There is something doubly appealing about crime fiction with a strong contemporary feel and Mark Billingham has chosen this, his fourteenth book in the Tom Thorne series to highlight honour killings. The fact that he does this within a brilliantly constructed mystery certainly makes for compelling reading.
DI Nicola Tanner is on compassionate leave after the death of her partner who was murdered inside their shared home. Having worked with Thorne when he makes a brief appearance in Die of Shame, she seeks him out convinced that those in charge of the investigation into Susan’s death are not interested in her belief that her murder was a case of mistaken identity, and it is actually her own life they meant to take.
The relationship between Tanner and Thorne is brilliantly handled as they work off the grid to find out the truth. When a couple of teenagers go missing Thorne and Tanner fear their own families know more than they are letting on but are they reading too much into the case?
I was delighted that Hendricks, the gay pierced and hugely sarcastic doctor who carries out the post mortems on any of the stray bodies that are sent in his direction, was back to lighten the plotline when it all becomes a bit too dark. Black humour is infinitely better than no humour at all and in all honesty, whilst she might have had ample reason to be so, Tanner is the most entertaining of detectives.
Thorne is in the form of the fictional detective is more than happy to bend the rules to suit himself although with the normally rule-abiding Tanner pushing him to do more, he has the occasional doubt about whether this is the right thing to do in this instance.
You might fear from the earlier paragraphs that this is a worthy piece of crime fiction that is tackling a sensitive subject with little knowledge of the issues. Not so. Mark Billingham has clearly researched his subject matter speaking to those who have been part of those families where the younger generation are resistant to following the rules their parents are keen to uphold for fear of becoming outcasts in their own community. The idea that murdering your own child to protect the family’s reputation is rightly abhorrent to many even within these communities, but sadly not to all. Whilst Mark Billingham more than nods his head at the former, this is not a book that preaches, he lets his characters display the emotions that echoed in my own mind but managing to steer clear of a commentary that didn’t fit the natural direction of the investigation being undertaken.
As has been the case with each of the Mark Billingham books I have read the pace is fairly furious, if you are anything like me, you will not want to put this book aside even though you are in much need of a breather from the latest piece of action. The plot is complex and involved with enough facts to underpin the occasional surprise the author springs on his reader. Just the way I like my crime fiction.
I’d like to thank the publisher Grove Atlantic for allowing me to read an advance copy of Love Like Blood ahead of publication on 20 June 2017. This honest review is my thanks to them and to Mark Billingham for an in-depth look at an issue brilliantly threaded through a captivating crime novel.
First Published UK: 20 June 2017
Publisher: Grove Atlantic
No of Pages: 400
Genre: Crime Fiction – Series
Mark Billingham Books
Sleepyhead [Aug 2001] Tom Thorne #1
Scaredy Cat [Jul 2002] Tom Thorne #2
Lazybones [Jul 2003] Tom Thorne #3
The Burning Girl [Jul 2004] Tom Thorne #4
Lifeless [May 2005] Tom Thorne #5
Buried [May 2006] Tom Thorne #6
Death Message [Aug 2007] Tom Thorne #7
In the Dark [Aug 2008] Standalone Novel
Bloodline [Aug 2009] Tom Thorne #8
From the Dead [Aug 2010] Tom Thorne #9
Good as Dead [Aug 2011] Tom Thorne #10
Rush of Blood [Aug 2012] Standalone Novel
The Dying Hours [May 2013] Tom Thorne #11
The Bones Beneath [May 2014] Tom Thorne #12
Time of Death [April 2015] Tom Thorne #13
Die of Shame [May 2016] Standalone Novel
Love Like Blood [June 2017] Tom Thorne #14
17 thoughts on “Love Like Blood – Mark Billingham”
Great review Cleo. I have read books about honour killings but never as part of an investigation. Its interesting that the detectives are handling this case. The characters also sound great. Definitely one for my TBR.
Thanks, Cleo, for the excellent review (as ever). I always appreciate it when an author handles difficult or sensitive topics in a careful way. And it’s good to hear that Billingham does so in this one.
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Check out the book, Love Like Blood, by Mark Billingham, as featured on the Cleopatra Loves Books blog
He sounds like an author I need to read.
Awesome review, and this series sounds like one I need to begin reading. Thanks for sharing, and enjoy your week! Thanks for visiting my blog.
I like the sound of these characters. Gonna check out this series. I like how you’re such a devoted reader to certain series.
Honour killings are a completely baffling concept to me, I’m rather glad to say. I can just about see why a family might cast someone off if they felt the person had disgraced them, but killing them is something else again.
I know it’s just so bizarre but sadly not unknown even in the UK…
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He is one of my favourite authors so very much looking forward to reading this one.
I read a few of the Thorne novels and found them too gory for my tastes. I prefer the standalones. How does this one fare on the gore front?
This wasn’t too gory at all, although I agree that the earlier books in the series were the ones I’ve read more recently are far less so.
This didn’t sound gory, but you never know. It’s all in the details.
Thanks for your excellent review, Cleo. Another new author and series for me! I wish my job was reading books. LOL
This sounds like an absolutely fantastic book where the author knew how to deliver in every department. Love the sound of it. I believe I have book 7 of this series–bought it at a young age on a whim–and now will have to look into the first books! Great review.
I’ve been reading Billingham since he began writing, but I notice that since I’ve started blogging I’ve fallen a bit behind (this has happened with loads of authors.) Need to catch up! I’m also a Hendricks fan! Look forward to this one – although I know I shouldn’t skip any, this sounds highly tempting….!