Mark Billingham's new novel "Bloodline" is the latest in the DI Tom Thorne series. Thorne, a Detective Inspector, has already worked on - 15 years in the past - worked on the capture of a serial killer who killed seven women. The murderer, Raymond Garvey, died in prison a few years later of a brain tumor.
But the brutal killings didn't stop. A few years after Garvey's death, new bodies are being found in various parts of London, men this time as well as women victims, each clutching a piece of an X-ray. When police work turns up a definite link between the victims, Thorne is brought into the investigation; a hunt for a murderer undertaken while Thorne works on some sticky personal issues with his partner, Louise.
Billingham does an excellent job telling of the non-CSI aspects of police work. Tracking down a killer is sort of like trying to do a jigsaw puzzle without having a picture of puzzle to work with. Leads come after much searching and a bad call can cause an investigation to veer off into a dead-end. Personality conflicts are ever present and can occur easily between cops, victims, and killers.
Mark Billingham has written several novels previous to "Bloodline". To those readers like me who have never read Billingham's work, reading this latest was sort of like walking into a movie in the middle and knowing the plot and the character. This is a hazard for an author-with-a-series; how to bring new readers up-to-speed about the main and secondary characters while keeping the book from being boring to those continuing readers. Billingham does a pretty good job at this, though I think I'd advise a novice-Billingham reader to start with the first book in his Thorne series. Though I found this book very good.