Mark Billingham pens one of my favourite crime series - the Tom Thorne books. The fifteenth book in this series, The Killing Habit, has just released.
Tom is handed a case that he doesn't take too seriously in the beginning - someone has been killing cats. But as he does delve further into the case, he relalizes there's more to these killings. Is it a serial killer ramping up? Or could it be an established killer winding down?
DI Nicola Tanner is back as well. She's chasing down a murderer with ties to a killer new designer drug called Spice.
These two characters are complete opposites and as such, play incredibly well off each other. Different strengths, styles and outlooks. As their investigations proceed, they join forces again.
Billingham consistently comes up with dark, devious plots that hold the reader captive until the last page has been turned. On reading the author's notes, I discovered that the inspiration for the cat killing plotline is based in reality. A UK cat killer has dispatched over 400 pets and as of the release of the book, the killer remains at large.
But what keeps me coming back book after book, are the characters. There are other 'regulars' that appear as well - coroner Phil Hendricks is another character I quite enjoy. Billingham keeps the lives of the cast moving forward through life complete with loves, losses, triumphs and struggles. Thorne is battling his own self doubt in this entry. Doubt about his skills and even his desire to catch criminals. His love life - or lack of - is also troubling to him. The ending surprised me - one character makes a choice that I didn't see coming. I wonder how this will affect this player's (and other's) behaviour and dynamics going forward?
The title is clever - 'killing habit' applies to both murder and drugs. Another great read from Billingham and I look forward to the sixteenth entry in this series. Read an excerpt of The Killing Habit.