Time of Death (2015) by Mark Billingham is the 13th book in the Tom Thorne series of books.
In this outing, Tom is on holiday with his girlfriend and fellow police officer Helen Weeks when they find out that two schoolgirls have been kidnapped in Polesford in Warwickshire where Helen grew up. Steven Bates has been arrested and he is the husband of her old school friend Linda Bates. Helen insists on going out to comfort Linda and reluctantly Tom goes with her. There they find Linda and her two teenage children whose lives have been plunged into turmoil since Linda’s husband’s and her childrens’ stepfather’s arrest. Adding to their troubles is the fact that his arrest is all over the press and consequently all over the town and press have gathered in flocks outside their home. Linda is also convinced of Steven’s innocence and Helen is forced to comfort her while keeping an open mind about the case at the same time. And so the investigation begins …
The characters are fantastic in this book. Tom and Helen are a great couple and their chemistry together while investigating is great. My favourite character in the series Phil Hendricks is also back. He comes down to Polesford to help investigate and finds love along the way with lecturer Liam Southworth (or as Phil tells us “a senior lecturer”) at Warwick University. They are a sweet couple and Liam is from Dublin so I hope it lasts. Being Irish I’m ever so slightly biased but they are brilliant together. As always Phil’s lines are some of the best in the book and his banter with Tom is as always a delight to read. I love their friendship.
The mystery element of this book itself is fantastically done. Such a cleverly weaved plot with greatly disguised clues as to the culprit/s identity and yet at the end it all makes perfect sense. I didn’t realise who the culprit/s was. It’s brilliantly written with an array of suspects and many twists and turns that keep you reading more pages than you planned in one sitting.
Another great thing about this series is that you can read them in any order. Each book is a standalone in a way so there’s no pressure to read them in order.
An amazing read. Ticks all the boxes for storytelling and a must-read.
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