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Lazybones confirms our sense of Mark Billingham as a thriller writer determined to put ever more inventive spins on the police procedural and the serial killer novel. His police officers--hard-working Country fan Thorne, pierced gay pathologist Hendricks and the rest--find themselves on a case that raises complicated issues for them; they have continually to remind themselves that dead rapists have as much right not to be raped and murdered as anyone else.
Billingham's tricksiness--he tells us just enough of what the killer is thinking to keep us intrigued and confused--goes along with a real sense of London's back streets: the shabbiness of small hotels and the lonely hours of the early morning. The case involves not only pursuing present cases, but chasing up back-story; among all its other merits, this is an intelligent and humane discussion of changing attitudes to rape and its investigation. There was a time, after all, not so long ago, when police regularly failed to take rape seriously enough to get convictions. This is not just an ingenious thriller--Billingham makes us care what happens to Thorne, who is in far more jeopardy than he ever begins to know. --Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Fans of public television's various BBC Mystery programs would do well to tune into this third in Billingham's series (Scaredy Cat; Sleepyhead) featuring Detective Inspector Tom Thorne and his fellow officers of the London Metropolitan Police Service. After the body of a strangled and sexually violated male is found in a seedy hotel room, Thorne quickly learns that the victim was a convicted rapist. When a second recently released rapist is discovered in the same condition, Thorne believes he has a serial revenge killer on his hands. While some of his fellow policemen feel that the victims deserved their fate, Thorne's commitment to justice remains unfailing. Another murder follows, this time of a pornographer whom the detectives link to the other dead men. Billingham does not delve as deeply into either Thorne's personal issues or those of the other policemen as he did in his last book; the detective's dark brooding on the nature of death is replaced here by a healthier, less obsessive introspection. It's a wise move, making Thorne a more accessible character. He still has problems with women and commitment, and his father is still struggling with Alzheimer's, but Thorne has lightened up enough to get himself a girlfriend (though that doesn't work out quite the way he thought it would, to put it mildly). The structure is much like that of the other books, with the anonymous killer alternating chapters with Thorne and his partners until all of them come together in a shocking climax. This is a mature, intelligent novel by a writer who's as thoughtful as his main character, and the series grows better with each new addition.
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