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Time of Death (Tom Thorne Novels)

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For the first part of the read the couple are more observing than detecting so it seemed to start off quite slowly for me, but once they got into their stride I really enjoyed this story, which kept me guessing as to whether or not Stephen Bates had committed the crimes and if not, then who had done it, with quite a number of suspects emerging. I am slowly working my way through the excellent Tom Thorne series of books written by Mark Billingham, I have yet to read a bad book in this series, they are certainly some of the best the crime genre has to offer. Detectives Tom Thorne and Helen Weekes (his girlfriend) are holidaying in the Cotswolds when news comes through that the husband of an old friend of hers, Linda Bates, has been arrested on suspicion of the kidnap and murder of two young girls in the fictional towns of Dorbrook and Polesford in Warwickshire.While he has no authority or connection to the case he begins to question the way the investigation is going and starts to pursue avenues of his own. I liked what I discovered of his character and I particularly liked his relationship with Helen, the delicate dance that both perform as they try to do their best for others and themselves, and with Hendricks. A television series based on the Thorne novels was screened in Autumn 2010, starring David Morrissey as Tom Thorne and a BBC series based on the standalone thrillers IN THE DARK and TIME OF DEATH was shown in 2017. As his partner faces up to a past she has tried desperately to forget and a media storm engulfs the town, Thorne becomes convinced that, despite overwhelming evidence of his guilt, the police have got the wrong man.

This is a question that bothers us as well and, as the truth is revealed, we are rewarded with a novel that isn’t just an exciting crime puzzle but also a complex and sensitive investigation into some very dark places.

This series is going from strength to strength and already I am looking forward to the next instalment.

I had been knocking stars off my review in my head before it even landed on my doormat on publication day.But Tom can’t help himself and, as he passes the time scrutinising the villagers, wheedling out their secrets, his years of experience tells him that something is wrong. Tom wonders why Helen should want to care for Linda when neither has made any attempt to keep touch over the years. I think I was looking for more excitement/body count/drama and I didn’t feel to be getting much of that until 10 pages towards the end. When it's splashed all over the press that family man Stephen Bates has been arrested, Helen and her partner Tom Thorne head to the flooded town to support Bates' wife - an old school friend of Helen's - who is living under siege with two teenage children and convinced of her husband's innocence. Maybe I missed his assertiveness and passion of working his own case and the brilliant banter he has with his colleagues?

When two girls go missing in Helen's home town and the suspect is her friend's husband she insists on going to support the family - Thorne of course cannot resist getting involved in the investigation despite being very unwelcome.She's either withdrawn or spoiling for a fight, leaving Tom baffled as to the cause of her behaviour. The book starts off fast and strong with a story of two missing girls and continues to gather pace throughout. I read him how some people watch Downton Abbey - every tiny bit is to be savoured because, whether important to the plot or not it is, quite simply, the writing equivalent of a hot knife through butter. This was an odd one - I have read most of the preceding DCI Thorne novels, and have (mainly) enjoyed them very much, but this felt a little less enjoyable than I remember the others.

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