Time Of Death by Mark Billingham

Time Of DeathFollowing what can only be described as the trauma of The Bones Beneath, Tom Thorne and his girlfriend Helen Weeks are taking a break. When news breaks that two girls have been abducted from Helen’s home town in Warwickshire – and the husband of a friend from school is arrested for the crime, Helen feels compelled to visit her friend, despite not having returned for twenty-five years.

Needless to say, Thorne cannot resist being drawn into the investigation. Despite there being insurmountable evidence against the suspect, Thorne has a hint that something else is going on. But he is out of his element – i.e. not in London – and not part of the official investigation. As Helen starts behaving oddly, and a body appears, is there any chance that the second victim is still alive?

The thirteenth book in the Tom Thorne series, an exceptional series of crime thrillers. Mysteries. Thrillers. Well, it depends on which book it is. All of the books are genuine page turners and the central character of Tom Thorne – flawed to an extent, but only really in his determination to do the right thing and an astonishing run of bad luck – is a magnificent creation. I’ve enjoyed every single one of the series and some of them – Good As Dead springs to mind – are truly outstanding. And this one is right up there with the best of them.

Taking the opportunity to give Helen as much page-time as Thorne, Billingham manages to run two parallel narratives that converge in a totally unexpected way. As the story progresses, the emotional side of the story comes to the fore and it basically stopped me from being able to put the book down. It’s absolutely rivetting – the steady increase of Thorne’s suspicions is particularly well-handled, the suspicions being both believable that Thorne would follow them and that the local police would think that he’s wasting there time.

And then, you realise that this is a well-constructed, fairly clued mystery. Not that you’ll spot the clues, but they’re definitely there.

Hey, guess what? This is Highly Recommended. Thanks to the publishers for letting me have a review copy via Netgalley.

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