The Dying Hours is the eleventh book in Mark Billingham's Detective Inspector Tom Thorne series - one of my favourite crime series.
The Dying Hours picks up right where the last book (The Demands) left off. Thorne closed the case, but not by the book. Over the last twenty five years, Thorne has bucked authority, ignored orders and operated by his own set of rules. But, it has finally caught up to him - he's been knocked back down into uniform and off his beloved Murder Squad.
Called to an apparent suicide, Thorne's radar 'tickles the back of his neck'. Something is 'off' and he asks the higher ups if it could be investigated further. His suspicions are brushed off, as is Thorne. More than brushing off really. There are many in the department who have it in for Thorne - and this demotion gives them every opportunity to put him in his place.
"The lecture about making choices, the gleefully sarcastic comments about what had happened in that newsagents five months before. The line that had stung more than anything else - Stop playing detective."
But we know Thorne is right - Dying Hours opens with a chilling prologue from the killer. A person with a list of names and a goal. As the book progresses, there are further chapters from this person. As a reader we know what they've done. And we're just hoping someone takes Thorne seriously.
The Dying Hours was an excellent crime novel on so many levels. Billingham's plotting is always inventive, dark and devious, designed to keep the reader wondering - and up late at night. The procedural details of the investigation always fascinate me.
But it is Thorne himself that makes this series such a standout. I'm always a sucker for 'buck the system' characters and Thorne is a prime example. But in this latest, he has to stop and ask himself some hard questions. What about his relationships? With his girlfriend and her son, with colleagues, with friends, with superiors? What is he willing to sacrifice in his pursuit for answers and justice? Who can he trust?
The Dying Hours kept me captive for an entire day when I was off sick. A riveting read is probably some of the best medicine one can ask for. Read an excerpt of The Dying Hours. The last line of the book did nothing but whet my appetite for number twelve - The Bones Beneath - due out in North America in June of this year. You can find Mark Billingham on Facebook.
Who else reads Mark Billingham? “Billingham is one of the most consistently entertaining, insightful
crime writers working today.” — Gillian Flynn, author of Gone