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Wednesday, 8 June 2016

‘Time of Death’ by Mark Billingham

Published by Little, Brown Book Group, 
23 April 2015. 
ISBN: 978-1-4087-0481-3

Two schoolgirls have been abducted. Both come from the same small close-knit, suburban village somewhere near the Cotswolds. Stephan Bates, the father of one of the missing girls is arrested, and suspected of the abductions.

DI Tom Thorne is on holiday with PC Helen Weeks, when they hear the news. They are holidaying close to the village of the crime. Helen Weeks was at school with the mother of one of the missing girls, Linda Bates, the wife of the arrested suspect, so Thorne and Helen Weeks abandon their holiday and drive over to lend support to Helen’s old school buddy.

While Helen visits Linda Bates, DI Tom Thorne cannot help but involve himself in the case and goes in to the local station to learn more. He believes they have arrested the wrong man, and that a potential killer is out there, and may strike again.

Then a body turns up, although the father is in custody. And then the media descend on the town and the fireworks really fly. Thorne immediately intervenes on the case, and makes many waves in his determination to find the right killer, and bring closure to the mother and the whole of the grieving village.  He is also aware that a second body has not, as yet, been found, and he knows this means there is a slim chance the second girl is still alive, and time therefore, is everything.

The story is told through more than just Thorne and Helen’s point of view. We also get the voice of one of the girls, and the abductor.

Billingham is a master of characterisation and nail-biting tension, two of the main ingredients that make up a first class crime novel. Miss this one at your peril. I eagerly await his next.

Reviewer: Linda Regan

Mark Billingham is one of the UK's most acclaimed and popular crime writers. A former actor, television writer and stand-up comedian, his series of novels featuring D.I. Tom Thorne has twice won him the Crime Novel Of The Year Award as well as the Sherlock Award for Best British Detective and been nominated for seven CWA Daggers. His standalone thriller IN THE DARK was chosen as one of the twelve best books of the year by the Times and his debut novel, SLEEPYHEAD was chosen by the Sunday Times as one of the 100 books that had shaped the decade. Each of his novels has been a Sunday Times Top Ten bestseller.  A television series based on the Thorne novels was screened in Autumn 2010, starring David Morrissey as Tom Thorne and series based on the standalone thrillers In the Dark and Rush of Blood are currently in development with the BBC.

Linda Regan is the author of six police procedural crime novels. She is also an actress. She holds a Masters degree in critical writing and journalism, and writes a regular column, including book reviews, for three magazines. She also presents the book-club spot on BBC Radio Kent. She is an avid reader, and welcomes the chance to read new writers

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