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.
Each of the novels featuring Detective Inspector Tom Thorne has been a Sunday Times bestseller. Sleepyhead and Scaredy Cat were made into a hit TV series on Sky 1 starring David Morrissey as Thorne, and a series based on the novels In the Dark and Time of Death was broadcast on BBC1.
Mark lives in north London with his wife and two children.
Photograph © Charlie Hopkinson
Maxim Jakubowski's view on DI TOM THORNE...
A satisfyingly shocking and oh-so-readable novel, make sure you’re sitting comfortably when you begin! When your home life feels settled you have the most to lose, and Tom Thorne comes to realise this in the most horrifying way when the past screams hello. The Murder Book is the eighteenth in the addictive Tom Thorne series which began with the fabulous Sleepyhead, and Mark Billingham’s writing is as on-point as ever. These police procedurals have it all, a tight knit policing team, flawed characters that you’d still want on your side, and twisty plots alongside skilful writing. The writing is such that I do believe you could read this as a standalone even with the references to what has gone before, but of course, this being Mark Billingham, I have to recommend that you go back and start at the beginning. This is a book that fires-up and teases the accelerator, gradually building up until it hits top speed and then, well, it just doesn’t let up. I was genuinely fearful for Thorne and co, for their physical and mental welfare, as their opponent is truly terrifying. I read late into the night, not wanting to leave them, desperately needing to know the outcome. With a hoard of reading gold to discover, The Murder Book electrifies as it corkscrews through to a heart-pounding conclusion. Highly recommended, and a LoveReading Star Book.
Slicing through traditional and throwing convention up in the air, this novel received a standing ovation from me. A murder on a psychiatric ward is investigated by DC Alice Armitage, she also just happens to be one of the patients. Using the most exquisite balance of irreverence, biting humour, and compassion, Mark Billingham has created a character who will forever reside in my mind (hmm, lucky me!). I was mesmerised by the narrator Alice, incredibly complex yet beautifully simple, she blazes into life. The residents and staff of Fleet Ward are introduced in the most perfect way, making a large list of characters instantly memorable. Trust disappears out the nearest window as the plot wheedles, cajoles, screams and shouts as it buckets along. I found myself entering an unknown world, and looking around with eyes and mouth wide, wide open before realising I actually felt right at home. Mark Billingham has created an absolute monster of a read, it pulls you in close for a hug as it slaps your awareness. A LoveReading Star Book and Book of the Month, Rabbit Hole is quite simply an outstanding and wondrous ride. - Liz Robinson * Billingham is a master of pulling the proverbial rabbit out of the hat in many of this thrillers. While this book, his latest, is something of a departure for Billingham – it’s not part of a series and the entire novel takes place within a psychiatric facility, a kind of Jane Tennison meets One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – it still has an ending that will leave you reeling. You know how the first time you saw The Sixth Sense, you wanted to watch it again almost immediately to see how it could have all been there in front of you, but you missed it? It’s that kind of book. - Linwood Barclay Selected by Linwood Barclay, Our Autumn 2021 Guest Editor. Click here to read the full Guest Editor Piece.
'One of the great series of British crime fiction' --- THE TIMES It's 1996. Detective Sergeant Tom Thorne is a haunted man. Haunted by the moment he ignored his instinct about a suspect, by the horrific crime that followed and by the memories that come day and night, in sunshine and shadow. So when seven-year-old Kieron Coyne goes missing while playing in the woods with his best friend, Thorne vows he will not make the same mistake again. Cannot. The solitary witness. The strange neighbour. The friendly teacher. All are in Thorne's sights. This case will be the making of him . . . or the breaking. The gripping prequel to Mark Billingham's acclaimed debut, Sleepyhead, Cry Baby is the shocking first case for one of British crime fiction's most iconic detectives.
With a fascinating premise this tight, gripping crime novel is a seriously worthwhile read. Continuing the Tom Thorne series (now 16 books in), I would suggest if you haven’t yet joined you could step straight into this, but I think it’s best to start at the beginning. Always great to find a fabulous series isn’t it! Sarah wants more than normality, she wants thrills, meanwhile DI Tom Thorne has a niggle of doubt over a woman’s apparent suicide and starts to investigate the reasons behind it. My attention was snared from the get-go. The policing side feels authentic, I didn’t hesitate, didn’t doubt, just read and completely trusted the storyline. Mark Billingham allows us access to the opposite side of the policing tale, to thoughts and feelings that sent conflicting thoughts scudding through me. Compassion warred with flinching, biting emotions as the truth started to reveal itself. I savoured the feeling of being slightly ahead of the game, of having access to more information as I watched Tom and Nicola struggling to stitch everything together. Their Little Secret is a captivating and compelling read, prepare yourself for some eye-popping moments!
The fifteenth book featuring the irascible Thorne and Billingham continues to show he's one of the greats in British crime fiction. So well researched, each book in the series is always so incredibly real as you follow Thorne and his colleagues on their investigative journey. DI Nicola Tanner is back again in The Killing Habit when pets start disappearing on suburban London streets, Thorne recognises the traits of a psychopath and sees a chance to stop a future murderer. A book you want to savour as you don't want it to end, but you can't help but fly through. When is number sixteen out please?
In this the fourteenth Thorne book, DI Nicola Tanner investigates what appears to be a series of organised killings. When her partner Susan is brutally murdered, leaving the detective heartbroken and hungry for revenge, Tanner is taken off the case and enlists the help of Thorne to pursue a pair of ruthless killers. This is chillingly clever and one of the best Thornes yet. He fights against an evil beyond comprehension, yet shockingly real with Billingham's trademark sharp sharp wit and twists and turns at every corner. Highly recommended.
Every Monday evening, six people gather in a smart North London house to talk about addiction. There they share their deepest secrets: stories of lies, regret, and above all, shame. Then one of them is killed - and it's clear one of the circle was responsible. Detective Inspector Nicola Tanner quickly finds her investigation hampered by the strict confidentiality that binds these people and their therapist together. So what could be shameful enough to cost someone their life? And how do you find the truth when denial and deception are second nature to all of your suspects?
Now a major BBC TV drama, In the Dark is uniquely disturbing thriller from the number one bestselling creator of the Tom Thorne novels. Billingham moves away from the DI Thorne series for this story set in the criminal underworld of London. He brings a whole host of characters together and shows the impact of the increasing crime and violence on the streets, not only on innocent victims but the gangs themselves and the police who have to deal with it. Gripping, intense stuff from this excellent writer. Shortlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2010. Shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger 2009. CWA Judges’ comments: ‘A cutting, topical take on drug crime in contemporary London, with a brilliantly engineered twist.’
Unlucky for some but not for Billingham, this the thirteenth book in the Thorne series and is a cracker. Thorne's girlfriend, Police Officer Helen Weeks returns to the small Warwickshire town where she grew up when two school girls are abducted and Helen wants to show support to the accused. The police believe they have their murderer in custody, but Helen has Thorne in tow and he is the one man who believes otherwise. With a girl still missing, Thorne in his own inimitable style sets himself on a collision course with the whole community as they close ranks and let's not forget the cold-hearted killer. As always, Billingham keeps you guessing 'til the final page as you shout for Billingham's finest creation, the cop you can't help but admire.
Billingham's brooding London cop Tom Thorne makes a welcome return in the twelfth in the series. A terrible psychopath whose path he had once crossed to his peril and narrowly managed to incarcerate is promising to reveal the location of a body buried a quarter of a century ago. However, this involves the two of them travelling to a remote Welsh island and Thorne knows all too well that he will have to face bad weather and the criminal's machinations and the job will prove anything but easy. New bodies are soon littering the landscape and Thorne's task grows ever more perilous and he is confronted by a terrible decision to take. A fascinating, troubled character (once played on TV by David Morrissey). Thorne is both familiar and unpredictable and this latest case is unlike any of his previous capital-based dark adventures. Unmissable.
Longlisted for the Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2014. Tom Thorne is one of the most enjoyable detectives to read: a troubled and troubling man, obsessed with finding the truth at any cost whether to his relationships, his career or that of his friends. Recently demoted after a bungled hostage situation, he is now back in uniform, powerless to stop a serial killer who’s disguising his work as elderly suicides. This is as thrilling and fascinating as any of Billingham’s books with the added bonus of building to a cliff hanger of an ending which leaves us all guessing at what’s going to happen next for Thorne.
Perfect strangers. A perfect holiday. The perfect murder...Three couples meet around the pool on their Florida holiday and become fast friends. But on their last night, their perfect holiday takes a tragic twist: the teenage daughter of another holidaymaker goes missing, and her body is later found floating in the mangroves. When the shocked couples return home, they remain in contact, and over the course of three increasingly fraught dinner parties they come to know one another better. But they don't always like what they find: buried beneath these apparently normal exteriors are some dark secrets, hidden kinks, ugly vices...Then, a second girl goes missing. Could it be that one of these six has a secret far darker than anybody can imagine?
DI Thorne is back, and bigger than ever. As the body count rises, he must race against time to bring a killer to justice and save a young mother's life. 11th in this gritty, engrossing series.
One of our fastest rising stars, a stand-up comedian before he turned author, with his fourth novel but there are no jokes here. He has a series character, Tom Thorne, and all four are highly recommended. This is London gangland rivalry stuff. Hard hitting, scary, ruthless and unput-downable. I rate him very highly indeed. Comparison: Michael Connelly, Stephen Leather, Michael Marshall. Maxim Jakubowski, a Lovereading expert voice says: 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 next in August. D I Thorne series:1. Sleepyhead2. Scaredy Cat 3. Lazybones 4. The Burning Girl5. Lifeless6. Buried 7. Death Message
With this the sixth in the DI Thorne series, Billingham continues to do for London what Rankin does for Edinburgh. When a sixteen-year-old son of a former high-ranking police officer, disappears, the currently sidelined and digruntled Thorne is brought in to help locate the missing boy. As the child's life hangs in the balance it's a race against time for Thorne - navigating family intrigue and undercovering secrets well buried. As in all of Billingham's books, Buried is comprehensively plotted and truly realistic. This has twists and turns galore and as always doesn't disappoint.
Theakstons Old Peculier Crime Novel of the Year 2009. 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 next in August. Lovereading view... Billingham hits a winning formula again. The seventh in the Tom Thorne series keeps the body count high as a killer seeks revenge on those who killed his family while he was in prison and those who put him inside unable to protect his loved ones. He has nothing left to lose and only a burning desire to avenge his wife and son’s death. Gripping and compelling, Billingham is a great crime writer. D I Thorne series:1. Sleepyhead2. Scaredy Cat 3. Lazybones 4. The Burning Girl5. Lifeless6. Buried 7. Death Message
The fifth book featuring Thorne; you know you're loving a series when you can't wait 'til the paperback launch. Tom's on gardening leave and experiencing a bit of a car crash, thoroughly depressed after the recent loss of his father and after a severe knuckle-rapping on his last case. Homeless men are being murdered on the streets of London and Thorne is parachuted in to go undercover, already looking and acting the part. A cracking read, you won't be able to put down, this firmly cements Billingham as a thrilling crime writer.
The third in the DI Tom Thorne series, this is the one where I fell for Thorne hook, line and sinker. And when I mean fall, I mean you can't help but smile at his grumpy, maverick ways and blatant disrespect for authority. Someone is writing to convicted rapists in prison, befriending them and then brutally killing them when they are released. Can Thorne catch the killer, when he doesn't really care about the victims? A gripping story that I powered through and well and truly cemented Billingham as one of my fave crime writers, and Thorne as a great hero.
It has been a decade since Alan Langford's charred remains were discovered in his burnt-out car. His wife Donna was found guilty of conspiracy to murder her husband and served ten years in prison. But just before she is released, Donna receives a nasty shock: an anonymous letter containing a photo of her husband. The man she hates with every fibre of her being ? the man she paid to have murdered ? seems very much alive and well. How is it possible that her husband is still alive? Where is he? Who sent the photo, and why? DI Tom Thorne becomes involved in a case where nothing and no one are what they seem. It will take him much further from his London beat than he has ever been before ? and closer to a killer who will do anything to protect his new life.
The second book in the DI Tom Thorne series, Scaredy Cat is the one that got me hooked. The irascible Thorne is compelling to "watch" as he leads his team to try and solve a grisly set of murders, whatever it takes. A young mother is murdered in front of her son and another young woman follows soon after. We start to see the bond between Thorne and his colleagues - Sergeant Dave Holland and his long time friend pathologist Dave Hendricks - and you can't help but want for more. He's a good cop in his reckless way, and Billingham plays it well in terms of presenting the good, the bag and the ugly of Thorne. A master of suspense, Billingham has my attention and I'm dying to read more.
This is an unabridged audiobook title. The 8th in this excellent London based crime series and its comes out just as books get the TV treatment in ‘D I Thorne’ staring David Morrissey. In From the Dead a woman, jailed for 10 years for the murder of her husband, gets sent a photo that clearly shows he didn’t perish in a flaming car wreck. And he is deadly determined to stop anyone discovering the truth.
The eighth book in the Tom Thorne series, this is a heart-racing, gripping read from beginning to end. When a dead body is found in a North London flat, it seems like a straightforward domestic murder until a bloodstained sliver of X-ray is found clutched in the dead woman's fist. When more bodies and more fragments of X-ray are discovered, Thorne has a macabre jigsaw to piece together. With personal problems to deal with too you root for Thorne every step of the way and you can't help but admire his unconventional approach and shout for him in spite of his flaws. Another pumping page-turner from Billingham.
A 2012 World Book Night selection. 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.