspicions about the suicides are dismissed by the Murder Squad he was once part of and he is forced to investigate alone.

The Secret

Unable to trust anyone, Thorne must risk losing those closest to him. He must gamble with the lives of those targeted by a killer unlike any he has hunted before. A man with the power to make people take their own lives…

5 Stars from me.

I’ve read several Mark Billingham books and feel a real affinity with Tom Thorne, he’s a bit like an old slipper of a detective isn’t he! I never really felt that the TV adaptation reflected the Thorne of the books but maybe that’s just me.

The Dying Hours had a creative storyline with an old fashioned villain type seeking vengeance. It’s a tried and test formula for a crime thriller but it was well put together and the plot was reasonably inventive with some very nice touches and a glimpse into the more humble side of Thorne’s nature.

In this book DCI Thorne has to come at the crime from a different route as he doesn’t have his usual position of authority or limitless contacts to help him out, he can’t throw his weight around and has to pause and think about other ways to get results. As usual though, his dogged professionalism and desire to catch the bad guys means that he can’t give up.

Personally, I didn’t enjoy the relationship with Helen (a carry on from an earlier novel), it added quite an uncomfortable element to the book but I guess it was meant to. Part of the theme through this story was highlighting the strength (or lack thereof) of Thorne’s relationships with his peers which, for me, lent an extra dimension to the crime thriller format.

I greatly enjoyed this one and read it very quickly. If you are a crime thriller fan, you’ll love it I’m sure!