It's hardly a life. But he'll take it anyway. . . .
To friends and enemies alike, it looks as though Tom Thorne's career is on the skids. Depressed by the recent loss of his father and berated for seriously overstepping the mark on his last case, he's been encouraged to take "gardening" leave. For an ambitious detective--especially one without so much as a window box--it's a fairly dire situation.
But not as dire as the situation for London's homeless. Three men, sleeping rough on the streets, have been murdered, each victim kicked to death and found with a banknote pinned to his chest. Were these men just random alcoholics, junkies, and jetsam? Or were they targeted for a reason?
With nothing to lose, Thorne sets out to find the killer. It helps that he's well acquainted with the streets, once as a policeman on the beat, but now as one of life's rejects. In a harsh and harrowing netherworld, with its own rules and moral codes, Thorne discovers the horrifying link between the homeless victims and the perpetrators of a fifteen-year-old atrocity.
Those who know are saying nothing. But the word on these streets is that the killer is a cop. A policeman, it seems, was sniffing around long before Thorne came on the scene.
The latest in the Tom Thorne series, Lifeless is the thrilling story of a man as driven to find a ruthless killer as he is to bring about his own self-destruction. With dark humor and incredible tension, Mark Billingham reaffirms his place as one of today's master storytellers.
When a serial killer targets London street people in British author Billingham's gritty fifth police procedural to feature detective Tom Thorne (after 2005's Burning Girl), Thorne, a psychological wreck following his father's death, convinces his bosses to let him go undercover. The detective manages to integrate himself into the community of the down-and-outers, even as a leak threatens to expose his ploy and place him in harm's way. An unusual tattoo on one of the victims leads the police to a squad of soldiers who may have been involved in atrocities during the first Gulf War-and to a possible motive for the killings. While most readers will be several jumps ahead of the police in identifying the murderer, the author's convincing depiction of the streets and his well-developed characters more than compensate.
Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. -- PUBLISHERS WEEKLY.
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May 31, 2007
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