Rabbit Hole

by Mark Billingham

Crime and Mystery Thriller and Suspense Books of the Month Star Books

LoveReading Expert Review of Rabbit Hole

Fall down this Rabbit Hole and discover a mind-altering world as a murder investigation takes place on a psychiatric ward.

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.


Liz Robinson

Rabbit Hole Synopsis

My name is Alice. I'm a police officer.

I'm trying to solve a murder on a psychiatric ward.

But I'm also a patient...

They were meant to be safe on Fleet Ward: psychiatric patients monitored, treated, cared for. But now one of their number is found murdered, and the accusations begin to fly.

Was it one of his fellow patients? A member of staff? Or did someone come in from the outside?

DC Alice Armitage is methodical, tireless, and she's quickly on the trail of the killer.

The only problem is, Alice is a patient too. 

About This Edition

ISBN: 9780751577280
Publication date: 20th January 2022
Author: Mark Billingham
Publisher: Sphere an imprint of Little, Brown Book Group
Format: Paperback
Pagination: 464 pages
Primary Genre Crime and Mystery
Other Genres:
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What To Read After Rabbit Hole

The Quiet People
Girl, Forgotten
River Clyde
The Bone Jar

Mark Billingham Press Reviews

A gripping, twisting murder mystery and a blackly comic indictment of the way we treat psychological illness today. At the very least it should reach the shortlist of this year's Booker prize. - The Times

Follow Alice - plucky, resourceful, lovable and infuriating - down the Rabbit Hole in Billingham's fast-paced and twisting thriller - Paula Hawkins, author of The Girl on the Train

Rabbit Hole is the most cunning, complex, claustrophobic mystery with delicious echoes of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. I tore through it, terrified I'd never get out - Louise Candlish, author of Our House

Rabbit Hole is authentic, raucous and deeply compassionate. Expertly balancing humour, tension and pathos, it'll do for the psychiatric ward what The Thursday Murder Club has done for retirement villages. A deeply compelling read - Harriet Tyce, author of Blood Orange

A gripping murder mystery with a streak of black humour - Sunday Times (Books of the Year 2021)

I was totally drawn into Rabbit Hole by Alice, the novel's wildly unreliable narrator. Hilarious, menacing yet vulnerable, she's a brilliant creation, alive on the page. Billingham creates the dark, claustrophobic world of the psychiatric ward with both immense skill and heart - Eve Chase, author of The Glass House

Brilliant, suspenseful, poignant, heartbreaking, surprisingly funny, and Mark Billingham, magician that he is, pulls that proverbial rabbit out of the hat at the end. More than just about any other book I've read, I HAD to know how it would all come together - Linwood Barclay

Billingham's picture of the ward and its staff is full of humanity, leaving us with a clear sense that this kind of illness could affect any of us, and the story offers an excellent twist. He gets better and better. - Literary Review

When the solution comes it's perfectly satisfying. My guess, though, is that what most readers will remember more intensely is . . . Alice's voice: by turns funny, broken, chatty, defiant, bewildered-but always utterly convincing and compelling. - Readers Digest

Other editions of this book

ISBN: 9780751577280
Publication date: 20/01/2022
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781408712436
Publication date: 22/07/2021
Format: Hardback

View All Editions

About 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.  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 © ...

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