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Scaredy Cat [Audiobook] [Audio Cassette]

Mark Billingham
3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Nov. 29 2005
It was a vicious, calculated murder. The killer selected his victim at Euston station, followed her home on the tube, strangled her to death in front of her child. At the same time, killed in the same way, a second body is discovered at the back of King's Cross station. It is a grisly coincidence that eerily echoes the murder of two other women, stabbed to death months before on the same day... It is DI Tom Thorne who sees the link and comes to the horrifying conclusion. This is not a serial killer the police are up against. This is two of them. Finding the body used to be the worst part of the job. Not any more. Now each time a body is found, Thorne must live with the knowledge that somewhere out there is a second victim, waiting to be discovered. But whilst the methods might be the same Thorne comes to realise that he is hunting two very different killers. One is ruthless and in control, while his partner in crime is submissive, compliant, terrified. Thorne must catch a man whose need to manipulate is as great as his need to kill; a man, who will show him that the ability to inspire terror is the deadliest weapon of all...
--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product Description

From Amazon

Mark Billingham's Scaredy Cat is as inventive his previous serial killer novel a Sleepyhead. Detective Inspector Tom Thorne has the job of watching out for patterns and thinks he spots one--two similar killings on the same day; women followed from a mainline station and then strangled. Rapidly, though, it becomes clear that the methods differed in all sorts of ways--one killing was controlled, the other frenzied--and the timings do not work out. On a hunch, Thorne checks for other such pairings and finds them--this time two killers are working as a team, one setting the other challenges.

We know what Thorne does not, that all of this has to do with things that happened at school years ago; we also know a lot more than Thorne about the demons that drive some of his own investigating team. Billingham sets himself some complicated technical challenges here--flashes back and forwards, and closeups of killers' minds that keep crucial information from us--and some of the complications don't quite work. Overall, though, this is a terrifying exploration of brutal madness, made all the more so by touches of compassion for the killer's victims--the killer may think this a game, but we and Thorne know it is not.--Roz Kaveney --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Billingham's second thriller (after Sleepyhead) featuring London Det. Insp. Tom Thorne offers a twist on the serial killer subgenre. Brooding, melancholy Thorne heads a team of detectives who are alerted to the death of a young mother brutally strangled as her three-year-old son looks on. The body of a second murder victim, strangled in the same manner, turns up the same day, and Thorn and his team surmise they have a serial killer on their hands. The first half of the book deals with Thorne's discovery that there are really two killers at work and introduces the childhood backstory of the murderers. The second half picks up speed as the actual hunt commences. Billingham is adept at creating believable characters with ordinary and not-so-ordinary personal problems, then weaving them into the plot in surprising ways. At times, though, he pushes too hard to make Thorne's colleagues quirky: "Thorne stared at the figure in black fleece, with shaved head and a startling collection of facial piercings. Phil Hendricks was not everyone's idea of a pathologist, but he was the best Thorne had ever worked with." Thorne's gloomy internal musings on death and guilt tend to slow things down, but Billingham's handling of the plot is deft, fair and scattered with enough red herrings to open a fish and chips shop. When the mastermind behind both sets of killings is revealed in a dramatic denouement, readers will give the author his due and settle back to wait for the next installment of this dependable series.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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4.0 out of 5 stars Thorne in Your Side Jan. 25 2007
Mark Billingham is a former actor and stand-up comedian whose first crime novel - "Sleepyhead" - was published in 2001. "Scaredy Cat" is his second novel and, like his first, also features DI Tom Thorne as its central character. It won the 2003 Sherlock Award, and was also nominated for the CWA Golden Dagger Award. In 2005, he won the Theakston's Old Peculiar Crime Novel of the Year Award for "Lazy Bones".

Thorne is a member of London's Metropolitan Police and works with the Serious Crime Group - officially, they investigate crimes that don't quite 'fit' anywhere else. Known to some as 'The Weeble', he's stubborn, can be a little tactless and doesn't always play by the rules. Thorne is also divorced - he currently lives alone, is having trouble with his dad and doesn't socialise a great deal. Occasionally, he will take in a football game and a few beers with Phil Hendricks, the team's pathologist. Hendricks, it has to be said, isn't quite Quincy : he has plenty of piercings (one for each ex-boyfriend), is shaven-headed and certainly appears to be the best friend Thorne has. (As this is the first book by Billingham I've read, I have no idea what part - if any - Hendricks played in Thorne's divorce). The two officers Thorne works most closely with are Sarah McEvoy and Dave Holland. Holland, despite having a girlfriend called Sophie, has taken a serious interest in both his career and in McEvoy. McEvoy, on the other hand, has taken quite an interest in <ahem> 'someone' called 'Charlie'.

The team has been assigned to a suspected serial killer. Two women have been killed in remarkably similar circumstances. One, a single mother called Carol Garner, was strangled at home in front of her three-year old son.
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3.0 out of 5 stars Good read March 15 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
First read of this author have ordered another will read it when finished one on hand
Hate being told how many words to write
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.5 out of 5 stars  56 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an intense mystery May 31 2004
By Pangloss - Published on
This is my first book by author Billingham and I am quite impressed. The plot twists around a pair of serial killers, intertwining the lives of DI Thorne and his crew of investigators. The final unveiling of the killer was quite a surprise, as I had guessed a different character to be the villain. The second half of the book really picks up speed and is hard to put down. You don't want to stop until the killer's identity is uncovered and hopefully he is caught. Intriguing characters, fast moving plot; I highly recommend it.
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not as good as his first... Oct. 14 2004
By Thomas Duff - Published on
Getting out of the tech genre for awhile, I relaxed with Mark Billingham's Scaredy Cat. This is his follow-up to Sleepyhead (that I really liked)...

A number of killings in England has Tom Thorne looking for a serial killer. The victims are found in pairs, and although the methods are similar, the intensity of the violence is different. He figures there are actually a pair of killers working in tandem. The pair of killers go back to a grammar school friendship, and it's the typical controller/controllee type relationship. The cops quickly get one of the killers, but then try to set a trap for the other one. Unfortunately, the trap backfires and the killer starts to strike closer to home. The question becomes can he be stopped before he kills someone close to Thorne.

As I mentioned above, I really liked Sleepyhead. Very dark, and hard to tell who was guilty and who was innocent. Scaredy Cat was just as dark, but the suspense wasn't there. You find out right away who the killers are, but you're not quite sure about the current identity of the controlling personality. The relationship between the killers is rather complex and somewhat ill-explained, and one of the common elements that tie them together is left to hang out there for far too long. When it's finally revealed, it doesn't seem to have the impact that it was probably intended to. Thorne's personal torments don't seem to do anything but sit there. The relationship between his partner Holland and a female cop with issues also doesn't seem to add anything to the storyline.

Maybe it's just the sophomore jinx, but this novel definitely isn't on par with his first...
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars IS SMARTY PANTS NEXT? July 3 2003
By Michael Butts - Published on
Billingham's titles are great; not surprising since he is also a well-respected standup comic. However, even though his books have touches of humor, they are dark, disturbing, but definitely worth reading.
This time, our reluctant hero, Tom Thorne, is after a serial killer, who has killed a young woman in front of her little boy. Alas and alack, it appears there are TWO serial killers working together.
As we come to know the two villains in flashbacks, Billingham weaves a tightly constructed tale of a warped love, and it's disastrous results.
There are some strong supporting characters in Billingham's novels, and they help move the twisting plot along to a heart-stopping climax in a schoolyard. The identity of the real sicko is surprising, and don't be surprised at how Billingham treats his heroes, either!
An outstanding book, can't wait for the next one!
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Frustratingly Opaque Feb. 23 2014
By D. McDonald - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I know this author is well-known and popular, which led me to my first read here. For a great deal of this book, readers must deal only with the investigators' failures and frustrations, as well as meanderings which seem well off the mark, I.e. no wins for both the characters and the readers. The author uses a common device, leading readers to a possible breakthrough moment and then suddenly changing the storyline without developing the clue, in an effort to build suspense. He fails! Moreover he seems to like pronouns, so often confusing us ( I believe intentionally). In my memory a pronoun refers to the last last person named.....Mr. Billingham likes more confusion by not adhering go this simple grammatical rule. Finally, the book lacks a final denouement. It just seems to sputter to an end, leaving this reader no satisfaction for having read the book.
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars In parts good April 13 2014
By tombaan - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
The story does stretch your realms of imagination. I enjoyed the book in parts due to excellent writing but had a difficulty in buying the premise of the story.
I have enjoyed his earlier work and would read more from him
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