>> Tuesday, January 18, 2011
Scaredy Cat by Mark Billingham
Genre: Mystery, Crime Fiction
Series: #2 in the Tom Thorne series
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: 2002
The Short Version:
Tough but troubled detective Tom Thorne is trying to track down a team of killers before anyone else is killed.
Why I Read It:
I recently read the first in the series and liked it enough that I want to get caught up before the new one is released in the US in July.
When two women are attacked and killed in a similar fashion at nearly the same time, the police are soon forced to face the fact that they are dealing with not one killer, but two. Are they working together equally or is one following the instructions of the other?
As the case proceeds with many intriguing and disturbing twists and turns the story alternates present day storylines with flashbacks to the killers who first met when they were in school together. As their history is revealed so are clues as to who they are and where they are now. Will Tom Thorne and his team be able to find and stop the killers?
In the meantime there are several side plots that move along with just as much tension and drama as the primary crime investigation. There are troubled detectives, troubled relationships, and plenty of reasons to not be sure who is really trustworthy.
As with his first book in this series (Sleepyhead) Billingham has created a story that is as much a psychological thriller as it is a procedural detective story. The main character is likeable but has issues in both his personal and professional life. The recurring characters are excellent. The newly introduced members of the team bring storylines that add to the complex personal issues that confront a team of detectives as they hunt the killers.
Several times I thought I’d had this one figured out. There’s enough foreshadowing to give a mystery fan a pretty good idea of how it’s going to play out and much of my speculation turned out to be correct. The part that wasn’t correct came as a total surprise and just made me want to read more of Billingham’s work.
His heroes are flawed, his villains are disturbed and disturbing, but it all works together into a twisted dark melancholy and moody kind of book.