Cover Image: Their Little Secret

Their Little Secret

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Member Reviews

I haven't read a Mark Billingham book before, in fact, other than the name sounding vaguely familiar for some reason, I don' think that prior to a couple of weeks ago, I knew who he was. Then, via a round-about route, that involved watching Red Dwarf with my kids and thinking of other things that they would enjoy, I was looking into what happened to other actors from Maid Marion and her Merry Men and discovered that one of the Sherif of Nottingham's hapless sidekicks was now an author. It wasn't until I got into the most recent of his books, after getting it on NetGalley that I discovered that I'd actually see TV adaptations of some of them a few years ago. I'm well aware that I'm rambling and that this has nothing to do with my review, but please indulge me for a second or scan through that, until I start my review proper:
It's always a joy to discover a new detective series. This one is number 16, so it's clear that there has been a lot already in the series. Did that matter? Not really. I suspect that I could quite easily go back and read earlier ones without them being ruined, although at least one earlier case was mentioned in this book, at least in passing.
Thorn is, like many other of his ilk, a bit of a mess, but a good detective. I liked reading about him and although he's clearly far from perfect, he was an interesting lead in this story. Perhaps that's what made him interesting and likeable?
The story is about two people who work, in their own way, in a web of lies and fabrication. One is a con-man who takes women for their life savings and the other a woman who lies to satisfy what is lacking in her own life. Once they meet, they become something much darker and more intense. This particular story gives insight into the criminals from the start, so although everything isn't revealed, this isn't a mystery to solve by the reader. It is still gripping and entertaining and I read on, anxious to know how it would play out.
Told from multiple points of view, it was easy to almost feel some level of sympathy for the wrongdoers. I think Billingham is careful to not give too much insight into how they became who they are so that we know that Thorn and Tanner are on the side of justice and good.
This might be my first Mark Billingham, Tom Thorne novel, but I strongly suspect that it won't be my last. A great read.
I received a complimentary copy of this book through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
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3.5 stars. This is the first book (out of 16) in the Tom Thorne series that I’ve read. Although there appeared to be some background issues that I didn’t fully get, this can be read as a stand alone story. The writing was good and the story line interesting, but the Thorne character was pretty  . . . bland? Maybe if I had read some of the earlier books, I would be more invested in Thorne, his moodiness, and the other detectives. The killers were sex-crazed psychopaths (the sex is insinuated and not graphic) and the ending was decent. Overall, good enough to make me want to read other books in this series.
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A well-crafted crime novel that proves utterly absorbing and, satisfyingly sinister. "Their Little Secret"is a gripping thriller with a  page-turning plot !!
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Ah, l’amour…..ain’t it grand. Well, you might want to hold that thought. While many people exchange rings as a symbol of their union, you’re about to meet a couple who are a little…uh…less traditional.

Tom Thorne is called to one of the underground stations where the body of a young woman lies across the tracks. There’s not much doubt she took her own life but in the interest of ticking all the boxes, he begins to dig into her background. It seems she was the victim of a charming scam artist who professed his love before emptying her bank account. And like her money, he’s gone. 

In alternate chapters we meet Sarah, a mysterious young woman who spends her mornings bonding with other moms after dropping her son at school. It’s a quiet life but that may be about to change. She recently met a charismatic man who’s obviously interested & begins to wonder if he could be “the one”. 

And that’s all I’ll say about that side of the story. Just know it took off in directions I never could have predicted with plenty of WTH moments along the way. 

Meanwhile Tom & DI Nicola Tanner have more than enough to keep them busy. Another body & another woman who believed she’d found true love. Right up until the guy disappeared with her savings. Tom begins to take the cases personally. His own love life is in shambles & if he can’t fix that, maybe he can find some justice for these women whose only mistake was to trust the wrong man. 

There’s a darker tone to this outing than previous books in the series. Partly due to the subject matter but also because of Tom. He’s (sort of) single again & not taking it well. Or maybe too well…he’s not sure. He’s more reflective than usual but veers away from examining himself too closely.  Either way, he’s in a funk & moping has become a part time job. Thankfully, Phil Hendricks is around to verbally kick his butt in typical style. 

Tanner, also, is mourning lost love. As partners go, she & Tom are chalk & cheese but have learned to accept each others tics. To be honest, I’m still warming up to her character. And with both MC’s singing the blues, I found this instalment lacking a bit of the usual sparkle (thank God for Phil). 

However, it’s completely in keeping with the story lines. Love in all its forms is definitely the theme of the story. Fated, unrequited, lost or obsessive….we witness the degrees of happiness or carnage that can result when 2 lives collide. Just be warned: by the time the dust settles, you might start thinking of love as a four letter word.
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In this splendid series Mark Billingham keeps the reader engrossed not only by the plot lines but by shaking up the personal lives of the principal characters.  Here we see Tom Thorne back in his own flat following the breakdown of his relationship with Helen..  The two main villains have a Brady/Hindley relationship consisting of fake identities and false lives.  Murder and kidnap eventually lead to the inevitable implosion of their relationship and the detailing of this outcome is fascinating.
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This is Billingham at his best . He knows how to craft believable flawed characters and fast paced keep you guessing plots. Loved this one.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me review this book
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I didn't know "Their Little Secret" was part of a series: for that reason, the first few chapters were a little bewildering. But I got over it fast and this novel does stand alone. What a treat! To find a writer who has lots and lots of books still to read!

This is a very good psychological thriller with some very twisted characters. Detective Inspector Tom Thorne is called to the suicide of a woman who threw herself in front of a train. He learns that she was the victim of a con man who bilked her out of everything. Thorne sees this as a homicide, not a suicide, and decides to pursue the conman despite  being told to leave it alone. 

Dedicated mom Sarah waits outside a school to pick up her son Jamie and meets the same parents to drop him off. She's trying to fit in at the new school to help her son make friends. She goes with them to a local coffee shop where she meets a handsome man named Conrad. Sparks fly. We figure out who he is pretty fast, but what about Sarah? Will she be his next victim?. 

I loved the way the story fit together, the surprises along the way. There are no holes in the story, it's smooth, tricky, and delectable. I'm tickled that there are, what, 15 other novels by this writer to enjoy?

Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for allowing me to review this novel.
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Their Little Secret is another great read by ark Billingham with fully developed characters and plot line. Worth the read!
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Billingham at his absolute best.  I love the Tom Thorne series and once again was not disappointed.  A compelling page turner that was difficult to put down.  Can’t wait for the next instalment.
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I love the Tom Thorne series,and this is another great addition. Tom as usual relied upon him his instincts and realised it wasn't an open and shut case.  I really enjoy his relationship with nicola tanner and I hope to see how her character evolves along with the friendship of Tom and Phil.  The only nit pick I have, is at one point it says,the victim is single and then found by her boyfriend. 
A very small point in a brilliant book.
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4.5 stars.

  Their Little Secret by Mark Billingham is a fascinating mystery that is quite compelling. Although this newest release is the sixteenth installment in the Tom Thorne series, it can easily be read as a standalone. But I HIGHLY recommend the previous novels as well.

  Although not technically a crime, Detective Inspector Tom Thorne is deeply troubled about the death of Phillipa Goodwin.  Tom acknowledges there is absolutely no question she committed suicide. However, he convinces his boss DCI Russell Brigstocke to allow him to dig a little deeper into the conman who  swindled a hefty sum from Phillipa. Although he knows it is a long shot, Thorne enters the man’s DNA and prints into the system hoping to identify the man.  While the search does not turn up any new information, Tom is stunned when a short time later, the DNA is matched to the murder of a seventeen year old Kevin Deane. Thorne and DI Nicola Tanner are tracking down leads when another murder ratchets up the pressure on them to catch what they now know to be two people working together.   Will Tom and Nicola unmask their murderers’ identities? Or will these crafty killers elude justice?

  The chapters alternate back and forth between the police investigation and a single mother whose path crosses with a good looking man.  Although she maintains a bit of a distance, Sarah is friendly with the other mums and dads at her son’s school.  The group gathers together frequently at a local coffee shop where Sarah catches the attention on a handsome stranger. Before long, Sarah and her new man are enmeshed in a passionate and all consuming affair that takes a very shocking turn.

  Both Tom’s and Nicola’s respective personal lives are in a bit of turmoil. Nicola is still recovering from the loss of her partner and she remains deeply troubled by the events from seven months ago. Tom is back at his apartment at the request of his longtime girlfriend Helen. He is in a bit of a quandary as he tries to decide whether he wants to reconcile with Helen or leave the relationship behind.

  Their Little Secret is a very twisted mystery that is quite suspenseful. With a dearth of viable leads, Tom and Nicola hit one dead end after another throughout the investigation. Both are frustrated by their lack of progress but once the case finally comes together, they have to act fast if they are going to catch their killers. This latest police procedural from Mark Billingham is a dark and diabolically clever mystery that old and new fans of the Tom Thorne series do not want to miss.
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DI Tom Thorne, assigned to the Homicide Assessment Team, is called to the scene of an apparent suicide of a young woman.  Sarah, sitting in a cafe, after dropping off her son at school, meets a handsome, charming man. Then a man's body is found on the beach.  How are these events related?  From here, Billingham develops a clever plot revolving around damaged and dangerous people.  The story, told from multiple points of view, flows smoothly.. The sense of place is vivid.  Added together, all of these aspects provide a captivating crime novel.
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Another fantastic book from Mark Billingham in the Tom Thorne series. 
Great story, original characters and packed full of action.
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Another instalment in the Tom Thorne Detective series and lets be fair, they never let you down! Tom attends the scene of a suicide where a woman threw herself in front of a train, he can't seem to get away from the fact that all was not what it seemed, it was obvious she jumped but he just can't shake that feeling!!!

Thorn decides to do some digging and it turns out the woman, Phillipa Goodwin had been conned by a man called Patrick Jennings, so not only did she lose a lump sum but her life also as obviously couldn't live with the shame of it... Thorne makes it his mission to track down this Jennings..... 

With plenty of action and more cases, Thorne has a big case load and has a lot going on or off (depending on your outlook!!!) in her personal life.

As always, a great read with plenty of twists and red herrings along the way, if you love a good twist police procedural read, then this series is for you.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for an advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion.
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I loved this book and would highly recommend it to all.  It has a great story line, brilliant main characters and is a real page turner.  I couldn't put this book down.
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DI Tom Thorne has lost a lot, but his instinct isn't one of those, so when he feels compelled to further investigate an obvious suicide, it turns out to be more than everyone expected. Sarah and Conrad are a pair that came together by accident, but their relationship turns to flames quickly, some good and some bad. Mostly good for them and very bad for everyone else. With Thorne battling his heart and his libido, will he be able to piece together these cases and the identity of the killers before Britain is engulfed?
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Zipped through this in a couple of long afternoons. Not because it’s a lightweight read, but because the trademark Thorne short chapters and crackling dialogue make it very ‘moreish’ as usual.
It seemed maybe a little slower in the first quarter than previous books but soon picked up. Fraud tips over into murder and Thorne, Tanner and the rest of the team have to piece together why that is and who is doing it. I found myself wondering if Sarah could indeed access the places she did and I’m still not sure in this age of locked schools and safeguarding, but that doesn’t detract from the story too much. I don’t recall a dog being featured before the end, either? These issues aside it’s still miles ahead of most crime novels these days and the author resists making Thorne any kind of Hero whilst not over-emphasising his flaws, rather letting the character develop naturally and not at the expense of fleshing out supporting characters.
Thoroughly enjoyed this latest instalment, roll on the next!
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Another great book in the Tom Thorne series. Thorne turns up to the scene of the suicide of a poor woman who has thrown herself in front of the train . Something doesn’t sit right with Thorne he then finds out she was seeing someone who took all her money . Then in Margate a murdered lad turns up and the D.N.A matches with Thornes . The Conman now changes his appearance onto his next victim Sarah. This is a book that keeps you well in thralled to the end .
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Very different style to this book and I really enjoyed it up until the end. I don't feel things were explained very clearly and it seemed a bit rushed.
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Having read all of the Tom Thorne novels I couldn't wait to get stuck into the latest.
Throughout the book you knew clearly what was going on while being totally confused at the same time!!Mark Billingham clearly has a very complex and twisted mind! Once again there was a little something towards the end that you hadn't been expecting.
When's the next book out? 😊
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