BLOODLINE by Mark Billingham


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DI Tom Thorne volunteers for a case that turns out to be the work of yet another serial killer as inventive as he is depraved.

Suffocating a victim to death after conking her senseless with a blunt instrument isn’t by any means a common modus operandi, and it’s not long before DS Paul Brewer links the London murder of Emily Walker to the very similar death of Catherine Burke in Leicester three weeks earlier. A third and fourth killing make it clear that the case is open-ended. It’s even more startling and disturbing, however, to see what the victims have in common: They’re all children of murder victims, the seven people who were killed 15 years ago by Raymond Garvey. Garvey, who died in prison, is safely out of the picture, but someone calling himself Anthony Garvey and identifying himself as the monster’s son shows every sign of carrying on the family business. Thorne takes on the assignment at least partly to insulate himself from the news that his own child with DI Louise Porter is never going to be born. But his own traumatic burden keeps Thorne, never a paragon at the brightest of times (Death Message, 2009, etc.), from doing his best work, and the killer not only continues to elude the Metropolitan Police despite leaving pounds of forensic evidence at the crime scenes but pulls a major con by manipulating the Met into flushing out the last few victims on his list.

Middling detective work, a compelling villain and the author’s usual sensitivity to men and women pushed to the edge by their compulsions, their work or their families.

Pub Date: July 14th, 2011
ISBN: 978-0-316-12666-3
Page count: 352pp
Publisher: Mulholland Books/Little, Brown
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: June 1st, 2011


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