Die of Shame
Hardcover: 448 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown
5 May, 2016
Mark Billingham’s third stand alone, Die of Shame, is something of a slow burner and quite a change in style. That said though, once it gets going it certainly takes a hold. Rather like 2012s Rush of Blood, this is very much a personality driven piece and, fortunately, such is Billingham’s skill in creating multi-faceted characters, everything falls into place nicely.
Every Monday evening, six people gather in a smart North London house to talk about addiction. There they share their deepest secrets: stories of lies, regret, and above all, shame. Then one of them is killed - and it's clear one of the circle was responsible.
Stylistically, Die of Shame is quite a shift. Switching between past and present, chapter by chapter, the timeline takes a little getting used to – despite the pointers that are the chapter headers. Once this obstacle has been overcome though, the research that has been undertaken shines and so we get as far into the minds of those with addictions as we do of the homeless in Billingham’s fourth Thorne novel, The Burning Girl.
What truly stands out, however, is the pace that has been created and some truly sparkling, naturally presented dialogue that not only delivers a sense of place but also an even deeper insight as to what makes the characters tick.
A slick, stylish addition to Mark Billingham’s bulging catalogue of best sellers, which would undoubtedly make for a superb TV Drama in its own right.