Sleepyhead (Tom Thorne Novels) and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more

Vous voulez voir cette page en français ? Cliquez ici.

Have one to sell? Sell yours here
Start reading Sleepyhead (Tom Thorne Novels) on your Kindle in under a minute.

Don't have a Kindle? Get your Kindle here, or download a FREE Kindle Reading App.

Sleepyhead: He Doesn't Want You Alive. He Doesn't Want You Dead [Paperback]

Mark Billingham
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

Available from these sellers.


Formats

Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle Edition --  
Hardcover --  
Paperback CDN $11.67  
Paperback, Aug. 8 2001 --  
Mass Market Paperback --  
Audio, CD, Audiobook --  
Join Amazon Student in Canada


Book Description

Aug. 8 2001
It's rare for a young woman to die from a stroke and when three such deaths occur in short order it starts to look like an epidemic. Then a sharp pathologist notices traces of benzodiazepine in one of the victim's blood samples and just traceable damage to the ligaments in her neck, and their cause of death is changed from 'natural' to murder.

The police aren't making much progress in their hunt for the killer until he appears to make a mistake: Alison Willetts is found alive and D.I. Tom Thorne believes the murderer has made a mistake, which ought to allow them to get on his tracks. But it was the others who were his mistakes: he doesn't want to take life, he just wants to put people into a state where they cannot move, cannot talk, cannot do anything but think.

When Thorne, helped by the neurologist looking after Alison, starts to realise what he is up against he knows the case is not going to be solved by normal methods - before he can find out who did it he has to understand why he's doing it.


Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought


Product Details


Product Description

From Amazon

The art of inducing fear in a reader via the printed page is a speciality of only a few skilled craftsmen. Mark Billingham is such an author, and Sleepy Head is such a book. The blurb on the jacket warns that we are in for a disturbing experience and that is precisely what we get: "He doesn't want you alive. He doesn't want you dead. He wants you somewhere in between".

The killer who Billingham's protagonist Tom Thorne is up against is a particularly creepy specimen: he has savagely killed three victims but his fourth, although alive, is perhaps not so fortunate. She has undergone a deliberately induced stroke and although all her senses are intact, she is totally unable to move or communicate. This hideous condition, called Locked-in Syndrome is, however, quite possibly the killer's first miscalculation ... or is it? Soon the dogged Thorne (given to distrusting his own abilities) is playing a cat-and-mouse game with a psychopathic killer. And the brilliant and sadistic killer is just as interested in leading Thorne a merry dance as he is in fulfilling his degraded obsessions.

All characterisations here are spot-on, even the killer (although one wonders just how many more hyper-intelligent psychopaths readers will be prepared to take) while the British setting is handled with intelligence, the horrific set pieces with real élan:

His head moved up, through the hole and into bright white light. He blinked quickly to adjust and opened his eyes. Thorne's last thought, before his body turned ice cold and began to shake quietly, was that he'd been right to be afraid...
--Barry Forshaw --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

In a variation on the serial killer theme, newcomer Billingham's villain doesn't want to actually kill his victims (those who do die he considers mistakes ) so much as induce massive strokes that will leave them cerebrally conscious while otherwise in a completely comatose state known as locked-in syndrome. Combining elements of both police and medical procedural thriller, the novel follows frayed, middle-aged London detective inspector Tom Thorne as he chases down a series of red herrings, gradually becoming more and more obsessed with the killer's masterpiece, 24-year-old Alison Willetts, and the seductive doctor, Anne Coburn, who cares for her. This romantic subplot becomes entwined with the main plot as Anne's colleague and paramour, Dr. Jeremy Bishop (whose amusement with Thorne's growing infatuation with Anne reveals a particular sort of passive-aggressive sadism), fuels Thorne's rising suspicion of him with verbal jousts. Billingham, a TV writer and stand-up comic, manifests a competent enough hand with plotting and dialogue, particularly at romantic moments ( Now, this carpet has unhappy memories and I'm still not hundred percent sure I've got the smell of vomit out of it... You smooth-talking bastard ). Overall, he displays a solid grasp of the form, though not at the gut-wrenching level of such peers as Mo Hayder. Billingham excels in characterization, however, and it's likely that readers will develop empathy for his conflicted protagonist and the compassionate physician who takes justice into her own hands.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

Customer Reviews

4 star
0
3 star
0
2 star
0
1 star
0
5.0 out of 5 stars
5.0 out of 5 stars
Most helpful customer reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars Aug. 6 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Just great, as usual
Was this review helpful to you?
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 3.9 out of 5 stars  55 reviews
17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very dark, but very good... Sept. 9 2004
By Thomas Duff - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Based on the recommendation of a friend, I picked up Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham from the library. It's a real dark crime "who dun it" with twists that keep you reading to the end.

Detective Inspector Tom Thorne gets involved with a number of murders that are seemingly random until they find a "failed" attempt. The victim who survived is completely paralyzed due to a stroke, and Thorne figures out that she was actually the "success" of the killer. It turns out that the killer is really trying to "liberate" women from their bodies, leaving the only thing he values... their minds. He deliberately induces a stroke by physical manipulation of certain blood vessels, nerves and muscles. Thorne thinks he knows who is doing the killing, but his evidence against him keeps coming up short. The mental games between Thorne and his suspect grow more intense until Thorne is ready to admit defeat. But the story comes to a dramatic end with a final confrontation with a number of lives on the line.

As I mentioned above, the story is very dark. Not only is the subject matter intense (a killer wanting to turn his victims into vegetables, not corpses), but Thorne is a damaged individual with a lot of personal and emotional baggage. The author is English, so there are a number of slang phrases that American readers will have to think about in order to follow the conversation. And even though you think you know who the killer is, you just know there's going to be a twist somewhere.

Well written, and very different.... I look forward to his future work.
13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Very impressive first novel July 24 2002
By RachelWalker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
This is, quite simply, possibly one of the best debut novels in recent years. It is slightly more assured and tightly plotted than Mo Hayder's Birdman (although its nowhere near as good as her second book, "the Treatment"). Its more well written than Denise Mina's Garnethill. Its far less complicated than John Connolly's Every Dead Thing. and more sparesely written than Boston teran's God is A Bullet.
In short, it signposts amazing talent.
The plot is great...its really original, and very compelling. shadows of a motive are given all the way throughout the book, WHAT the killer wants, and a hint or two about why he wants, but Billingham doesnt fully discolse the killers motivations until the end. And the killer himself is chilling...what he seeks to do to his victims is horrifying.
The plot is well paced, and the characters are drawn very well. Tom Thorne is a likeable, very human man, dirven by failures from his past. (Arent they all.) An able hero, his intelligence is high, but when no one listens to him when he tells them who he thinks the killer is, he is at a loss for what to do, and pursues his enquiries doggedly, despite the marked disbelief of others.
His relationship with Anne Coburn is great, freshens up the material and adds a really interesting subplot. The reader roots for the two characters to suceed in their relationship, such do we care about and like them.
The plotting is tight, and the book subtly turns its way towards a great conclusion.
I can't wait to read "Scaredy Cat."
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars No Snoozer Nov. 15 2002
By sweetmolly - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"Sleepyhead" is a well-crafted debut novel with few of the glitches that usually bedevil the neophyte mystery writer. The plot is swift and spare and the story is not over-populated with characters.
Detective Inspector Tom Thorne is confronted with a serial killer whose aim is not to "kill" but render his victims powerless to move or speak, yet remain fully conscious. So far, he has had one "success," Allison Willetts, who is under the care of neurologist Anne Coburn. Thorne becomes dead certain he has the killer identified, but has no proof. Things become awkward indeed, when the suspect turns out to be a life-long friend of Dr. Coburn who Thorne is beginning to admire. An unusual literary device has each chapter beginning with the italicized thoughts of Allison, who cannot communicate. You become increasingly fond of this brave and spirited girl with an offbeat sense of humor who is suffering this terrible misfortune.
I don't know if I have ever heard of a crime novelist getting his start as a stand-up comic, but Mr. Billingham makes the most of his background by supplying excellent dialogue:
"Thorne raised his eyebrows. "Do women still get upset if you ask how old they are?" She plonked an elbow on the table and leaned her chin on the palm of her hand, trying her best to look severe. "This one does."
"Sorry" Thorne tried his best to look contrite. "How much do you weigh?"
No matter how serious the rest of the book, I had to stop and laugh at the offbeat lines Mr. Billingham fed Thorne. "Sleepyhead" is a fresh inventive debut with a satisfying twist worthy of a veteran.
-sweetmolly-Amazon.com Reviewer
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Another fantastic debut. Dec 1 2003
By Robert Beveridge - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Mark Billingham, Sleepyhead (Avon, 2001)
What is it about British mystery authors cranking out excellent first novels? Nicci French, Mo Hayder, and Minette Walters have all waltzed down the pike in the last decade and taken the world by storm. Now you can add Mark Billingham to the list.
Billingham's first novel, Sleepyhead, is about a truly twisted individual, even more twisted than Hayder's birdman-this one's dead bodies are failed experiments. What he's really after, he gets in Alison Willetts, a girl who is mysteriously left at a hospital suffering from what is known as locked-in syndrome, a type of stroke that leaves the victim fully conscious, but paralyzed and unable to communicate. The police find an ever-growing string of bodies as the killer attempts to duplicate his handiwork.
Very well-paced for a book of its length, and very readable. Billingham knows where to put all the twists and turns. The characters are a little more wooden than one would expect, and a bit more predictable, but then mystery readers have been spoiled recently. (Odd, because Billingham has one of his characters remark early on that he doesn't fir the policeman-on-television stereotype; perhaps we're just used to that these days?) Still, this is a fast, fun read with some excellent twists. *** 
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Claustrophobic and memorable May 2 2005
By Laurie Fletcher - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback|Verified Purchase
I did this kind of backwards. I read "Lazy Bones" first and so I knew who got spared and who didn't make it from the first to the third book in this series. It didn't hurt the suspense or the story, though. This one is good enough to stand on its own. And what a concept! We have here a criminal (lunatic?) who doesn't want to kill people. His or her idea is to deliberately induce a stroke to a victim so that they are still completely cognitive but unable to move more than an eyelash. Absolutely paralyzed and still fully intelligent with complete knowledge of the crime, but unable to communicate. And young girls are killed whilst this fiend practices the fine art of paralyzing without killing. It is a dreadful concept and gives me the absolute willies. We have the usual marginal Detective Inspector (Tom Thorne), his colleagues, and "incident room" badinage, but I do wish that we could sometimes have a detective who is actually functional in his or her personal life. Ian Rankin ruined things for us with Rebus and nobody will ever write the somewhat redeemable detective better so I wish everyone would quit trying. Having said that, this is a good and creepy read and the ending is a little weak, but also a bit of a relief. Or is it? Just the concept of an intentionally induced stroke will follow you around for a while afterward.
Search Customer Reviews
Only search this product's reviews

Look for similar items by category


Feedback