The Dying Hours – Mark Billingham

I’ve had to think about how to write this review without providing spoilers.  I prefer my reviews not to give too much of the storyline away and let potential readers judge for themselves.  I’ve checked out Amazon and what I’m going to write doesn’t provide any more information that the synopsis that you would read there.

I’m going to start by saying that I’ve read all of Mark Billingham’s previous books.  I didn’t enjoy this one as much as some of the earlier ones.  The basis of the book is that Thorne is back in uniform after the events of the last book, ‘As Good as Dead’.  Needless to say, he isn’t very happy about that.  All the previous freedoms he enjoyed as a detective are gone and he has to toe the line, something that Thorne has never been very good at.  Thorne becomes suspicious when there are a spate of suicides in the area but nobody else shares his suspicions.  He isn’t taken seriously.

The book progresses and Thorne goes on his merry way, doing his own thing. 

In the book description on Amazon this novel is described as ‘his most compelling yet’.  I disagree.  It was okay but in places the characters seemed a bit 2D, a bit contrived.  For depth of character, I much prefer Stuart MacBride‘s Logan McRae.  I love him and the team he is surrounded by.  McRae is an anti-hero, much as Thorne is but for some reason I can better relate to McRae.  For me, there is something a bit unsettling about Thorne.  He really is the boyfriend that you wouldn’t want your daughter to have, add to that his emotional f**ktardedness and lack of a decent career and he really is a bit of a loser. I hope that Billingham picks up the Thorne character because I feel that he has is nearing rock bottom.  That said, Thorne has been low before and he has moved on from it.  Where will Billingham take the character next?

So, going back to the book, I’d give it 3 stars out of 5.  I found it didn’t absorb me at first but it started to pick up pace about a third of the way through.

I’d probably recommend this but I wouldn’t pay full price for it and I’m definitely not going to rush out to buy the next offering.


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