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Thursday, 17 April 2014
Good as Dead by Mark Billingham
The Charter (www.gillianhamer.com)
What we thought : When a local newsagent takes two civilian hostages and keeps them at gun point in the rear of his shop – one who happens to be police woman Helen Weeks - he claims to want the truth about his son Amin's death in a local YOI and feels this is the only way anyone will take his certainty that his sons suicide was staged seriously. He chooses Detective Tom Thorne as the man to supply those answers. With time ticking and the safety of two hostages spurring him on, Thorne forges a path that takes him from the bottom of society through to the very top. It seems Javed Akhtar's view of justice may not be so warped after all.
This is a cleverly crafted story, following both the experiences of Thorne as he travels at full speed through the investigation with his usual focus and disinterest in politics or procedure - and also the POV of Helen Weeks who spends the biggest part of the novel chained to a radiator fearing for her life. Somehow she adds as much to the novel, even in her terrified state she manages to convey a calm in all the turmoil, making decisions that will change her life forever. The climax of the novel is page flipping, Thorne at his absolute best, and it was good to have some kind of closure for all concerned.
Billingham's books go from strength to strength and I am rarely left disappointed. I can hardly believe this is Thorne’s tenth outing. I still remember reading Sleepyhead a long time ago and thinking then that the UK had found another big name for the future in crime writing and I'm so pleased I was right. I can't wait to move onto the next chapter in Thorne's life.
You’ll enjoy this if you like : Val McDermid, Peter Robinson, Peter James.
Avoid if you don’t like : Clever detectives and a corrupt justice system.
Ideal accompaniments : Chicken Tikka Masala and a bottle of lager.
Genre : Crime.