Tom Thorne is a detective again, but there’s a price to pay. Stuart Nicklin, the most dangerous psychopath he has ever put behind bars, promises to reveal the whereabouts of a body he buried twenty-five years before. But only if Thorne agrees to escort him.
Unable to refuse, Thorne gathers a team and travels to a remote Welsh island, at the mercy of the weather and cut off from the mainland. Thorne is determined to get the job done and return home before Nicklin can outwit them.
But Nicklin knows this island well and has had time to plan ahead. Soon, new bodies are added to the old, and Thorne finds himself facing the toughest decision he has ever had to make…”
“The Bones Beneath” is the thirteenth book that I have read by English author Mark Billingham, and the twelfth to feature his police detective character Tom Thorne.
The majority of the book takes place during the journey to, and time spent on, Bardsey Island, a small island off the west Wales coast that is reputed to be the burial place of twenty thousand saints and also sometimes claimed to be the last resting places of both King Arthur and Merlin.
There are some flashback chapters to events on the island some twenty-five years previously and others that cover events happening elsewhere whilst Thorne and his party are on the island which give hints as to what’s going on but the truth isn’t revealed until the end as usual.
Thorne’s significant others, by which I mean recurring characters that he works with – such as pathologist Phil Hendricks and detective colleagues Dave Holland and Yvonne Kitson – have fairly minor roles to play here too, with most of the action, as it were, being between Thorne and Nicklin.
I have to be honest and say that, whilst I most certainly enjoyed this novel I felt that it was a little weak in comparison to the Thorne tales that have preceded it. There is very little in the way of police investigation of detective work going on in this story, with most of the revelations coming about as and when the bad guy decides to disclose them, which I think accounts for the relative lack of overall excitement with this one.