Good as Dead

by Mark Billingham

What an opening chapter!  A young woman goes into a newsagent’s on her way to work, as she does every morning.  Three young men swagger in and start hassling the shopkeeper, while the young woman – who, we learn, is a police officer – watches nervously alongside another customer.  The shopkeeper chases the youths from the shop … and then … turns a gun on his two customers.

That’s as far as I have got, having only started to read this book this morning.  I’ll come back to this review.


The book was just as good as its opening chapter promised. Although I had cottoned onto who the arch-villain was as soon as DI Thorne did, the way the plot would work itself out was still hard to second-guess.

Under-age sex rings involving people in high positions; more than one police officer taking huge risks; murders got up to look like suicides … and all through the book, the tension and ticking clock of the hostage drama.

Definitely an author worth returning to.



by Mark Billingham

Recommended and lent to me by Pay Ranson, who has read several of the series of books featuring DI Tom Thorne.

This is an intelligent and well-written detective thriller, with a somewhat far-fetched but nevertheless engaging plot.  One of the characters, Alison Willetts, has locked-in syndrome, and her ‘speech’ punctuates the story. (Her role in identifying the killer is also highly relevant.)

I was reading this at the time a new baby granddaughter arrived, and had to put the book down for 24 hours, so unwilling was I to read about murder and torture while revelling in a new life.

Never keen to read any genre, but especially thrillers, back to back, I will probably wait a while before reading another novel in this series.