“The next superstar detective” is back to stop a serial killer with a bizarre pattern—his victims are all taking their own lives (Lee Child).
Recently demoted for stepping out of line once too often, prickly inspector Tom Thorne is convinced that a spate of suicides among the elderly in south London is something more sinister. When his concerns are dismissed by former colleagues at the CID, and even by his patient girlfriend, Thorne can only trust himself and his best friend—gay pub-crawling pathologist Phil Hendricks—with his suspicions of murder.
Thorne draws a chilling connection between the deaths and a controversial case three decades old. But by going solo with his investigation, he not only risks the lives of those closest to him, but also further endangers those being targeted by a deranged killer—a man with the power and cold-blooded motives to coerce his vulnerable victims toward a breathtaking end.
“Tom Thorne, the hero of a well-groomed series of police procedurals” by multiple award-winning Mark Billingham, returns—and he’s “on the hunt for a killer who proves to be extremely clever and really, really mean” (The New York Times Book Review).
“One of the most consistently entertaining, insightful crime writers working today.” —Gillian Flynn, author of Gone Girl
“Fiendishly clever . . . with the last sharp twist saved for the final page.” —Tampa Bay Times
A growing number of suicides start looking like murder in Billingham's absorbing 11th novel featuring Det. Insp. Tom Thorne (after 2012's The Demands). With the apparent joint suicide of an elderly London couple, Thorne, who's no longer with the CID, senses something amiss but can't pinpoint what. His suspicions are met with ridicule from his former CID colleagues. With the reluctant help of old friends Det. Sgt. Dave Holland and Det. Insp. Yvonne Kitson, Thorne looks for other recent questionable suicides and finds several promising cases, but no clear link between the victims other than their advanced age. At home, the moody Thorne is doing no favors for his burgeoning relationship with fellow copper Helen Weeks, whom he met in The Demands. Billingham takes a chance by shaking up Thorne's career, but it pays off in this consistently tense thriller that's as much about Thorne as it is about solving the crimes.