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Their Little Secret

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My first Mark Bellingham  book a tense chilling thriller.Found this book unputdownable kept me racing through the pages.Love to discover anew to me author an author with a library of book I can grab.Highky recommend.#netgalley #groveatlantic.
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I have read all of Mark Billingham's books and especially love Tom Thorne.  This book kept me up all night as I couldn't put it down.  The perpetrators were on a different level in this story with an ending that satisfied me nicely!  As always, there is a good mix of crime, and personal issues.  Can't wait for the next one.
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This is my first Tom Thorne murder mystery novel and I really enjoyed it.  I’m going to have to go and read some of the other ones.
The characters are rich and very likable.  The writing takes twists and turns galore.  This mystery isn’t an easy one to solve...had me going to the very end.
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London copper DI Tom Thorne has been entertaining us since his debut in Sleepyhead (2001). His creator, Mark Billingham, has developed an enviably reliable repertory company of other players who share the stage with the main man. There is his best mate Phil Hendricks, a pathologist who, despite being gay, supporting Arsenal against Thorne’s beloved Spurs and having piercings in places where most folk don’t even have places, is the voice of sanity in Thorne’s often chaotic world. Thorne’s love interest (from whom he is currently living apart) is Helen, another police officer, but one who works in the traumatic world of child protection. Nicola Tanner is Thorne’s professional partner and they have history, but not one that either reflects on with much pleasure. Tanner’s partner Susan was brutally killed in a previous episode, and her death hangs over the pair like a pall.

Their Little Secret begins with the much-loved trope of an apparent suicide which is viewed with suspicion by the central character. This time, however, it is slightly different. When a woman goes fatally head-to-head with an underground train, there is no suspicion that she was physically pushed, but Thorne believes that something traumatic - and criminal – tipped her over the edge in both sense of the phrase. He discovers that she had been targeted by a conman who had relieved her of a large sum of money and then disappeared, leaving her heartbroken, ashamed of her own gullibility and with her self-respect shredded. Despite the reluctance of his boss to spend any more time (and money) on the case, Thorne discovers that Philippa Goodwin is not the first victim of the conman.

In an ostensibly unconnected narrative thread, Billingham introduces us to a Sarah, a vulnerable single mum who is anxious to gain the approval of other mums with whom she at the primary school gates twice each day. They seem confident, successful and financially comfortable. Sarah tries to join in with their daily sojourn at a pretentious ‘artisan’ coffee shop after the morning school run, but she still feels like the outsider. Her world is just herself and her son Jamie, and she struggles to compete with the gossip and banter that fly like sparks between Karen, Caroline, Savita and Heather. Until. Until the day when, sitting apart at her own table in HazBeanz, Sarah is chatted up by distinctly fanciable slightly older fellow. Almost instantly, Sarah finds the others anxious to swap phone numbers in return for daily updates about the new romance.

So, we can all see where this is going, yes? Sarah is about to become the latest victim of the romantic predator who Thorne and Tanner will eventually track down and bring to justice? At his point, I will disengage from the plot so as not to spoil things. Suffice it to say that Billingham plays the Pied Piper, and we are the innocent children of Hamelin.

If you are new to the world of Tom Thorne, don’t dismiss this book as just another police procedural. Yes, the atmosphere of the Incident Room, the evidence gathering, the financial pressures and the grim fare of the police canteen – everything is just as it should be, authentic and convincing. But Billingham gives us so much more. Thorne is, in some ways, unlovely. He can be insensitive, self-centred and, it has to be said, something of a slob. His impulsiveness has got him – and others – into bother on more than one occasion, and as for his musical obsession with the lonesome highway world of Hank Williams, you must be your own judge. Earlier novels in the series told of Thorne’s impotent distress at the decline of his father as dementia took hold and turned a fine mind into mush. As middle age peaks and ‘the other side’ beckons, he still dreams of his mum and dad. He is not alone.

There is poetry within the pages of any Tom Thorne novel. It may be brutally comic, and it may be poignant and stark. Thorne recalls the first suicide he had to attend:

“It had been a teenage girl, that first one. A slip of a thing dangling from the branch of an oak tree in Victoria Park. A ripped blue dress and legs like sticks and the muddy heels of her trainers kissing.”

On a grimly humorous note, Thorne/Billingham has a sour take on the pretentions of the middle class London enclave of Shoreditch:

“ It was all a little ….full of itself for his liking. ‘Dirty’ burgers, whatever they were, and shops knocking out overpriced tat that was probably meant to be ironic. A few too many gastropubs serving parsnip dust or garlic foam and more artisan bakeries than you could shake a shiitake mushroom at.”

Their Little Secret is a masterpiece of misdirection, suspense and contains as convincing a portrayal of insanity as I have read in many a long year. Tom Thorne is the perfect hero for our troubled times, Emotionally and professionally, he ploughs a lonely furrow, but his honesty and often clumsy care for those he loves are deeply moving. Their Little Secret is published by Little, Brown and will be available from 2nd May.
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Mark Billingham has produced another great Tom Thorne book. Taking the path of most resistance through his life and caseload, how would any other policeman have even noticed there was a case?
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I would like to thank Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for an advance copy of Their Little Secret, the sixteenth novel to feature DI Tom Thorne of the Met.

Tom’s attention is taken by Philippa Goodwin who threw herself in front of a train. He isn’t sure why but he wants to catch Patrick Jennings, the man who conned her out of a large sum of money and whom Thorne views as her murderer. Meanwhile Sarah and Conrad’s new love affair is taking a darker turn.

I thoroughly enjoyed Their Little Secret which is as much psychological thriller as it is police procedural with several unexpected twists. The novel is split almost 50/50 between the investigation and the examination of Sarah and Conrad and while it works in some ways there are others which, while not failures, don’t work quite so well.

Firstly I will state that I have rated this novel at 4* for its sheer readability. It has an open style which invites the reader in and enough suspense/mystique about where it’s going to keep the reader hooked. If I hadn’t had to sleep I would have read it in one sitting. I also liked the premise that a shady conman could be viewed as a murderer because his callous actions drove a victim to suicide. It would have been interesting if this had been explored more. Instead the author prefers to concentrate on what happens when a passionate love affair turns dark a la Hindley and Brady. To be honest I don’t think this is particularly well done, lacking nuance and a certain amount of context. It just seems to happen. 

As the two strands happen concurrently the reader is more informed than the detectives so the investigative strand is more about how they go about catching the perpetrators than identifying them. There is a lot of hanging about and it never really catches fire. Mr Billingham uses this time to explore Tom’s new reality - life without Helen who has kicked him out and the rebuilding of his friendships with DI Nicola Tanner and pathologist Phil Hendricks.

Their Little Secret is maybe not as exciting as some of the other novels in the series but it is still eminently readable so I have no hesitation in recommending it.
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I’d like to thank Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read ‘Their Little Secret’ by Mark Billingham in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

Whilst working with the Homicide Assessment Team DI Tom Thorne is called out to where Philippa Goodwin has thrown herself in front of a train.  Tom gets the feeling that there’s something not quite right and soon discovers that Philippa has been targeted by a conman who calls himself Patrick Jennings and preys on well-off vulnerable women.  Meanwhile, Sarah meets Conrad in a café after taking her son Jamie to school but Sarah isn’t her real name just as Conrad isn’t his.  But why are they lying?

Mark Billingham has once again written an excellent thriller with DI Tom Thorne as the main character.  It has an exciting plot, believable characters, unexpected twists and turns, and a thrilling conclusion that’s had me gripped from page one.  I like Billingham’s style of writing, the witty dialogue between characters that made me smile, and Phil Hendricks and Nicola Tanner who add their own special touch to the story.  Although ‘Their Little Secret’ may not be as exciting as some of the previous Tom Thorne novels I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it and can’t wait for the next one.
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What a great book I cannot wait for the new books in this series I devoured this one in one sitting you cannot wait to see what happens next I cannot recommend this highly enough there are twists and turns galore buy buy buy
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There's something a little bit off about Sarah, but she's the new mom at the school drop off and she makes friends quickly. Meanwhile, a suicide engages the main detective, Tom Thorne, as he seeks to find the conman who took the victims life savings and ghosted her. When an apparent random killing in another town matches the killer's DNA to the conman, the stories intersect and don't quite make sense. Told in alternating voices of the detective, the mom, and the conman, we see the paths begin to merge and connect, with a final twist or two that was not predicted. 

A quick read - it is the most recent in a series. I plan to start from the beginning and catch up with Tom Thorne. For fans of psychological and domestic thrillers, like those of Gillian Flynn, Tana French, and Leann Moriarty.
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This is the 16th Billingham novel starring his Detective Inspector Tom Thorne as the main character. Billingham is one of the school of British crime writers who began to flourish at the beginning of this new century which also includes another favourite author Mo Hyder, .worthy successors to the likes of Ian Rankin and Val McDermid. They all have in common their exploration of the sordid, grubby underbelly of British life, and their heroes are jobbing, fragile and challenged police officers with more than a few stresses and tensions of their own, 
I was lucky to read Billingham's first Tom Thorne novel "Sleepy Head", when it first came out, and "Their Little Secret" shares with that an imaginative and grotesque central conceit which acts as the main catalyst for the crime under investigation. This is written in typical Billingham style with the first person alternating between Thorne and the main antagonist, The plot is both convoluted and ingenious, starting out apparently as one thing and becoming another, the reader, like Thorne, is misled more than once. 
The characters are generally well portrayed though I cannot help but think that Thorne's entourage, including as it does two gay characters, is somewhat stereotypical and perhaps it was because of this or perhaps because I hadn't read the immediately preceding novels, I found the parts of the story that dealt with the different tensions between them to be the less engaging sections of the narrative.
If you like your crime imaginative and intriguing and are not put off by an exploration of human weakness, Billingham is certainly your guy.
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Tom Thorne’s 16th outing, and still going strong.

Thorne is called to suicide in a London tube station. A woman has thrown herself in front of a train, but when Thorne starts to investigate he finds that not everything is as it seems.

He interviews the woman’s sister and niece. They are convinced that she killed herself because a man she was seeing conned her out of her savings after gaining her trust. They have the man’s name and give Thorne a sketchy outline of his looks.

Meanwhile, at the school gates, after seeing their children into school a group of parents gather for a coffee and pastry at a local café. This has become a routine but one of the women, Sarah, is a little out of place. She feels detached from the group, doesn't like most of the other parents and stays on the periphery mostly. A stranger starts to talk to her while she is using her laptop and the others are chatting. She knows she is being ‘chatted up' but, instead of ignoring the man, she responds. They exchange mobile numbers, and suddenly she has the undivided attention of the whole group. 

Thorne is fighting the powers that be to let him pursue the tube woman's ‘suicide' as something more. He's given a little time, but when he receives a call from Margate police about a brutal murder of a teenager there and the DNA connection to his own case, he knows that he is on the right track.

Mark Billingham’s writing style continues to grab hold of his readers and keep them until the last page. In this, the 16th book, Thorne is as alive and vibrant as ever. 

As is usual with books in series, the characters move on, and there is some mention of past cases and personal issues. It is undoubtedly the case here but does not detract from the story, and the book can easily be read as a stand-alone novel. All the usual supporting characters are here – Hendricks, the gay, tattooed and pierced pathologist; Tanner, the ultra-efficient widowed lesbian detective and Helen, Thorne's erstwhile partner and her young son.

A thoroughly enjoyable read and highly recommended.

Mr Bumblebee

Breakaway Reviewers received a copy of the book to review.
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I love English mysteries and police procedural books so this was an easy pick. However, I was surprised at how often I put it down. Was that because it had so many different but eventually related plots or was it something else? I do admit to skipping ahead and coming back quite frequently but I finally finished the book after two weeks. For someone who loves figuring out the ending early on, this was a frustrating read because I was stumped until very near the end. Kudos to the author for making the reader work so hard.
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Cleverly paced writing that ends up at one of thse “ahaaa, I see now moments!”  Their Little Secret sure drove this novel right up to the reveal.
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Their Little Secret(Tom Thorne #17) by Mark Billingham- Police Detective Tom Thorne is like a dog without a stick unless he's on a murder investigation. When a young woman leaps in front of a subway train with no hesitation, he knows it's not suicide- It's murder! He and DI Tanner begin a complex and baffling search for persons and reasons, and the bodies start piling up. Soon it looks as though no amount of clever deduction is going to give them a clue as to what is going on. Meanwhile, a psychotic woman and her con-man boyfriend are only getting started. This British police procedural is full of nice twists and surprises, and much more entertaining than your run-of-the-mill detective story. With a spotlight on provocative characters, interesting insight into their daily struggles, and a glimpse at madness slowly going out of control, a great read!
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Thrilling read through the end! Great for lovers of detective suspense stories. It kept me up to finish it in one night.
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This is an excellent book with a seriously flawed antagonist and a storyline which is exciting from beginning to end. It is a little Columbo-esque because the book is written from the perspective of both the police officers involved and the criminals themselves and so the two different points of view are chillingly different. That doesn't mean there are no surprises to be had and there were absolutely no anticlimactic moments. 

I recently read a book where the killers were the 'stars', there was little or no evidence of law enforcement on show and their flawed reasoning was accepted throughout, it didn't work. In this instance however,  by adding a resolute police presence and a strong sense of right and wrong the resulting story was totally different. The only reason for 4 stars is, and I appreciate I may be wrong about this, the issue of the child. I don't think, from my own experience, she could have got away with that, twice a day. (I'm not being vague, just trying to avoid spoilers)

I was able to read an advanced copy of this book thanks to Netgalley and the publishers in exchange for an unbiased review and would highly recommend it to all Mark Billingham fans or those who enjoy first rate British crime novels.
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4 stars

Tom Thorne, Nicola Tanner and Phil Hendricks are back in this latest novel from Mark Billingham. 

When DI Tom Thorne responds to the scene of a suicide, he suspects that not is as it seems. The video shows only the woman ruing toward and throwing herself on the subway track, but what drove her to it? He and DI Nic Tanner cajole their boss into letting Tom run with the investigation. It turns out that the woma was involved with an unscruplous “financial planner” who bilked her out of a considerable sum of money. Tom wants to nail the guy in the worst way. 

Before long, there is a series of murders wihich to contend.  

When the two invstigations dovetail, Nicola, Tom and the rest of the team know that they are on to something big. Nic and Tom be to bicker about the details of the case. 

With stunning mindbending twists, the full story come out to the reader. I think I sat with my mouth open. 

I like the way that Mr. Billingham keeps the reader apprised of Tom, Nic and Phil's lives. It enhances the story, but does not overwhelm it. I also like the joke-y manner they sometimes take with one another. This story is written and plotted in Billingham's usual style, that is to say brilliantly. His story ideas are fresh and contemporary. His transitions are smooth, his characters interesting and this story has a unique and interesting foundation. Some little secret, for sure!

I want to thank NetGalley and Grove Atlantic/Atlantic Monthly Press for forwarding to me a copy of this great book for me to read, enjoy and review.
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Mark Billingham has once again delivered a superb thriller in the ever excellent DI Tom Thorne series.Again he teams up with DI Nicola Tanner to look into the suicide of a woman which Thorne finds suspicious and then a murder in Kent is linked and the hunt is on to find the killer.As ever Phil Hendricks offers his unique take on every thing concerning Thorne's life and yet again what you get is another unputdownable 5 star thriller from the ever excellent Mark Billingham.If you enjoy this genre of books then I urge you to start this series of Tom Thorne books you won't be disappointed !!
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You are going to fall in love with Thorne, no doubt about it. You can read this book as a standalone, but I highly recommend you read the other books in the series. 

In this installation, Detective Thorne is called out to the site of a suicide. He expects this to be an open and shut case, but as you will soon find out this is no ordinary suicide.

The characters are rich and intense and leave you wanting more. 

Bellingham is an excellent story teller, one we hope will be around for a long time.
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This book was interesting because there are really two villains in the story, and you are unaware of that until their paths cross. Sarah is a "mom" who lives her life for her son Jamie, going to his school every day for drop off and pick up. Conrad is a con artist, going after lonely women with money. Thorne is a police detective. He gets involved when a woman jumps in front of a train, committing suicide. It turns out she had been victimized by Conrad and taken for a great deal of money. Her shame led her to suicide, and Thorne believes that the police should go after the man responsible. This was an interesting story; I've never really read anything like it. This book is part of a series, and I have not read any of the others. While I liked the storyline, I didn't find the police characters to be interesting or likeable. This will likely deter me from seeking out the other books in the series. I received an advance proof copy from netgalley in return for an honest review.
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