Cry Baby by Mark Billingham

It’s 1996. Detective Sergeant Tom Thorne is a haunted man. Haunted by the moment he ignored his instinct about a suspect, by the horrific crime that followed and by the memories that come day and night, in sunshine and shadow.

So when seven-year-old Kieron Coyne goes missing while playing in the woods with his best friend, Thorne vows he will not make the same mistake again. Cannot.

The solitary witness. The strange neighbour. The friendly teacher. All are in Thorne’s sights. 

This case will be the making of him . . . or the breaking.

You know you’re in good hands when you read a book written by Mark Billingham, and this is no exception. Despite being the seventeenth book in the Tom Thorne series, and a prequel to Sleepyhead, the first in the series first published in 2001, Cry Baby still manages to surprise and entertain us, proving that Billingham is one of the best in the business. The book is set during Euro 96 and I promise you Three Lions will be going through your head by the end. This is a younger, less confident Thorne whose marriage has just fallen apart and who is still raw following a harrowing case involving children. The case that features in this book involves seven-year-old Kieron Coyne who has gone missing whilst playing with his friend Josh in a park. Curiously, his friend’s mother was watching the boys and they only left her sight for a minute. Thorne begins to investigate both families as he suspects someone close to Kieron has taken him. Then, people close to the case begin to die.

Interestingly, the effects of the disappearance on both boys is detailed, Josh in his uncertainty of what happened and Kieron in hiding with his kidnapper. The fractured relationship between both boys’ mothers is also examined as Kieron’s mother Cat doesn’t know if she will ever forgive or trust Josh’s mother again.

Fans of the Tom Thorne series won’t be disappointed. John Connolly also published a prequel to his long-running Charlie Parker series in 2020 showing that there’s a healthy fascination with returning to the past to learn more about our favourite characters. And, as always, Billingham perfectly blends suspense and comedy. Cry Baby features Thorne’s first meeting with pathologist Phil Hendricks and we get a hint of the relationship and friendship that is to come in the later books. Hopefully 2021 will bring more Tom Thorne and the return of The Fun Lovin’ Crime Writers.

Little, Brown, 23 July 2020

About the author

Billingham has twice won the Theakston’s Old Peculier Award for Crime Novel of the Year, and has also won a Sherlock Award for the Best Detective created by a British writer. Each of the novels featuring Detective Inspector Tom Thorne has been a Sunday Times bestseller. Sleepyhead and Scaredy Cat were made into a hit TV series on Sky 1 starring David Morrissey as Thorne, and a series based on the novels In the Dark and Time of Death was broadcast on BBC1. Mark lives in north London with his wife and two children.

On Maternity Leave!

IMG_1995Life is strange. This time last year, myself and my husband had just lost our little boy. 2019 was an incredibly hard year for us. I was on maternity leave from work so I concentrated on recovery, reading, blogging, writing my first book (which still isn’t finished), and attending writing events around Ireland. I met some wonderful people and some of my favourite writers at some fantastic events including Noireland, the Listowel Writers’ Week, and several events in Dublin and Cork organised by the formidable Vanessa Fox O’ Loughlin. I also learned so much about the writing process and got lots of ideas. Thanks to all of the fantastic writers and publicists that sent me ARCs for the last few years. I love reading and reviewing and hope it’s always something I can do.

This year is a bit different because we’ve just welcomed our little girl. Our rainbow baby. So for the next few weeks/months, I probably won’t be posting reviews for newly published books. Instead, I’m taking a break and I’m going to try to get through some of my TBR pile which includes a lot of books published in the last two to three years that I didn’t get a chance to read. I also have a lot of Stephen King books that I’ve wanted to read for a while. I might post reviews of these older books if I have time and I might also blog about my own writing if I get any time to write!

I don’t know how long I’ll be gone for but I’ll see you on the other side 🙂

Six Wicked Reasons by Jo Spain

44154597._SY475_From the international number one bestseller comes the most clever and gripping thriller of 2019.

It’s June 2008 and twenty-one-year-old Adam Lattimer vanishes, presumed dead. The strain of his disappearance breaks his already fragile family.

Ten years later, with his mother deceased and siblings scattered across the globe, Adam turns up unannounced at the family home. His siblings return reluctantly to Spanish Cove, but Adam’s reappearance poses more questions than answers. The past is a tangled web of deceit.

And, as tension builds, it’s apparent somebody has planned murderous revenge for the events of ten years ago. Continue reading

Magpie by Sophie Draper

A1qo4jlEeNL._SY600_She’s married to him. But does she know him at all?

Claire lives with her family in a beautiful glass house overlooking the water. But she feels as if she’s married to a stranger – one who is leading a double life. As soon as she can get their son Joe away from him, she’s determined to leave Duncan.

But finding out the truth about Duncan’s secret life leads to consequences Claire never planned for. Now Joe is missing, and she’s struggling to piece together the events of the night that tore them all apart.

Alone in an isolated cottage, hiding from Duncan, Claire tries to unravel the lies they’ve told each other, and themselves. Something happened to her family … But can she face the truth? Continue reading

The Six by Luca Veste

the-six-9781471168147_lgSix friends trapped by one dark secret.

It was supposed to be our last weekend away as friends, before marriage and respectability beckoned. But what happened that Saturday changed everything.

In the middle of the night, someone died. The six of us promised each other we would not tell anyone about the body we buried. But now the pact has been broken. And the killing has started again …

Who knows what we did? And what price will we pay? Continue reading