Mark Billingham's Tom Thorne series - especially after the way the eleventh book, The Dying Hours, ended.
The Bones Beneath picks up six weeks after The Dying Hours. (New readers, you certainly could certainly read this book without having read others, but I highly encourage you to start with the first book, Sleepyhead. Trust me - you'll be hooked.)
I adore prologues that immediately hook the reader. In the opening pages of The Bones Beneath, an unnamed man is kidnapped from his home.....
And then immediately the story cuts to Thorne. I wondered many times what this unnamed man had to do with the plot. There are a few short chapters that cut to his timeline, but I was still scratching my head until the final few pages. And then it was an AHA! moment. A lovely plot twist.
Back to Thorne. Fans will recognize this name - Stuart Nicklin. Psychopath Nicklin and Thorne have crossed paths before, with Tom finally putting Nicklin behind bars for good. But then Nicklin says he'll reveal where he buried the body of one of his victims - but only if Thorne is the one to escort him. Thorne reluctantly agrees, but wonders why and what Nicklin has up his sleeve. Thorne is wary - and rightly so. "He couldn't think of a single reason that didn't scare the hell out of him."
Nicklin says the body is on remote Bardsey Island, off the Welsh coast. Billingham paints a very vivid picture of the island and its history. I, of course, had to check it out online - it's quite fascinating. This isolation and lack of connection with the mainland only heightens the sense of danger, of being with a madman who seems to be directing the way things will play out, even though Thorne is in charge.
Billingham has created a chilling antagonist in Nicklin, one who reads people and manipulates them masterfully. Flashbacks to his time on the island as a young man only confirms how evil he truly is. And he's a planner.....
Familiar supporting characters are also back - Holland is one of my favourites. I always enjoy the secondary storyline of Thorne's personal life as well.
Billingham consistently comes up with dark, devious plots that hold the reader captive until the last page has been turned. (and more than a few good twists and turns) Tom Thorne has not grown predictable or tired after twelve books. He's ornery, obstinate and driven to solve his cases at almost any cost. This lands him on a fine line between right and wrong many times. In The Bones Beneath, Thorne has this sense of right and wrong sorely tested...
Read an excerpt of The Bones Beneath. This reader will be waiting and watching for the next book from Mark Billingham. 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 Girl"