The most recent Tom Thorne thriller, Death Message is a really enjoyable police procedural and a welcome addition to one of my favourite series.

Thorne receives a picture on his mobile phone which clearly shows the face of a dead man. This turns out to be the first of several, and Thorne ends up in a psychological game with a criminal whom he sent to prison, all taking place through the actions of a killer with a clear purpose.

I really enjoyed this book. We get to know the identity of the killer and the reasons for his crimes quite early on but this only added to my enjoyment as the story stopped being a whodunit, or even a whyhedunit, but was really about what was underneath and how it would be resolved.

And as well as a resolution to these particular crimes, Thorne also gets to find out what really happened to his father, a storyline hanging over from a couple of books ago.

I think I enjoy Billingham’s books because I really like Tom Thorne, and am interested in all the personal stuff as well as the case that he’s involved in. If you are new to the series I wouldn’t necessarily start with this one because of the references to previous books, but having said that any of the Thorne novels are worth picking up. Of course now that I have said that Billingham has written a stand-alone novel as a break; hopefully he’ll be back with these characters soon.

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