Cover Image: Cry Baby

Cry Baby

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Member Reviews

I really enjoyed gaining more insight into Tom Thorne’s earlier life.
I always enjoy books by Mark Billingham as there are always twists and turns in the plot and a good mix of mystery about murder/s and the character’s personal life. 
You would be able to read this as a stand-alone book though if you hadn’t read any of the other books.
Highly recommend!
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A look back at Tom Thorne’s earlier days.

I have read a few of Mark Billingham’s books including his first one Sleepyhead and enjoyed them all. This book goes back to 1996 when the European football championships were taking place in England. For once England does quite well getting to the semi-finals and Tom is understandably annoyed, as a football supporter when a case of an abducted child stops him from watching some of the games!

Kieron and Josh are best friends, both their mums, Catrin and Maria are single parents who meet up regularly in a playground next to some woodland.  The story begins when both boys run into the woods to play hide and seek and only Josh comes back out  A witness comes forward to say he had seen Kieron getting into a red car with a man who he (apparently) seems to know. Things become more complicated when the witness is also found dead.

We discover that Kieron is being kept prisoner in the garden of an old cottage and we suffer with him as he tries to keep his hopes up that he will be reunited with his mother. Josh, meantime, who has been getting into trouble at school, becomes even more aggressive and we come to realise that maybe he knows more than he is letting on.

As always DS Tom Thorne solves the mystery but I feel that this book has been written more for the fans of these books to give the readers some interesting background on how Tom and his friendships have developed. This is the first time, for example, that Tom encounters Dr Phil Hendricks, who has become a mainstay in the later novels. We also learn that Tom is going through a divorce, his wife has left him to live with a college lecturer, and she is pressing him to sell their matrimonial home.

Although the plotline was good I probably enjoyed more getting an insight into the early days in the life of DS Thorne.     


Elite Book Group received a copy of the book to review
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Two boys take their game from a playground into the adjoining woods, but only one emerges. With almost no clues, DS Tom Thorne takes on the investigation into the boy's disappearance. When connections to other crimes are made, will the police be able to find the missing boy before it is too late?

I have enjoyed some of the Tom Thorne novels in the past, so I was a little surprised that I was not a fan of Cry Baby. The story seemed forced in places and the ending was a little too transparent for my liking. I was not a fan of the lack of progression of the character, as it seemed as though Tom Thorne was there just to solve the case. The investigative portion of police procedural thrillers normally drive the plot forward, but it did not help the pacing of Cry Baby. Overall, it was a good book, but the lack of thrilling moments would make me hesitate to recommend it.

Disclaimer: I was given an Advanced Reader's Copy of Cry Baby by NetGalley and the publisher, Atlantic Monthly Press. The choice to review this book was entirely my own.
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Well, it’s odd thinking this is actually the start of the Thorne series, I loved sleepyhead and all of his that followed with Thorne and this was no different, a fast paced thriller that grabs you by the balls and doesn’t let go until the end, and even then your kinda stood there wanting more! A great ending and a fair few twists which is to be expected, loved it and was gutted when I’d finished it 😔
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I had to keep reminding myself this was early Tom Thorne, how he ever got promoted to Inspector when he clearly regards everyone else as a fool at best. Mind you, the same could be said for Morse. Anyway, you quickly forget that the look-back start of the book was tinged with dark outcomes as this nostalgic trip through the nineties progresses.
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#Net Galley  #Cry Baby

I did not finish this book.  I did not find it interesting.  I will not Review this book.
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I have not read any Mark Billingham books for quite a few years, and this one was very good. A convoluted, twisty plot, it kept my interest right  until the reveal. Highly recommended.
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Cry Baby by Mark Billingham is the prequel to the bestselling police procedural Sleepyhead, a novel featuring Detective Superintendent Tom Thorne. The year is 1996 and two young boys playing in a park disappear together in the nearby woods and only one child comes back. The other has vanished without a trace and it seems the remaining child is traumatized and cannot talk about the incident. DS Thorne heads the team searching for the child and within a few days two people who had connections with the children are murdered. This is an absorbing and well-developed crime drama. What I found especially interesting was the difference in electronic policing tools of 1996 compared to what is available today. This was a most enjoyable and unpredictable read. Highly recommended. Thank you to Grove Atlantic for the e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.
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Thank you for providing me a copy of this book. 
Sorry I wasn't able to go on and finish this. 
It just didn’t work for me. 
I'll try again next time and leave a feedback.
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I'm a sucker for origin stories, ever if I've never read any of the books in the series.

Such is the case with Cry Baby, listed as Tom Thorne #17, but which is essentially book zero.

The year is 1996, before everyone had the equivalent of a supercomputer in their pocket. Two boys go into the woods, but only one returns. Thorne is assigned to investigate the disappearance of the boy, but with no information at all to go on. He's also navigating the ruins of his marriage, which comes with the additional baggage of his estranged wife's boyfriend.

Another couple of deaths - people known and connected to the families of the two boys - ups the ante, and we discover that some people involved are not giving up a;; the information as to what they know.

It's a taut story. The only misfire for me is a motive that is sadly not as well defined as the rest of the book.

A solid four out of five stars.

Thanks to Grove Atlantic and NetGalley for the review copy.
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Thank you for giving me access to this book.  I really enjoy Mark Billingham he is modern, incorporates culture and drama in a very enjoyable method of writing.  Compelling author
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A clever prequel set in the 70s lets us see the beginning of the story for DI Thorne. All the usual Billingham fun and games in this novel.
Recommended read.
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher for this opportunity to review Cry Baby.
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Love Tom Thorne books, this one was amazing,  
Read it in two days and couldn’t put it down , kept me guessing till the end !
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Mark Billingham never Disappoints and the re-emergence of DI Thorne is another shining example of why some characters stand the test of time.  The action is immediate and doesn’t stop.  Taking the time to build the key characters does not detract from the sense of pace which comes with this book.  Thorne is a flawed character but somehow his flaws make him all the more relatable.  A really great read.
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Another brilliant story by Mark Billingham, set in an era before mobile phones and social media. It shows how difficult the communication was between the police in different areas really was. 
A young boy goes missing in the woods when his mother and her friend take their eyes off him for just a second. There are a multitude of suspects, all of whom end up dead. There is a great twist in the tale. 
Another ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ book from Billingham!!
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A new book by Mark Billingham. Surely that's all you need to know? 

An author that has never let me down, Mr Billingham writes at a good pace and delivers a well thought out story.
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Disclaimer:  I have not read any other book in the series.   I really wish I had because I think I would have enjoyed this book better.  The story line was great; I liked the beginning and the end  but for me there was too much fluff in the middle.
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If you haven’t read this author’s books before, this prequel to Billingham’s acclaimed debut novel Sleepyhead would be a great introduction!!  It is a Wow read!!!  I read it in two days.  Be warned, though, you won’t get much else done once you start it!!  

After this read, then buy the book Sleepyhead and after that you will be so hooked you will want to read the rest of the series!  Full of suspense and as soon as you think you have it figured out, you are wrong!!

Thank you NeyGalley and Grove Atlantic for the ARC in exchange for my review.
#NetGalley #CryBaby #GroveAtlantic #MarkBillingham
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Cry Baby is a prequel to the Tom Thorne series, I hadn’t realised this when I read the blurb as I have only read a couple of these books, however, this did not detract from the story but felt it added to it, I now want to go back and read this series from the beginning with full knowledge of who Tom Thorne was and how  he became who he is today.

In 1996 Tom Thorne investigating the disappearance/abduction of a 7 year old boy Kieron whilst playing on the edge of the forest with his friend Josh under the watchful eye of their mothers or not as the case may be! Thorne and his team are up against it when two people who knew the two boys and their mothers are found dead, with no clues but plenty of suspects, good old fashioned detective work ensues, it was nice albeit strange to be reading a detective book where technology is not at the forefront but given it was 1996, you can see why.

I was reeled into this book from the getgo, I couldn’t stop reading it, it was a case of having to know, just one more chapter became 10… thoroughly enjoyed it and now I have the pleasure of going back to the beginning.
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EXCERPT: Cat moved quickly through the playground towards the exit on the far side, calling her son's name, oblivious to the stares of other parents whose kids stopped what they were doing to watch. Maria hurried to catch her up and they both stopped dead when Josh appeared suddenly and came running from the trees towards them.

His yellow coat was streaked with mud and he burst into tears the instant he laid eyes on his mother.

'Josh?' Maria leaned down and took her son's face in her hands. 'You OK?'

'Where's Kieron?' Cat asked, looking towards the trees. 'Josh, where's Kieron?'

The boy began wailing and buried his face in his mother's stomach.

The unlit cigarette fell from Cat's hand and she began to run.

ABOUT THIS BOOK: In the summer of 1996, two boys run from a playground into the adjoining woods, but only one comes out. DS Tom Thorne takes on a case that quickly spirals out of control when two people connected with the missing boy are murdered. As London prepares to host the European Soccer Championships, Thorne fights to keep on top of a baffling investigation while also dealing with the ugly fallout of his broken marriage.

MY THOUGHTS: Although the 17th book in the Tom Thorne series, Cry Baby is a prequel to Mark Billingham's debut novel 'Sleepyhead', which was the first book I ever read by this author, and which put him firmly on my reading radar.

Tom Thorne is a credible and engaging character. He is flawed. Detests his boss, Boyle, and has conversations in his mind where he bests Boyle. He can be quite sarky. He is going through a marriage break up, and I love his thoughts on the 'hippy-dippy, sandal-wearing' university lecturer Jan left him for. He's not good at friendships, and even seems uncomfortable with his own family. Yet he shows an unexpected humanity and compassion towards the victims. Our Tom is a complex character.

We meet, for the first time, Phil Hendricks, the new pathologist, tattooed, pierced and gay, though Tom hasn't figured that out yet. Hendricks and Thorne have nothing in common - they don't like the same music, or support the same football team - yet Cry Baby is the start of their decades long friendship.

In a new format for Billingham, Cry Baby is told from multiple points of view: Thorne, as usual; Cat, the mother of the missing boy; Maria, her friend and Josh's mum; Kieron, the abducted boy, and his abductor.

There are plenty of subplots inside the main storyline - relationship issues, both personal and professional, for Tom and several other characters. There is some confusion about the parentage of the missing boy. And of course, a few red herrings.

I must admit that it took me a while to settle into this story. But once I got into the rhythm of Billingham's writing again, I was away.

I don't think that Cry Baby is the best of Billingham's books, although it is certainly a valuable addition to the series. I wasn't totally invested in the ending, but loved the journey.


#CryBaby #NetGalley

FOR THE ARMCHAIR TRAVELLER: Cry Baby by Mark Billingham is set in London, mainly in the Highbury-Islington area. London, the capital of England and the United Kingdom, is a 21st-century city with history stretching back to Roman times. At its centre stand the imposing Houses of Parliament, the iconic ‘Big Ben’ clock tower and Westminster Abbey, site of British monarch coronations. Across the Thames River, the London Eye observation wheel provides panoramic views of the South Bank cultural complex, and the entire city.
Highbury is home to Premiership football at Arsenal FC’s Emirates Stadium, as well as a sports centre and tennis courts in leafy Highbury Fields park. Upscale restaurants cluster near Highbury Corner, with artisan food stores, cafes, and global eateries in the village-like area on Highbury Grove. Quiet, tree-lined residential streets feature Italianate villas and grand Georgian homes, many converted into flats.

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.
He also writes as Will Peterson with Peter Cocks.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Grove Atlantic via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of Cry Baby by Mark Billingham for review. All opinions expressed in this review are entirely my own personal opinions.

For an explanation of my rating system please refer to my profile page or the about page on

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