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Their Little Secret (Tom Thorne Novels) Paperback – 9 Jan. 2020
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The sixteenth book in the Tom Thorne series, from bestselling author Mark Billingham.
'Hugely intelligent and authentic' BELINDA BAUER, AUTHOR OF SNAP
She says she's an ordinary mother.
He knows a liar when he sees one.
Sarah thinks of herself as a normal single mum. It's what she wants others to think of her. But the truth is, she needs something new, something thrilling.
Meanwhile, DI Tom Thorne is investigating a woman's suicide, convinced she was driven to do it by a man who preys on vulnerable women.
A man who is about to change Sarah's life.
From number one, five-million-copy bestseller Mark Billingham comes a breathless new thriller starring Thorne and Tanner that readers will devour.
PRAISE FOR MARK BILLINGHAM
'One of the great series of British crime fiction' THE TIMES
'An unconventional literary superstar' MAIL ON SUNDAY
'Billingham is a world-class writer' KARIN SLAUGHTER
'A new Mark Billingham is always a treat' SUSIE STEINER
'Finely paced and polished procedural, with twists and turns galore' CARA HUNTER
'Perfectly executed and with a thoroughly unnerving twist' GUARDIAN
'Thorne is a terrific invention' IRISH INDEPENDENT
'Mark Billingham gets better and better' MICHAEL CONNELLY
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Mark Billingham is a damn fine storyteller whose thrilling books always satisfy. With a propulsive plot that is as gripping as it is unnerving, you will not be able to put this book down. Their Little Secret is an unforgettable ride ― Karin Slaughter
You think Billingham can't get better, and then along comes Their Little Secret, a twisted, and twisty psychological thriller, rich with character, insight and procedural detail. He is at the top of his game ― Linwood Barclay
One of the most compelling figures in contemporary crime fiction . . . Beautifully constructed and written, it pulses with the humanity that is Billingham's - and Thorne's - trademark ― Daily Mail
Hugely intelligent and authentic ― Belinda Bauer, author of Snap
Mark Billingham is one of the greatest writers in this, or any other genre ― Steve Cavanagh
I guarantee you won't see the ending coming. The Thorne books just keep getting better. Billingham is a superb crime writer with a sharp eye for detail and Thorne is one of the most interesting detectives in contemporary crime fiction -- Jake Kerridge ― Daily Express
Billingham scores even higher in his continuing brilliance in portraying Thorne the person -- Marcel Berlins ― The Times
Reliably ace ― Heat
His exploration of relationships makes this novel much more interesting than an ordinary straightforward police procedural ― Literary Review
Is there a more peerless crime writer at work today than Mark Billingham? There are few writers whose work I enjoy more ― Crime Time
You'll read over several days, but for which you give up sleep because you have to know what happens . . . It's a highly-recommended, brilliant book ― The Book Bag
The twisted plot unfolds gradually, with a maximum of suspense. Billingham never strains credulity in this thoughtful page-turner ― Publishers Weekly
An object lesson in how to take an established series into shockingly deep waters without losing the thread that keeps the franchise going ― Kirkus
This is a fantastic thriller, combining a gripping plot and lead characters of remarkable depth. A series to savor . . . it's impossible to put down Their Little Secret ― Booklist
An absolutely gripping tale ― Winnipeg Free Press
- Publisher : Sphere; 1st. Printing : Full Printing edition (9 Jan. 2020)
- Language : English
- Paperback : 512 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0751567000
- ISBN-13 : 978-0751567007
- Dimensions : 12.6 x 3.4 x 19.6 cm
- Best Sellers Rank: 11,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer reviews:
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Then we are introduced to Sarah, a single mom with an intense love for her son, Jamie. It seems innocuous enough as a storyline - a new figure at the school gates, trying hard to fit in and make the right impression for the sake of her child. Lurking on the edge of the already established group of parents, slowly ingratiating herself yet remaining aloof. It all seems to be going well for Sarah. Until she meets Conrad ...
One of best things about this series are the central characters. Tom Thorne, Nicola Tanner and Phil Hendricks are absolutely brilliant, completely fleshed out characters who you can both identify with and root for. The stories are never just about the case and you get a real sense of the people behind the investigation, the complicated and yet very real lives they lead and the way their job impacts on them. The banter between them is perfect, but so are the tensions. I loved seeing more of Tom and Hendricks together as they are an unconventional and yet perfect pairing, and the sparring between them is always good entertainment, offering a few moments of light humour in an otherwise tense investigation.
If you have read the previous book, The Killing Habit, then you will know that the three of them are tied together in a way that perhaps none of them would have expected, or wanted, and it does affect them in this latest offering. It feels very real, very believable, far more so than if life had carried on as normal. And life, especially for Thorne, is far from what he had come to consider as normal. Then again, no-one wants to read about a Detective who has a balanced and stable home life, free from guilt or hassle. Where's the fun in that?
Aside from the main team, you are always treated to very nuanced, textured and well developed secondary characters, in this case the characters of Conrad and Sarah. Theirs is a very complex relationship, the two of them seemingly very different and yet undeniably suited to one another. There is a kind of dependancy that develops between them, and the lines between who is manipulating who get crossed so many times that it is hard to decide where the real power lies in the relationship. Mark Billingham has done a brilliant job of delving into the psychology of the characters, examining the instability of particularly fragile minds. How past comes to inform the present - nature verses nurture if you like. He explores the very nature of toxic relationships and how they develop and thrive into manipulation and control. As I read the book my mind was immediately drawn to similar partnerships which have made headlines over the years. One such case is clearly referenced in the book, but it had me thinking of all of the other, very similar relationships that have existed throughout history.
Their Little Secret is a combination of both the expected and the unexpected. There are things revealed which will perhaps not surprise readers that much, the signs being very obvious from the start. And yet there are moments that will completely blindside you whilst adding new texture to the story, and as each scene plays out you start to get a clearer picture of what is going on. It is not as fast paced or perhaps even as dark as some of the other books have been. The deaths are all still quite violent in their nature, but the action is kept largely off the page. This is a book that leans far more toward the psychology of the perpetrators, than the act of killing in itself. One that explores not only the complexities of the fatal attraction between Conrad and Sarah, but also the impact of acting against their normal moral code on our main protagonists.
Their Little Secret is quite an intoxicating mix, both obvious and yet surprising, relaxed but full of tension. I loved it and can't wait to see what comes next.
That said, this is one of his better ones and I read it in a couple of days. I've come to the conclusion that, with the exception of the wonderful Christine Treasure who this time, sadly, does not put in an appearance, Mark's talent is writing male police characters. I've never warmed to either Helen nor Tanner and was initially disappointed to see this was actually called 'A Tom Thorne and Nicola Tanner novel' on the cover. I soon forgot all that though because Mark's female evil characters are some of his best, up there with Stuart Nicklin.
Here we have a con man who teams up with a ....well....a woman who's a bit bonkers and together they become totally toxic in their pursuit of showing their love for each other. All well plotted, of course, with a bit of a surprise (that I did guess - I've read all his books, so am spotting the signs now!) and enough banter with Hendricks over takeaway curry to keep me (nearly) satisfied. Mark seems to have done away with the banter of the incident room in recent books - not sure why as it's what he does best - but I'm being picky because I wait 363 days every year between finishing one book and reading the next, so my expectations are massive!
Mark is one of 3 authors I wish I could pretend I'd only just discovered so I could read them all over again (I have anyway) for the first time. If you're new to him I suggest you go back to the start, Sleepyhead, and read them in order. You're in for a treat.
Time to write a TV series Mr B! How about it?
This story starts off with Thorne attending the scene of a suicide on the London Underground. While the death seems to be fairly straightforward, Thorne follows up by contacting the dead woman’s family and becomes intrigued about the man with whom she had been involved, and whose actions had driven her to such a desperate act. He initially comes up against a brick wall – the man has disappeared, presumably moving on to search for a new ‘mark’ and there is the added difficulty of developing a sufficiently robust case.
That is not the end of the story, however, as the suspect’s DNA is subsequently recovered from the body of a young man found murdered in Marqate. What meagre evidence that is available from local CCTV footage suggests that the killer was not working alone, and that his accomplice may have been a woman. This provokes a challenging investigation that will throw up some unexpected results.
Tanner and Thorne, like Rebus and Clarke, are a powerful investigative team, and their respective strengths and weaknesses complement each other effectively. As always, Billingham captures the reader’s attention straight from the start. His characters, no matter how evil, are always highly credible, and his plots are soundly constructed.