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The Murder Book

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Mark Billingham scores a home run (and a 5-star review from this humble reader) by knocking the ball out of the stadium with The Murder Book.

I have read each Tom Thorne novel, and this one begins as one might expect, as Billingham sets up an engagingly entertaining mystery - however, in the middle of everything, you begin to glimpse in the distance... Tom's nemesis! The second part of the fun begins.

I don't want to give anything away, that should hint to fans of this series that they are in for a VERY SPECIAL treat (and the very BEST installment of this amazing series). 

I am a voracious reader of police procedurals, and if I was forced to pick my all time ("if you had to chose only one book to bring with you while stranded on a deserted island") favorite, it would be THIS ONE (ideally the entire series, as how long will I be on that deserted island).

Don't pass on this awesome series if you are a police procedural  / mystery fan. Begin with any of 'em (but make sure to read this one) before you know it, another Tom Thorne fan will be created.

Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for the eARC of this novel.
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This is a book that starts and ends with a bang and never stops keeping you on the edge.
We know what will be since the first pages and it's chilly and the description of pure evil.
I recently discovered Mark Billingham and this is the second book I read, I love the storytelling and the great characters.
The plot is well developed and tightly knitted. There's a lot of information and this book can be read as a stand alone.
Gripping, dark, highly entertaining.
Highly recommended.
Many thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for this ARC, all opinions are mine
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I was a latecomer to the Tom Thorne (and more recently Nicola Tanner) series but mentioned in earlier reviews that I disliked Tom's previous love interest so was glad when they split. I'd forgotten he had a new partner here... and think it's because Billingham took a break from the series last year to write the (very brilliant) <i>Rabbit Hole</i>. 

Here Thorne and Tanner are on the tail of a killer who's taking the 'See / Hear / Speak No Evil' thing kinda literally and removing the respective body part of their victim. It seems as if they solve this case fairly quickly as their killer - originally very careful - suddenly starts leaving evidence in their wake. And of course Billingham hasn't finished as Thorne learns that a former nemesis in pulling strings behind the scene. 

I enjoyed this and we again spend time with coroner Phil Hendrinks and Thorne's new partner, Melita, a psychologist who often assists the police. 

The only thing I struggled with here was a lack of context, so I do wonder how others: newcomers to the series; those who dip in and out; or those with poor memories like moi, will cope. 

There's reference to a secret Hendricks, Tanner and Thorne share which seemed quite important here but I struggled to remember. And the returning killer with an agenda wasn't familiar to me though it could be highly possible I've met them in a previous outing. 

That aside, this is an enjoyable read and again includes quite a few twists I didn't see coming. 

3.5 stars
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Another awesome read by Mark Billingham!!
 This is one of those series that I will never tire of and that I will pick up without even looking at the synopsis. It's always entertaining and fast-paced and it keeps you on the edge of your seat. There's always a twist that will be unexpected and I can't wait for the next one to come out! 

This is a very personal story for Tom Thorne. An old adversary is back and it seems like Thorne is his ultimate target. He always seems to be one step ahead. How is he able to predict what the police will do before they even know their next step? 
A very addictive series!! 

Thank you to Netgalley and Grove Atlantic for the ARC in exchange for my honest opinion.
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At the opening of this eighteenth novel in the series, DI Tom Thorne is in a good place. He’s been unlucky in love in the past, but now he has a promising relationship with forensic psychologist Melita Perera. She talks to him about the more unusual of her patients and he in turn keeps her up to date with his cases. When he’s not with Melita, he enjoys socialising with his friends and colleagues DI Nicola Tanner and pathologist Phil Hendricks. He feels like the nightmares of the past have receded, but in fact they’re about to come flooding back with a vengeance.

When Tom and Nicola are called out to a grisly murder of a middle aged man, they find evidence that he was entertaining someone in the bedroom while his wife was away, suggesting the killer is a woman. Two further murders point to a female serial killer being on the loose in London. Not only were all three men apparently entertaining an unknown woman before they were killed, but all three were mutilated after death. Now Tom and Nicole are racing to catch her before she kills again. When they do eventually catch up with her, she has a message to deliver to Tom from someone he hoped never to hear from again.

Unknown to Tom, someone has been watching him. Someone from his past who he was forced to let escape from custody in order to save lives. A depraved killer, who now knows where Tom lives and all about the new woman in his life, and is somehow able to stay one step ahead of Tom. He also knows the horrific secret Tom, Nicola and Phil have been keeping that would end all their careers if revealed to the world. Now they and all those close to them are in danger from this master manipulator. 

One of the strengths of this series is the continuing development of the main characters and their ongoing lives woven around a compelling mystery. They  know each other well now, as evidenced by their sharply humorous, sometimes quite dark, banter and in this novel their ongoing support of each other is central to the plot. 

This excellent thriller is brilliantly plotted with the suspense ramping up rapidly towards the chilling climax. I for one was totally unprepared for the massive twist that Billingham throws at us. It was stunning and cleverly done. The prologue and epilogue neatly bookending the novel are also superb and guaranteed to generate a gleeful laugh from the reader as poetic justice is dealt. Highly recommended for all fans of the authors and those discovering him for the first time.
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EXCERPT: One post-mortem was more than enough for most people and Thorne had been present at a good many more than that. Hundreds, probably. Though he had become . . . accustomed to the unique sights and smells and the terrible whine of the bone-saw, he still put the Vicks and the earplugs to good use every time, and, unlike the heavily tattooed man sitting opposite him, he was certainly unable to face a full English breakfast immediately afterwards.

Full English option three, to be precise, with two eggs, double sausage and extra bubble and squeak.

The man was an animal.

Phil Hendricks was not quite as delicate with a knife and fork as he was with dissecting scissors and rib-shears, so just watching his friend tucking in was making Thorne feel gippier than he had while watching him work on Richard Sumner's body twenty minutes earlier. He groaned to make his feelings clear.

The pathologist lifted a fork dripping with baked beans and jabbed it towards the single piece of toast on Thorne's plate.

'Pussy,' he said.

'Pig,' Thorne said.

ABOUT 'THE MURDER BOOK': Tom Thorne finally has it all.

In Nicola Tanner and Phil Hendricks, Thorne has good friends by his side. His love life is newly reformed by a promising relationship and he is happy in the job he has devoted his life to.

As he sets off hunting the woman responsible for a series of grisly murders, Thorne has no way of knowing that he will be plunged into a nightmare from which he may never wake. A nightmare that has a name. Thorne’s past threatens to catch up with him and a ruinous secret is about to be revealed. If he wants to save himself and his friends, he will have to do the unthinkable.

Tom Thorne finally has a lot to lose.

MY THOUGHTS: WARNING - A library book is harmed in this story.

I have read this series from the beginning, and I am yet to be disappointed. Billingham is able to combine humour, suspense, and humanity in his writing and I am always eagerly awaiting the next installment in this series. He imbues his characters with a rich sense of realism that makes me feel like I am greeting old friends the moment I open the cover.

DI Tom Thorne is at the centre of the stage ably assisted by DI Nicola Tanner and pathologist Phil Hendricks. These three have quite a history together and share a dark secret that would, at best, finish their careers if it were ever revealed, and, at worst, see them doing jail time.

All three seem to be more settled in their personal lives at the outset of The Murder Book and, although Nicola still misses her partner Susan, she finds the impetus and the means to move on with her life during this case.

This case - it's a doozy. The plot is twisty and unpredictable. What starts out as a simple (probably not the right word, but in comparison with what is to come, it works) murder case soon morphs into something far more complex that threatens the personal and professional lives of the three colleagues.

Talk about tense and suspenseful! Parts gave me chills. It's white-knuckled, edge-of-the-seat reading.


#TheMuderBook #NetGalley

I: #markbillingham @groveatlantic

T: @MarkBillingham @groveatlantic

#contemporaryfiction #crime #detectivefiction #mystery #policeprocedural #suspense #thriller

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.

DISCLOSURE: Thank you to Grove Atlantic via Netgalley for providing a digital ARC of The Murder Book 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

This review will also be published on Twitter, Amazon, Instagram and my webpage
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Mark Billingham is one of my favorite authors. I don't bother with reading the flyleaf as I just know I'm in for a great read. Billingham writes stand alones that are really good as well, but it is the Tom Thorne series that I enjoy the most. The latest entry (#18!) is The Murder Book. 

There's a core group of three that are at the heart of this series. Tom is a Detective with the the London force as is Nicola Tanner. The third member of the trio is Coroner Phil Hendricks. They're good friends in and out of the station and all three also harboring a dark secret. (Nope, not going to tell you what it is!) Thorne and Nicola are on the hunt for a murderer using some truly grisly methods. And then the shoe drops. There is evidence found at a murder scene that should not be there...

Billingham gives his characters rich personal lives than bleed into their professional lives. Sometimes for the good - and sometimes not. I quite like Thorne - he's not grown predictable or tired after seventeen books. He's ornery, obstinate and driven to solve his cases at almost any cost. And the cost could be very high in this latest case. Hendricks seems to be settling down at last and Nicola is slowly trying to move on as well. 

Billingham consistently comes up with dark, devious plots that hold the reader captive until the last page has been turned. Loyal readers will know the name Stuart Nicklin. New readers, be prepared to meet one of the most manipulative psychopaths that ever lived in the pages of a book. His scenes give me shivers. I also love twists and turns. There's a doozy as the books nears the end that had me flipping back and re-reading to make sure I had read it correctly. 

Billingham has kept the series moving forward, always giving the reader a satisfactory ending, but leaving us with enough questions to wonder what's next in store for Thorne et al. This reader can't wait for the next in the series!

Who else enjoys this series? 

“Billingham is a world-class writer and Tom Thorne is a wonderful creation. Rush to read these books.”—Karin Slaughter

“With each of his books, Mark Billingham gets better and better. These are stories and characters you don’t want to leave.”—Michael Connelly
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My first book of this series. I want to now read others in the series. I liked the guessing of who was involved and the almost surprised twist at the end.
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The Murder Book
Genre: Fiction Mystery 
Format: Kindle eBook 
Date Published: 7/5/22
Author: Mark Billingham
Publisher: Atlantic Monthly Press 
Pages: 416
Goodreads Rating: 4.52

I requested a digital advanced readers copy from NetGalley and Atlantic Monthly Press and providing my opinion voluntarily and unbiased.

Synopsis: In Nicola Tanner and Phil Hendricks, Thorne has good friends by his side. His love life is newly reformed by a promising relationship and he is happy in the job he has devoted his life to. As he sets off hunting the woman responsible for a series of grisly murders, Thorne has no way of knowing that he will be plunged into a nightmare from which he may never wake. A nightmare that has a name. Thorne’s past threatens to catch up with him and a ruinous secret is about to be revealed. If he wants to save himself and his friends, he will have to do the unthinkable. Tom Thorne finally has a lot to lose.

My Thoughts: This is a book in a series, however, I think it could be read alone, there is enough information to flow through the book without difficulty. This book had the best prologue and epilogue that I have seen in awhile. The characters are well developed with depth, intriguing, and fascinating. The author’s writing was complex on many levels, suspenseful, and kept me engaged from cover to cover. The plot was full of twists, some predictable, and some were not. I do not want to say too much as I do not want to spoil for anyone. This releases today and I highly recommend that you pick up.
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Oh, my! Another cracking addition to the Thorne series. Yes,  it can be read alone, but, why would you? With a back catalogue as good as this series.
Mark Billingham has a talent for weaving an excellent tale of murder, which has gruesome moments, with humour and well drawn characters. All of this makes for a gripping read.

I’ve read all of the author’s books and this is him at the top of his game. I loved the South London setting; the return of old friends and a fabulous tale that has twists and turns.

Congratulations to the author and many thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic for the opportunity to preview in exchange for my honest review.
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Tom Thorne Book # 18

This is my second book by this author although “The Murder Book” is part of a series I do believe you could read this as a standalone even with the references to what has gone before.

The Synopsis in a few words:

After investigating a series of grisly murders committed by a young woman who almost seems proud to be caught, Thorne peels back the layers of a secret far darker than he could have ever realised. Now it’s his reputation and loved ones on the line, and he is about to find out how far he will go to save them.

My thoughts in a few words:

Some characters highlights:

Thorne the main protagonist is centre stage. He is a complex character with a great deal of history a one with a short temper. His sidekick DI Nicola Tanner also has a short temper and a past that keeps haunting her. We also have secondary players; one great one is Phil Hendrick, a man with a wicket sense of humour for a pathologist in charge of examining the murder victims. And we have Thorne’s girlfriend, forensic psychiatrist Dry Melita Perera who has certain clients with history of violence...Of course we have secondary characters to help move things along. They all play excellent parts.

The plot:

It is the classic edge of your seat thriller with some twists and turns to keep us going through the pages. The suspense drags along and we seem to turn in circle too often for my taste but again this keeps us in apprehension for the next move... which comes quickly enough. Yes, no fear Mark Billingham leaves us with an ending I did not see coming.

Although it is a good story it left me cold. I was glued to every word at time and in other times I couldn’t wait to move on. Most reviewers have giving this story high praise I may be the exception with my feelings I am definitely less than enthusiastic than most...

The style:

Expertly written with good police procedural and a tad of humour here and there....
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I loved The Murder Book. Revisiting Tom Thorne, Phil Hendricks and Nicola Tanner is such a treat. And in this, the 18th in the series, Billingham shows us that he can still shock and surprise his readers.

You can read The Murder Book as a stand-alone but I guarantee you’ll want to read the whole series by the time you’re finished and you will get more from it if you have read previous books in the series.

D. I. Tom Thorne is a character you can’t help but like. He’s not great with bureaucracy, has a terrible track record when it comes to his love life, he sometimes finds it hard to reign in his temper, but he has the best of friends and this trio of close knit chums has a secret that binds them together in the most uncomfortable way. It’s a secret that is about to catch up to them – not that they know it yet.

In The Murder Book, Thorne’s worst nightmare, an old adversary has come back into his life – with a vengeance.  Three serial daters have been sadistically murdered and savagely mutilated and with diligent detecting skills, Thorne and the team soon have a suspect in custody. Far too soon for these crimes to be so simple and this is where the fun really starts.

The Murder Book is fast-paced, twisty and full of misdirection.  Just when you think you know where things are heading events take a different turn. Thorne, Tanner and Hendricks have strong reasons for needing this antagonist dealt with but so far they’re letting them run rings round them.

Thorne is worried for those closest to him and Nicola is taking chances that make the reader want to shout ‘beware’ at her. It’s a tense time and Billingham does a magnificent job of creating tension and then letting us laugh to blow off some of the head of steam that is building up.

Verdict: This is a book that really ratchets up the tension. You fear for Thorne and those he is close to. I formed and discarded theories all through the book, but in the end my heart was in my mouth because I could not see any way out of the terrifying situation that Thorne and his friends were facing. It’s an interesting and excruciating form of entertainment and I absolutely loved it. This is top class crime fiction from a master of the art.
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This is the latest (the 18th) book in this series.  For people like me it's difficult to review because I haven't read any of the prior books.  The book deals with an old nemesis of Thorne who is a serial killer that he has pursued for year.  Thorne had capture him and he was ensconced in the highest level security prison in England. 

But he manages to escape with the help of people that he has turned to his side of crime and convinced that participating in his murders the right thing to do.  While he was out, one of his people murdered three others before being murdered herself.  Thorne is on the edge of rage and depression over what is happening.

[From the narrative you are given hints as to how the killer and Thorne lives have been entwined over the previous books.  It does seem like a series that I'd like to start from book one.]
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Thanks Netgalley for the ARC.

Tom Thorne is back and as it's his last outing for a while he went out with a bang. I have read all the Tom Thorne series and all the books have been fantastic. I wouldn't recommend this one as a stand alone as you have to know the history between Tom and his arch nemesis but the others work well.

Stuart Nicklin, the most evil, depraved, sadistic killer that Tom and his team have ever know has re surfaced after his earlier escape from prison. His last meeting with Tom ended with his friend and colleague Phil Hendricks being brutally attacked and scared for life. 

Not only is Nicklin back and out to hurt Tom in the worst way possible he knows the secret that could take down Tom, partner Lisa and Hendricks. Always 5 steps ahead are they going to be able to stop him?

Nothing to say but fantastic. Fat five stars.
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3.5 stars

In this eighteenth book in the DI Tom Thorne series, a body is found dead in his house with his body parts missing. This book can be read as a standalone.


DI Tom Thorne and DI Nicola Tanner are called in to investigate the murder of a man named Richard Sumner whose body was found dead in his bedroom in Gospel Oak. His ears were missing from the crime scene.

According to the medical examiner, Phil Hendricks, who’s also Thorne’s friend, they found drugs in the victim’s system which he supposedly ingested when he had wine at his home with his mysterious female date.

Thorne’s girlfriend Dr. Melita Perera is a forensic psychiatrist who occasionally consults for various police forces, prisons, and secure hospitals. She also divides her time between private and NHS patients.
Then another body turns up dead, his tongue cut off. The MO bearing similarities to the first victim. The second victim was discovered by his roommate, Luke, who has been staying with his parents ever since.

Why are the victims being targeted? And what do they have in common?

Three weeks later a third body turns up , this time with his eyes gouged out. 

DI Tom Thorne and DI Nicola Tanner must work together to find the killer behind these murders and bring them to justice.

Thank you to Mark Billingham, NetGalley, and Atlantic Monthly Press–Grove Atlantic for the arc of this book.
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Thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic, Atlantic Monthly Press for this ARC in exchange my review.

Tom Thorne is one of my favourite detectives. It is lovely to reunite with him and his colleagues in a new book. This one was better than before. Mark Billingham is genius and good author. His books mostly full of excitement, mystery, murder, dark humour and intrigue. He's good at wrapping them all up seamlessly with no loose.  ends. A good police procedural with suspense and a fast pace. There are the usual twists and turns as expected but the thrills continue until the last page. It’s easy to read, it gives you enough to keep you captivated and invested in all characters development. Actually I was gripped from the beginning, and couldn’t put it down till I found out what was going to happen next. There's good unexpected twist at the end you won't want to miss. All in all, it's a thrilling and compelling read, I look forward to more of the same very soon.
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I’d like to thank Bookouture and NetGalley for giving me the opportunity to read ‘The Murder Book’, book 18 of the DI Tom Thorne series written by Mark Billingham, in exchange for my honest and unbiased review.

DI Tom Thorne and his colleague DI Nicola Tanner are searching for the woman who’s killing to emulate the three monkeys, see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil, but it isn’t long before they realise that the person who’s encouraging the woman to commit these grisly crimes is a name that will spread shockwaves throughout the police department.  What must Tom do to put an end to this nightmare that also involves Nicola and their pathologist friend Phil Hendricks?

Who’d have thought fourteen years after reading the first Tom Thorne thriller in 2008 I’ll still be enjoying the series that’s got even better over the years.  Tom Thorne lives a somewhat dishevelled life as he enjoys his football, a beer or two, and spending time with his friends Nicola and Phil and girlfriend Dr Melita Perera.  Then his old enemy Stuart Nicklin returns and plunges him into a nightmare from which there’s no easy way out.  ‘The Murder Book’ has been a gripping and tense thriller, well-written with an ingenious plot, twists and turns, and an exciting and nail-biting climax.  I love the characters of Tom, Nicola and Phil, and the amusing dialogue between them that makes me smile.  Will there be a book 19?  I do hope so.
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Poor old Tom Thorne!  His personal life is something of a disaster and his professional life is rarely less than fraught.  It can become somewhat tedious when a cop is a bit of a screw-up but at the skilful hands of Mark Billingham that is never the case.  Some police series go on too long but this series just gets better and better.  The characters are always well drawn, the setting authentic and the plots fascinating, and this time it is gripping from the start when Thorne encounters an old adversary.  Brilliant!
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For fans of Tom Thorne, this is a worthy continuation of the series, with many recurring characters, some well-known, and one particular one savagely hated. You know what you love, returning readers, and you will get it in this book.

For newbies to Mark Billingham, welcome. Expect a police procedural noir, a flawed hero, black humour and a twisty plot. You can start here, or you can start with Sleepyhead, the choice is yours as long as you start. This author is worth reading.
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Tom Thorne is back.

Tom thinks he has everything he wants and life is great.

How wrong Tom was.

The Murder Book is a nail biting read as you follow Tom, Phil and Nicola.

Tom and his team are desperately racing the clock to find the woman who has brutally murdered three men.  

The past is  catching up to Tom , Nicola and Phil and they all have a lot on the line.

Its beyond a nightmare.

The lights stay on, the pages turn quickly gasping as I race to the end.

Mark Billingham never disappoints and a new Tom Thorne adventure is like a birthday and Christmas all rolled into one.

Thanks to NetGalley and Grove Atlantic, Atlantic Monthly Press for a riveting read.
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