A Review of From the Dead by Mark Billingham
SUNDAY, 16 OCTOBER 2011
Authors/Publishers Book Description/Synopsis
A man is burnt to death in a car in Epping Forest, the victim of professional hit men. The evidence suggest that the dead man’s wife, Donna Langford, hired the killers, and she is found guilty of conspiracy to murder. A decade passes, and just before her release from prison, Donna is sent a photo: it is that of her supposedly murdered spouse. Is he, in fact, dead? And if not, whose was the charred body in the burnt-out Jaguar? Shortly after, DI Tom Thorne is contacted by a woman, Anna Carpenter. Anna is making a living (and hating it) by working for a detective agency that cynically uses her as a ‘pretend prostitute’ to trap men into sexually compromising set-ups in divorce cases. Anna is on the side of the worried Donna Langford, and asks a reluctant Thorne for help. The detective is not to be persuaded – until he realises that the supposedly late Alan Langford is very much alive, and wants payback – in the worst way.
What Do I Think?
Mark Billingham is to be commended for the absolute readability of this finely woven story for me he has steered clear of falsely pushing Thorne into an atypical behaviour, and has faith in the readers that we will understand the dialect and speech used which is as usual delivered powerfully
I don’t know the plot could seem a little passé, a gangster believed dead who isn’t really, but there is some maturity of the usual characters, The creation of Anna Carpenter is wonderful as she brings a vulnerable character to the story.
I found the story absorbing the portrayal of all the characters is superb and Mark makes sure that Tom Thorne is not a hero, but a man attempting to do a demanding job as well as trying to continue a relationship that he is not convinced is going anywhere, nevertheless he is still hanging in there.
What is pleasant on the subject of Thorne as a fundamental character is that he is imperfect I really do not like central characters to be flawless and Mark Billingham has got Thorne just right
This is a masterful story a real page turner and yes I found myself unable to put it down until I had finished, I just can’t wait for the next outing from the masterful story-weaver.
- Mark Billingham: my greatest mistake (guardian.co.uk)
- The artists’ artist: Crime writers (guardian.co.uk)
- Author events – advice, observations and musings (leannerichards.wordpress.com)
- Books, books and more books. (shoutingatwindmills.com)
- Crime round up: September 4 (telegraph.co.uk)