The Dying Hours
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown
23 May 2013
Following on from his Best Seller smash from 2012 – Rush of Blood – Mark Billingham’s The Dying Hours is quite possibly his finest Tom Thorne novel yet.
Such things as a cluster of suicides among the elderly are not unknown to the police and the deaths are quickly dismissed as routine. Only Tom Thorne – now back in uniform and as maverick as ever – is convinced that something more sinister is taking place. No one listens to Thorne anymore though, with his suspicions about the suicides being dismissed by the Murder Squad he was once part of. Unable to trust anyone, Thorne must risk losing those closest to him, gamble with the lives of those targeted by a killer; a killer with nothing to lose and a growing list of victims.
This is the setting for Mark Billingham’s eleventh Tom Thorne case and, with the passing of each fresh book, so does the irascible former DI become more rounded, the prose more delectable, the drama more captivating.
The beauty of Billingham’s craft lies in the manner in which he manages to breathe life into the most mundane of situations. Here, making a cup of coffee is an adventure following a twelve hour long Graveyard Shift, which all leads to a lightening pace being added to those situations that matter.
Added to this is the mastery with which the author has moulded the more peripheral characters; more conscientious, more unpredictable, more loyal than is ever feasible yet we – as readers – nevertheless believe in them and trust their motives thanks to skill with which Billingham outlines their motives.
Of course, the engine of any crime novel lies around the mechanics that make up the criminal and here Billingham has fashioned someone so “normal” on the outside, it is impossible not to be drawn into his world of deceit.
The Dying Hours is taut, tense, terrifying and tumultuous in a way Thorne’s fans will quite simply not want to end.