Friday, July 15, 2011

Review: Bloodline by Mark Billingham

"Come on, pigeon! Let's go blow at the trains." Debbie Mitchell tugs at her son's arm, but but he pulls hard in the opposite direction towards the chocolate Labrador the old woman is struggling to control. "Puff puff" Debbie says, blowing out her cheeks. "Come on, it's your favorite . . ." [opening paragraph]

Bloodline by Mark Billingham
Mulholland Books, 2011
Crime Fiction, 384 pgs

I was first introduced to Mark Billingham's Tom Thorne through the novel Lifeless in which the detective inspector went undercover on the streets as a homeless person. I knew then that I wanted to go back and read the rest of the series. Like with all of my best laid plans when it comes to catching up with series books, I haven't yet managed to do so. However, when given the opportunity to read and review Bloodline, the 8th book in the series, I couldn't resist even despite my determination to stay away from review books for the time being.

I wasn't disappointed. Mark Billingham writes a heck of a good thriller. The pacing is perfect, the characters well developed and the story itself intense. In Bloodline, a serial killer seems to be targeting the children of a previous serial killer's victims. The killer always seems to be one step ahead of the police. Although readers are allowed a glimpse inside the killer's head throughout the novel, the killer's identity remains a secret until near the end.

What I especially like about Billingham's novels, at least the two I have read, is that there is much more to them than the mystery. In Lifeless, the author delved into the lives of the homeless and in Bloodline he takes on the subject of heredity and medical conditions and how they may or may not play a part in someone's criminal behavior. He also paints a realistic picture of the turmoil and impact violent crime can have on the victims' offspring.

Besides the main story line, I found myself quite entrenched in a more minor story line, that involving Tom Thorne and his significant other, Louise. At the opening of the novel, the two receive terrible news and Thorne throws himself in his work to try and avoid dealing with it. And yet, it permeates into his investigation in small ways.

I really must dig out my copy of Sleepyhead and read the first book in the series. Mark Billingham is fast becoming one of my favorite crime fiction writers.

Rating: * (Very Good)

You can learn more about Mark Billingham and his books on the author's website.

Source: Book provided by the publisher for review via Net Galley.

© 2011, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved.If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.


  1. I have been seeing this author around a bit lately. I think I may give him a try at some point.

  2. This does sound like an interesting series, and I like the fact that the book focuses on more than just the mystery. This was a great review, and I will be interested in reading your thoughts if you do continue on with the series.

  3. How have I missed this series? It sounds great!

  4. This series sounds interesting. I am not a huge crime fan (prefer cosy) so tend to not be "up" on the latest trends and authors. Thanks for the review, will have to keep an eye out for it.

  5. I second what Kathy wrote! "How did I miss this series?" Sounds like one that I would enjoy! I feel overwhelmed sometimes when I realize just how many books out there I will never read!!

  6. Sounds like an interesting book and series that I would enjoy. Great review!

  7. I can't believe that I have never heard of this series before. This one sounds like it is right up my alley!

  8. I do love crime fiction so I'll have to add Sleepyhead to my wish list!

  9. Thank you all for your comments! I definitely recommend the series if you get the chance to read it.


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