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Scaredy Cat by Mark Billingham


Scaredy Cat by Mark Billingham

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...


Murder and mystery do not come better than this. WHAT'S ON IN LONDON Brisk, racy read. THE TIMES Assured and shocking thriller. GUARDIAN A cunning variation on the serial-murer theme. SUNDAY TELEGRAPH
Charlie Garner is three years old. He has just been discovered at home alone with the body of his mother, the victim of a savage assault. Across London, another young woman lays dead, wedged behind a rubbish bin near King's Cross Station. Both women have been strangled. The police investigation, led by Detective Inspector Tom Thorne, is reaching the conclusion that the murders, of which these are apparently not the first, could be the work of a serial killer. The truth may be even worse - there could be two of them, operating in partnership. The reader already knows that the theory is correct because the pair have been introduced to us as schoolchildren more than 15 years before the killings. The boys are nominally friends but Stuart Nicklin is by far the more dominant personality, and Martin Palmer is still afraid of him. Afraid enough to kill for him. Thorne becomes involved in a dangerous game of manipulation with Nicklin, each of them using Palmer to get to the other. Mark Billingham, the author of the well-received Sleepyhead, is a stand-up comedian - ironically, because this book is often unremittingly grim. The killers and their victims are not the only ones with problems; Thorne and his team all have their own troubles, ranging from marital difficulties to drug addiction. At times it is a wonder that they manage to get any work done, but their personal crises and their errors of judgement during the inquiry serve to make them more human. Billingham takes a promising concept and develops it well over the course of nearly 400 gripping and often bleak pages. It would be no surprise if his work finds its way to the screen; it has all the hallmarks of contemporary crime drama. For now though, we readers will be the ones having sleepless nights. (Kirkus UK)

About the Author

Mark Billingham

Mark Billingham has been awarded the 2003 Sherlock Award as the creator of the Best Detective created by a British writer and has twice won the Theakston's Old Peculier prize for best novel of the year. He lives in North London with his family.

Photograph © Charlie Hopkinson

Maxim Jakubowski's view on DI TOM THORNE...

A dogged London cop whose beat somehow invariably crosses into the dark side and confronts evil at its cleverest.DEATH MESSAGE is the 7th in the series, and BLOOD LINE appears in August 2009.

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Book Info

Publication date

1st May 2003


Mark Billingham

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Sphere an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group


448 pages