Tag Archives: Mark Billingham


“Being on the murder squad is nothing like Detective Antoinette Conway dreamed it would be. Her partner, Stephen Moran, is the only person who seems glad she’s there. The rest of her working life is a stream of thankless cases, vicious pranks, and harassment. Antoinette is savagely tough, but she’s getting close to the breaking point.

Their new case looks like yet another by-the-numbers lovers’ quarrel gone bad. Aislinn Murray is blonde, pretty, groomed to a shine, and dead in her catalogue-perfect living room, next to a table set for a romantic dinner. There’s nothing unusual about her—except that Antoinette’s seen her somewhere before.

And that her death won’t stay in its neat by-numbers box. Other detectives are trying to push Antoinette and Steve into arresting Aislinn’s boyfriend, fast. There’s a shadowy figure at the end of Antoinette’s road. Aislinn’s friend is hinting that she knew Aislinn was in danger. And everything they find out about Aislinn takes her further from the glossy, passive doll she seemed to be.

Antoinette knows the harassment has turned her paranoid, but she can’t tell just how far gone she is. Is this case another step in the campaign to force her off the squad, or are there darker currents flowing beneath its polished surface?…”


“The Trespasser” was my first exposure to the writing of Irish author Tana French. It is the sixth in a series based on the work of the detectives in a police murder squad in Dublin, and was very impressive..

Tana French

Unusually, from what I gather, French has written each novel from the point of view of a different investigating officer rather than having the same main character each time. Although I haven’t read any of the others – which doesn’t detract from the standalone tale told here – I would imagine that this gives the series a distinctive freshness and difference in perspective whilst still retaining enough of the familiarity you normally encounter in, for example, Mark Billingham’s Tom Thorne novels.

So this story is told through the eyes of detective Antionette Conway. Working with her partner Stephen Moran (star of the previous novel “The Secret Place”), Conway is put onto a murder investigation to try to track down the person responsible for the death of Aislinn Murray.

At first this seems like an easy case when an obvious suspect comes almost immediately to their attention. It all seems a bit too easy though and Conway – convinced that the rest of the murder squad are out to get her off the team – begins to see connections and have suspicions everywhere, whilst constantly doubting her own thought processes. Who is telling the truth? Who can she trust?

Meanwhile, Moran is coming up with gangster theories and other officers seem very eager for her to put the case to bed as quickly as possible. The truth of both Aislinn and her killer takes some digging for and when the detective duo eventually get there it’s very far from what they anticipated…

I really enjoyed this book. The dialogue was written such that I felt the Irishness coming through(!) and there was some fabulous wit on display too throughout. The characters are all brilliantly described as well, so that we can really imagine them in lifelike terms.

Ultimately this was a cracking tale with enough twists and turns to keep the reader involved without giving too much away so that we (or at least I) definitely aren’t expecting the guilty party that is eventually unmasked. Great stuff – I shall certainly be looking out for future entries to the series…9781444755626


The Missing, The Accused, The Dead

“The Missing

Two schoolgirls are abducted in the small, dying Warwickshire town of Polesford, driving a knife into the heart of the community where police officer Helen Weeks grew up and from which she long ago escaped. But this is a place full of secrets, where dangerous truths lie buried.

The Accused

When it’s splashed all over the press that family man Stephen Bates has been arrested, Helen and her partner Tom Thorne head to the flooded town to support Bates’ wife -­ an old school friend of Helen’s – living under siege with two teenage children and convinced of her husband’s innocence.

The Dead

As residents and media bay for Bates’ blood, a decomposing body is found. The police believe they have their murderer in custody, but one man believes otherwise. With a girl still missing, Thorne sets himself on a collision course with local police, townsfolk ­ and a merciless killer.”


Following on from events in Mark Billingham‘s previous Tom Thorne novel “The Bones Beneath”, the thirteenth Thorne adventure, “Time Of Death”, finds Thorne and his girlfriend Helen Weeks enjoying a holiday away from their respective police roles. Thus we are again away from their usual London environment for most of the time.

I am pleased to say straight away that I found this one to be a big improvement on the last book. Pathologist Phil Hendricks has a much bigger role in this tale, as does Helen, giving this more of an ensemble feel than perhaps was the case with earlier books in the series. This isn’t a bad thing, though, and we certainly learn a lot more about Helen in particular as events of her past catch up with current events in the story.

I have to confess that I had a prime suspect for the crimes that Stephen Bates was accused of fairly early on, but was completely off the mark thanks to some subtle red herrings in the text. It was, therefore, a complete surprise when the real bad guy was eventually unmasked at the climax to proceedings.

Excellent writing, a great plot and some very thought-provoking themes – how would we cope of one of our loved ones was accused or a terrible crime whilst we remained convinced of their innocence despite seemingly overwhelming evidence to the contrary? All in all, a great British crime thriller…51vs6hH8ULL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_

The Deal, The Danger, The Deaths

“The Deal

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.

The Danger

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.

The Deaths

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.

Hopefully things will pick up with the next book in the series “Time Of Death”…bones beneath