Mark Billingham has just released the sixteenth book in his DI Tom Thorne series - Their Little Secret. DI Nicola Tanner has been added to the series title in the last few entries.
Thorne is currently assigned to the Homicide Assessment Team - a mobile unit that attends sudden death cases to see if they are suspicious and need investigation. A seeming suicide by train looks to be an open and shut suicide case, but Thorne thinks may be more to it. And indeed there is. Billingham's plot for this latest mystery is dark and twisted. (most of them are!) Or to quote Thorne: "The truth was, there was very little about this case that wasn't weird. Off-kilter, unnatural. It felt as though something misshapen had woken and begun crawling towards him into the light...."
The reader has a window into both Thorne's investigation and the killer's thoughts, actions and moves. In this case, knowing who the killer is doesn't detract from enjoying the book at all. It only ramped up the tension and had me hooked. Thorne's dogged pursuit of answers and results isn't always by the book. Sometimes that works for him, other times not so much. But, I do love a driven, rebellious lead - and that is most definitely Thorne. Tanner and Thorne are complete opposites and as such, play incredibly well off each other. Different strengths, styles and outlooks.
Now, Billinham's plotting is always great and his prose are a treat to read. But, what I really enjoy are the recurring characters. Their Little Secret picks up just after the last book. Now, not to spoil anything but there were some lines crossed by Thorne, Tanner and coroner Phil Hendricks in the last book. The undercurrent of those actions runs just under the surface and the effects are telling nine months later. Thorne's personal life has fallen apart - again. And Tanner's as well. Funnily enough, the 'wild card' of the bunch (Hendricks) has found solid ground.
Billingham throws a curve into the last few chapters that I didn't see coming at all. And there's one unanswered question that will be perhaps answered in the next book?
This is one of my favourite series and Their Little Secret is yet another excellent read from Mark Billingham. See for yourself - here's an excerpt.