Cover Image: Their Little Secret

Their Little Secret

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Member Reviews

The Thorne series never seems to disappoint. This is one of my favorite UK series.  I am always seeking Mark's books out before they hit North American shelves as the characters are well written and researched.  The stories are well described and you never lose interest in the book and the plot lines.  I look forward to seeing how Thorne continues to develop.
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I'm sorry it took me so long to actually read THEIR LITTLE SECRET. Mark Billingham's detective, Tom Thorne, somewhat reminds me of Ian Rankin's John Rebus. Great London setting. Terrific, snappy dialogue. Strong characterization. Twisty plot, although I did figure out a major plot surprise well ahead of its reveal. The basic gist of this novel is a cat-and-mouse hunt for a man and woman who not only become passionate lovers, but also passionate killers. This is great fun and should be on the bookshelf of all crime fiction lovers.
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It's been way too long since I've read a Tom Thorne novel. It hasn't been because I stopped liking them, I just fell behind and then had no idea where I was! So when I saw this and knew it was the latest I thought sod it, let's just start here. Oh the regret. So much has obviously happened to Thorne since my last read. Now I'll have to work backwards. As if my TBR pile wasn't high enough already. But never fear. If you're not much of a completist then this could still be the book for you if you like a well plotted and characterised police procedual. Billingham treads the fine line between a book that can stand alone but also please those following the arc with much more dedication than me! 

The story is one of lies and a love so obsessive it becomes dangerous to all around them. There's shades of Hindley and Brady in this story, thankfully with no child crime though. It's a compelling story that kept me up all night. Tom Thorne will no doubt be back and this time I wont lose track!
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Another great Tom Thorne book, not to be missed
Thanks to Netgalley for the ARC in return for an honest review.
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Even though this novel is 16th in a series, it reads well as a stand-alone. It was interesting, engaging and intriguing. The protagonist appears like he could have been the inspiration for Robert Gailbraith’s Strike. The author manages the plot well and hints at prior events in a way that makes you want to be in on the secret, not feel like you missed something. I will definitely read the rest of the Tom Thorne series!
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I've been a fan of Mark Billingham and his Tom Thorne series for many years, and this latest installment doesn't disappoint.

While you know that Sarah and Conrad are responsible for the murders in the book, you are kept guessing as to how they will be caught and I had a grim fascination with how their relationship would develop and which rituals they would have.

Round the murder investigation, Mark Billingham has also included details of how events of previous books have an impact on Tom's live, especially his relationship with Helen and Alfie.

I found this a very well thought out book with lots to keep my attention throughout.

Thanks to Netgalley and the publishers for the ARC
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This is the 16th installment in the Tom Thorne detective series and although this one is a little more darker than usual it delivers and ticks off all of the boxes for first rate crime fiction and procedurals.  This one opens when Tom and Nicola Tanner solve the mysterious death of a suicide in an underground train station.  At first Tom thinks that this is an open and shut case of a suicide as he digs deeper he discovers that he has come across something more sinister.  A woman named Philippa Goodwin was the victim of a very talented and successful con artist who along with her love he scammed her out of all of her money.

Next Tom investigated a murder of a man by a seaside town and he discovers DNA left at the scene as belonging to Patrick  Patrick is the name of the con artist that billed Philippa out of all of her money.  Tom and his team Nicola and Phil are busy trying to find out how the DNA identifying Patrick Jennings and the murdered body of the man found by the sea are linked together.

Meanwhile their is a dangerous duo on the loose Sarah and Conrad.  Sarah is a complete psychopath  and the two of them seem to recognize in each other's unique pretensions that they show society.

This book could be read as a stand alone as I was able to understand but maybe I missed some of the back story in previous installments that would clue me in to the lack of romance both he and Nicola are mourning in this novel.
I am a huge Mark Billingham fan and have read two of his previous written murder mysteries that were also stand alone.  I still enjoyed this one immensely even though it is my first foray into the Tom Thorne series.  

There were some great twists and turns in this novel.  Discovering that as the prior novel does bring up some information that I missed, it wasn't anything spoilery so that I would not have read anything to lessen my enjoyment of his previous novels.  This is my favorite of all time author's of British police procedurals.  It is most likely that I adore Mark Billingham's writing.  It isn't too British for me not to understand the different regions lexicon of phrases that in other procedurals from Britain I don't always know what certain phrases mean being American.

Mark Billingham's books have snappy dialogue and his character development is done very well.  I am so excited that while waiting for his next Tom Thorne installment to be published I can go back and start with the first one and have fifteen more to look forward to.

Thank you to Net Galley, Mark Billingham' and Grove Atlantic for providing me with my ARC in exchange for a fair and honest review.
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Tom Thorne is a favourite of mine, and for good reason. He’s prickly, sardonic and frequently a tad rude, but he has a huge heart underneath it all and a keen sense of justice. Couple all of that with his love for Indian takeaways and you have a winner.

It’s hard to believe there have been sixteen books in this series, and it just keeps getting better and better. Mark Billingham has a real talent for writing twisty mysteries that nonetheless don’t all hinge on the final “shock” moment as so many do these days.

In Their Little Secret, Thorne is called to the scene of a suicide. A woman has jumped in front of a commuter train, and a homicide detective needs to sign to say there was nothing suspicious or untoward about the death. But something just seems off, and soon, Thorne is visiting the woman’s family and learning that she was recently swindled by a conman who made off with almost a hundred thousand pounds of her savings.

Angered but with his hands tied, Thorne hands it off to the Fraud department. All seems back to normal until a young man is found murdered on a beach – miles away – and the conman’s DNA is found beneath his fingernails…

Told from alternating perspectives, Their Little Secret lets us into the minds of not only Tom Thorne, but also Sarah, a deeply troubled young woman with a dark secret, and Conrad, the scam artist bilking women out of their savings, who becomes entangled with one person that he can’t quite control.

Put simply, I was riveted. This is one of Billingham’s best Thorne novels. The genius here is not being quite sure of anyone’s true motivations. The feeling of being on the edge of a avalanche that may tumble with the crack of a tree branch. Even the relationships between Thorne, Hendricks and Nicola Tanner seem balanced on the precipice, teetering on the brink of a fall. Their own kinship may be what ultimately destroys them.

That, they have in common with the killers. Their little secrets, threatening everything.

Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC in exchange for an honest review. I appreciate it!
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Mark Billingham's story continues with the lives of Thorne, Tanner, and Hendricks as they pursue a con artist who becomes involved sexually with a delusional and jealous woman. An intriguing premise which keeps the reader on their toes. There is enough activity in this tale of suicide , murder, deception plus the conflicts in Thorne's personal life.
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My thanks to the Grove Atlantic and Netgalley for providing a copy of the eBook for my review and comment.   The views expressed below are my own.

This is a police procedural mystery set in present day England, and is the 16th book in the Tom Thorne series.  Thorne is a police detective in London.   

The story begins with Thorne investigating a suspected suicide death on the underground; jumping in front of a speeding train is not a pleasant way to die.  Readers are soon introduced to Conrad and Sarah who meet for the first time at a posh coffee shop where Sarah goes every day with a group of parents after they have dropped off their children at a local school. They are not your average Londoners though, Conrad being a trickster who preys on single women and Sarah having an imaginary son.  We follow this creepy couple as they go about their twisted activity, pursued by Thorne and his colleague Nicole Tanner.

This is a brilliant and edgy police thriller with truly interesting villains and police detectives. Their individual stories are well-blended into a compelling narrative that makes this a standout read.  It's the second of the Thorne series that I have read, and I will definitely be looking fo enjoy future releases.  This one can be read as a standalone even though it's the 16th in a series.
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I am so thrilled to have finally read a book from this 'new-to-me' series! 

Although it is book sixteen in Mark Billingham’s 'Tom Thorne' crime fiction collection, "Their Little Secret" is the first one I’ve read. It worked well enough as a standalone for me, but admittedly, as with any series, I would prefer to read them in chronological order. 

This was a fabulous psychological thriller with some very twisted characters. I loved Mark Billingham's writing style, the smoothness of the story and the many surprises along the way.  I liked Tom Thorne very much, the protagonist, who was a middle-aged detective inspector living in London. All of the characters were distinct and well-developed and I was hooked by this compelling storyline from the very start. There were many plot twists and I loved the unpredictable ending.  
I'm so pleased that there are fifteen other novels by this writer in the series, to enjoy.

I received a complimentary digital copy of this novel, at my own request, from Grove Atlantic via NetGalley. This review is my own unbiased opinion.
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Called out to confirm a suicide, Thorne feels there is a need to look further into the life of the deceased, Phillipa Goodwin. Death by train was a horrific way to go, and according to Goodwin’s sister, there had been someone new in Phillipa’s life who may have driven her to end it all. Someone who had made a fool of Phillipa, and that humiliation may have been too much for a lonely woman to bear. 
Two can keep a secret, right, if one of them is dead?  Or if one of them hasn’t yet been royally p*ssed off by the other.  The romantic swindler who has now come across Detective Inspector Tom Thorne’s radar does not seem to be acting alone, and may have himself just become the swindled.  Regardless of the poetic justice at play, Thorne soon has two killers to find rather than the usual solo operator.  Game on.

There’s always the hopeful possibility in a crime investigation that the bonds of a shared secret may begin to fray as the risk of discovery increases. Detective Inspector Tom Thorne for one has his fingers crossed for that hopeful eventuality.  It would be preferable though that it not apply to the threeway shared secret that he himself is party to.  Tom Throne is rattling around a bit after the events of THE KILLING KIND forced him in a triad of secrecy with D.I. Nicola Tanner and forensic examiner Phil Hendricks.  Tom Thorne loves these two people in his own way, so it is their shared knowledge about an event that occurred in the previous year that continues to simmer away in the background of their interactions in THEIR LITTLE SECRET. 
Don’t you just love it when the suspicions you had whilst reading a series prior do turn out to be spot on? THEIR LITTLE SECRET has lots of rewarding little goodies for the regular reader of the Tom Thorne novels.   Don’t get too comfy thinking you know Tom Thorne inside and out, as he is an ever-changing creature.  Definitely not fickle or the type to endlessly ‘fanny about’, and absolutely still able to surprise his regular readers so many novels into this best-selling series. 

THEIR LITTLE SECRET takes us to new and dark places with a new kind of criminal.  As always, mandatory reading for the lovers of UK police procedural, this deliciously twisty ride into what lurks beneath in the suburbs is disturbing and revealing.  The local café, the local primary school, the local shops.  Who knows what prowls the everyday of our lives unseen.
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Their Little Secret is the first book I've read by Mark Billingham and boy was it a good one! DI Tom Thorne was conducting what appeared to be a routine assessment where a suicide took place. As he's going through the usual  motions, something doesn't sit right with him and he thinks there is more to the story. Sure enough he finds out he was right and it turns out that Philippa Goodwin, the individual who committed suicide, fell victim to a con-man and he has other victims! Not long after when a body is found on the shore line it is discovered that the two cases are tied together. This leads DI Thorne and his partner DI Tanner on a long journey to discover the truth. Who is the con man? Is he working alone? Who else is involved? These are just a few of the questions you'll want to know as you try to figure out what the truth is under all the lies and secrets. This is a great thriller with so many twists and turns and crimes that it will shock you. I could not put this one down! Thank you to Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for an ARC copy in exchange for an honest review.
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EXCERPT: Tom Thorne watched as the bag containing the woman's body was lifted, as gently as was possible, from the tracks. He saw the telltale sag in the middle before it was laid down on the platform, where those pieces that were unattached had slid together. Where the liquid had pooled inside the plastic.

What was left of the woman's body ...

ABOUT THIS BOOK: When DI Tom Thorne is called to conduct a routine assessment at the site of a suicide, he expects to be in and out in no time. But when he arrives at the metro station, where a woman named Philippa Goodwin threw herself in front of an underground train, Thorne inexplicably senses something awry and feels compelled to dig deeper. He soon discovers that she was the victim of a callous con-man who preys on vulnerable women, and whose deception plunged Philippa to her end. Thorne enlists DI Nicola Tanner to help him track down the swindler and bring him to justice. But the detective duo gets more than they bargained for when a young man's bludgeoned body turns up on the shore of a nearby seaside town. The two cases come together in a way that neither of the detectives could have foreseen. 

MY THOUGHTS: Hard to believe I know, but every book in this series just seems to get better and better, and I am always waiting breathlessly for the next to be published. The plotting in this is superb, the writing suspenseful and thrilling, the characters chilling.

Billingham is a master at balancing our need for personal information about the characters, their lives and loves, with the professional approach to solving the crime. There are plenty of twists and turns, and a few near misses......

Brilliant! A book I could not put down.


THE AUTHOR: Mark Billingham was born and brought up in Birmingham. Having worked for some years as an actor and more recently as a TV writer and stand-up comedian his first crime novel was published in 2001. Mark lives in North London with his wife and two children.

Also writes as Will Peterson with Peter Cocks.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Grove Atlantic via NetGalley for providing a digital ARC of Their Little Secret by Mark Billingham for review. All opinions expressed in this review are my personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system, please refer to my profile page on or the about page on my webpage sandysbookaday/ This review and others also appear on my webpage
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4.5 Stars Another wonder thriller, Their Little Secret gripped me with its intensity and intrigue. I loved the edge of you seat storyline, the twists and engaging plot and will definitely be recommending and looking to read more
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Another winning title from Mark Billingham. I enjoyed these horrible characters and their internecine games. This author writes from the perspective of the worst of characters so compellingly that as readers we inhabit a parallel, twisted reality, temporarily. I'll be brief because I've done a review previously and it may or may not have registered, for I am being asked again. So, just to say, thank you for the opportunity to read and review this book, which was utterly satisfying in its careful weaving of plot against character.
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Since reading Sleepyhead all those years ago Tom Thorne has been both my favourite fictional cop and my guilty crush. I therefore eagerly await each new title and as usual this one did not disappoint.
When DNA evidence links the person who defrauded a young woman leading to her suicide and the murder of a teenage boy in a seaside town DI Tom Thorne and his colleague DI Nicola Tanner think there must be some mistake. Surely these crimes have nothing in common but the evidence says otherwise. Add to this a seemingly typical group of young mothers meeting at the school gates and the vicious murder of a teacher and you have a compelling story.
 As in earlier books I love the dynamic between the country music loving Thorne and tattooed and pierced pathologist Phil Hendricks. An odder pair would be harder to find but somehow their friendship works with the OCD, by the book Tanner providing the perfect foil for their laid back personalities. Finally, without spoiling the book for future readers, I have to say that I loved the little ironic twist in the last chapters. Top marks to the author.

Review will also be posted on and
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I have read a number of books by Mark Billingham and when i had the opportunity to read 'Their Little Secret' featuring Detective Inspector Tom Thorne, i jumped at the opportunity.  The book did not disappoint!  As one would expect from this author, an excellent story.  I never write what a story is about as i prefer one to read the book for themselves, but i do highly recommend.

My thanks to Netgalley and the Publishers for my copy.  This is my honest review, freely given.  

Review can be seen on Goodreads, but am awaiting Amazon to process the review.
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When a book opens with lines from one of my all time favourite songs, I just know I'm onto a winner! This book is the latest instalment in the excellent Tom Thorne series and is no exception. In this story DI Tom Thorne attends the routine assessment of a suicide, a woman called Philippa Goodwin who threw herself in front of an underground train, and further investigations reveal that she had been the victim of a callous con-man. Although there is no doubt that her death was suicide, Thorne convinces his boss, DCI Russell Brigstocke, to allow him and DI Nicola Tanner to dig a little deeper into this man known as Patrick Jennings who preyed on vulnerable women. DNA from the victim's home shows nothing on the police database but when it later matches to the death of a young man on a Margate beach, they are pulled into a murder investigation. This story alternates with the chapters about Sarah, a single mother working from home who meets up with other parents in the local coffee shop and falls heavily for a charming man she meets in there. Has she met the wrong man? Or has he set his sights on the wrong woman this time? With Thorne and Tanner both nursing different forms of grief in their private lives things are at times a little tense between the two of them, showing their human sides. Fortunately this only seems to make them more determined to find justice for the victims. As events take a more shocking turn, this soon becomes a very twisted tale of love, passion, devotion and sacrifice, with disturbing insights from the couple involved. It is dark and suspenseful, and full of tangled lies and lives which will keep the reader guessing for the most part. A clever mystery from a master storyteller. If you're a fan of this series you will not want to miss this!
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Things are seldom what they seem on the face of it in a Billingham novel and sorting it out is the pleasure of the read.  Here, Thorne and his partner DI Nicola Tanner find themselves chasing a con man who has entranced and fleeced women.  There's an alternating chapter about a young woman named Sarah.  Things will come together, as you know, but not in the way you might expect.  Thorne and Tanner are both coping with changes in their own lives and Thorne, in particular, is a bit morose.  If you're a fan of this series or even if you've only read one or two, as I have, or none at all, you will find this a good read.  These are well drawn characters, a sufficiently complex mystery, and the writing is perfect- not too much not too little.  Thanks to the publisher for the ARC.  Perfect for fans of the British procedural.
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