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Mark Billingham

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In the Dark (2008)
Death Message (2008)
Buried (2006)
Lifeless (2005)


The Burning Girl
Lazybones (2005)
Scaredy Cat (2003)
Sleepyhead (2001)



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In the Dark

A Deadly Crash
A rainy night in south London. A gun is fired into a car which swerves on to the pavement and ploughs into a bus stop. It seems that a chilling gang initiation has cost an innocent victim their life. But the reality is far more sinister…

A Dangerous Quest
One life is wiped out and three more are changed forever: the young man whose finger was on the trigger; an ageing gangster planning a deadly revenge, and the pregnant woman who struggles desperately to uncover the truth. Two weeks away from giving birth, how will she deal with a world where death is an occupational hazard?

A Shocking Twist
In a city where violence can be random or meticulously planned, where teenage gangs clash with career criminals and where loyalty is paid for in blood, anything is possible. Secrets are uncovered as fast as bodies, and the story’s final twist is as breathtakingly surprising as they come.

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Death Message

The first message sent to Tom Thorne's mobile phone was just a picture - the blurred image of a man's face, but Thorne had seen enough dead bodies in his time to know that the man was no longer alive. But who was he? Who sent the photograph? And why? While the technical experts attempt to trace the sender, Thorne searches the daily police bulletins for a reported death that matches the photograph. Then another picture arrives. Another dead man ... It is the identities of the murdered men which give Thorne his first clue, a link to a dangerous killer he'd put away years before and who is still in prison. With a chilling talent for manipulation, this man has led another inmate to plot revenge on everyone he blames for his current incarceration, and for the murder of his family while he was inside. Newly released, this convict has no fear of the police, no feelings for those he is compelled to murder. Now Tom Thorne must face one of the toughest challenges of his career, knowing that there is no killer more dangerous than one who has nothing left to lose.

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Buried

Luke Mullen, sixteen year old son of a former, high-ranking police officer has disappeared, presumed kidnapped. While no-one quite dares to voice the fear that he could also be presumed dead, Detective Inspector Tom Thorne is brought in to beef up the squad dedicated to locating the missing boy. The first thing the team looks for is anyone with a grudge against Luke's father, a man who'd put a lot of tough villains away in his time. A list quickly emerges, but Thorne discovers that ex-DCI Tony Mullen has omitted the name of the most obvious suspect ; a man who'd once threatened him and his family, and who, after serving time for his original crime, is now the main suspect in a murder which has been unsolved for four years. Is this a simple oversight - understandable considering the trauma of his son's disappearance? Or is it something more telling? Aware that he does not have the luxury of time, Thorne searches desperately for connections and leads, but learns that secrets are as easily buried as bodies, and that assumptions are the enemy of truth.

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Lifeless

To his friends, his foes and even to himself it looks as though Tom Thorne's career is on the skids. On his last case he had seriously over-stepped the mark, and now gardening leave has been suggested and all he has to tend is a window box. So when it appears someone is targeting London's homeless community it seems pefectly natural for Thorne to take a step nearer to the gutter and go undercover amongst them. He blends into the sometimes invisble community easily - too easily perhaps - but the information he gleans quickly proves that this is no random killer, it is someone with a very distinct purpose and a very specific list of victims, only the team supporting Thorne from the outside don't have the key to motive or identity. Then somehow the fact that a policeman is working under cover becomes public knowledge ... With acute observation of character and place, combined with his acknowledged mastery of plotting, LIFELESS raises the Thorne series to an even higher level.

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The Burning Girl

Some fires never go out ...

X marks the spot -- and when that spot is a corpse's naked back and the X is carved in blood, Detective Inspector Tom Thorne is in no doubt that the dead man is the latest victim of a particularly vicious contract killer. It's morbid and messy -- but it's a mystery with plenty of clues. This is turf warfare between North London gangs. Organized crime boss Billy Ryan is moving into someone else's territory, and that someone is ready to stand up for what he believes is his.

Thorne's got plenty on his plate when he agrees to help out ex-DCI Carol Chamberlain rake through the ashes of an old case that has come back to haunt her. Schoolgirl Jessica Clarke was lit on fire twenty years ago. Now, Gordon Rooker, the man Chamberlain put away for the crime, is up for parole, and it seems there's a copycat on the prowl.

Or perhaps it's someone trying to right a serious wrong: Jessica Clarke was the victim of mistaken identity. The intended target was the daughter of a gangland boss, a woman who would grow up to marry the current leader, Billy Ryan ...

Thorne quickly identifies a tenuous link between the two crimes, and past and present fuse together to form a new, horrifying riddle. One that involves more killings, violence, greed, and a murderous family with no values -- except gain at any price.

When an X is carved into his front door, Tom Thorne realizes that fires, once thought to be out, continue to burn.

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Lazybones

The first corpse was found hooded, bound, and naked, kneeling on a bare mattress in a seedy hotel room. This was no ordinary murder but rather the work of a killer driven by something special, something spectacular. The fact that the dead man was a convicted rapist recently released from prison only increases the bizarre nature of the gruesome crime ... and the police's reluctance to apprehend the perpetrator. It's the body count that troubles Detective Inspector Tom Thorne, as brutal slaying follows brutal slaying, each victim more deserving than the last. Though he has no sympathy for the dead, Thorne knows he must put an end to a cruelly calculating vigilante's bloody justice before time runs out -- and a horrifically efficient serial killer targets a life worth fighting for.

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Scaredy Cat

It was a vicious, calculated murder. The killer selected his victim at Euston station, followed her home on the tube, strangled her to death in front of her child. At the same time, killed in the same way, a second body is discovered at the back of King's Cross station. It is a grisly coincidence that eerily echoes the murder of two other women, stabbed to death months before on the same day ... It is DI Tom Thorne who sees the link and comes to the horrifying conclusion. This is not a serial killer the police are up against. This is two of them. Finding the body used to be the worst part of the job. Not any more. Now each time a body is found, Thorne must live with the knowledge that somewhere out there is a second victim, waiting to be discovered. But whilst the methods might be the same Thorne comes to realise that he is hunting two very different killers. One is ruthless and in control, while his partner in crime is submissive, compliant, terrified. Thorne must catch a man whose need to manipulate is as great as his need to kill; a man, who will show him that the ability to inspire terror is the deadliest weapon of all...

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Sleepyhead

It's rare for a young woman to die from a stroke and when three such deaths occur in short order it starts to look like an epidemic. Then a sharp pathologist notices traces of benzodiazepine in one of the victim's blood samples and just traceable damage to the ligaments in her neck, and their cause of death is changed from 'natural' to murder.

The police aren't making much progress in their hunt for the killer until he appears to make a mistake: Alison Willetts is found alive and D.I. Tom Thorne believes the murderer has made a mistake, which ought to allow them to get on his tracks. But it was the others who were his mistakes: he doesn't want to take life, he just wants to put people into a state where they cannot move, cannot talk, cannot do anything but think.

When Thorne, helped by the neurologist looking after Alison, starts to realise what he is up against he knows the case is not going to be solved by normal methods - before he can find out who did it he has to understand why he's doing it.

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