In the summer of 1996, two boys run from a playground into the adjoining woods, but only one comes out. DS Tom Thorne takes on a case that quickly spirals out of control when two people connected with the missing boy are murdered. As London prepares to host the European Soccer Championships, Thorne fights to keep on top of a baffling investigation while also dealing with the ugly fallout of his broken marriage. A prequel to Billingham’s acclaimed debut Sleepyhead – which the Times voted “one of the 100 books that had shaped the decade” – this compelling novel highlights the case that shaped the career of one of British crime fiction’s most iconic characters.
#CryBaby @MarkBillingham #TomThorne
I thought ‘here we go another police procedural’ and for the first third I was becoming a little frustrated. But as I know this author is one of the best crime writers around I persevered and it just got better and better. The excitement ratcheted up a notch or ten and it became more tense and exciting with every new chapter. So many new twists that I had no idea who had taken Kieron up to the very end. Maybe some readers cleverer than me guessed but there were too many red herrings for me to be sure. And there is also an insight into why, when looking at suspects, you shouldn’t always judge a book by its cover.
By the final third I couldn’t wait to get my hands on the next stave (reading with The Pigeonhole for those who don’t know – one stave a day) and by the final one I even considered waiting till one o’clock in the morning to find out what happened.
I didn’t though, but I woke just after six and ploughed straight in. Yet another twist I hadn’t seen coming (to use a favourite book blurb cliche). The last few chapters raced along until everything became clear.
I loved the main characters – our hero Tom Thorne of course, Phil Hendricks (my favourite) and Paula Kimmel and hated in equal measures Boyle, Billy, Angie ‘babe’ and Dean.
Many thanks to The Pigeonhole and my fellow Pigeons for making this such an enjoyable read.
About the Author
Mark Billingham was born and brought up in Birmingham. Having worked for some years as an actor and more recently as a TV writer and stand-up comedian his first crime novel was published in 2001. Mark lives in North London with his wife and two children.