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Scaredy Cat

3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Audio Cassette: 1 pages
  • Publisher: Time Warner (Nov. 29 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1405500190
  • ISBN-13: 978-1405500197
  • Product Dimensions: 0.3 x 0.3 x 0.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 222 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.8 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews
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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 the Audio CD edition.

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 the Audio CD edition.

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Customer Reviews

3.8 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
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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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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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great follow up to "Sleepyhead" , keeps you turning the pages.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
Great story but second hand book
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.6 out of 5 stars 64 reviews
3.0 out of 5 stars Good story July 17 2016
By Kindle Customer - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
All of the books that I have so far read featuring Tom Thorne have had too much
vague obtainable between he and himself .
This book has been an improvement.
2.0 out of 5 stars First Novel Superior IMO Aug. 17 2016
By LJ32 - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
slow because clues are not presented and worked by Thorne but the read is redeemed in part by this talented author's voice and caustic turn of phrase.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars an almost perfect novel May 30 2005
By D. MacGowan - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase
I don't usually read fiction or in the "mystery" genre, but I certainly would if all of them were this good. I have read and enjoyed all of Billingham's Tom Thorne novels, but this is my favorite, I think. The depth of the characters across the board is untouched in most other novels. Just fantastic.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not scary, but worth buying May 31 2007
By O E J - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Mark Billingham is a very good writer, of that there can be little doubt. I have to admit, however, that Scaredy Cat proved ultimately disappointing. The story line concerns a pair of serial killers whose links go back to their schooldays - but they are not an equal pair. One leads, the other follows. Meanwhile we have Billingham's erstwhile hero DI Tom Thorne, who often comes across as burned out and who occasionally questions his commitment to his career as a detective, such are the demands it brings. I read Lazy Bones some time ago, and found that to be a more 'scary' book than this, despite the references to what the badder of the two baddies plans to do in the slightly hyped-up finale in Scaredy Cat. This book is well written in its detail, and indeed is worth buying, but whereas I was expecting to give it 5 stars when I had finished 90% of the story, the slightly anti-climactic ending led me to trim that rating by one. I really was expecting a shocking ending, but it didn't happen for me. I did admire the better character development in this novel (compared to Lazy Bones) and ended up with a much better understanding of what's going on in Thorne's head - something that Billingham failed to do in the other story. In particular I felt I learned something about life as a detective, both the professional and private, and I reckon that the author has done very thorough research in this field in order to convey the stresses and emotions of his characters so well. As for what motivates his villains to do what they do, this was rather less well explained, even though he devoted considerable time in attempting to do so. I guess it's easier to typecast detectives as opposed to serial killers, but it's a shame because it would be a great read if Billingham had an equal knowledge of the mindsets of both the goodies AND the baddies.

(Submitted this review in Nov 2004)
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mark Billingham proves he's a "must-read" author Aug. 1 2003
By Bookreporter - Published on
Format: Hardcover
Mark Billingham is a standup comic. I am unfamiliar with his stage work, and perhaps it's just as well, as I would have come to SCAREDY CAT (and, for that matter, his debut novel SLEEPYHEAD) with some preconceived notion that it would be at least quasi-comedic, that Billingham would possibly be a British Donald Westlake. For all I know, Billingham may be the funniest man on the planet, but you couldn't prove it with SCAREDY CAT.
SCAREDY CAT is an almost unrelievedly grim police procedural, though the setting is not a fictionalized New York City but rather modern-day London. The novel focuses on a series of murders being investigated by Team 3 of the unimaginatively named Serious Crime Group (West) of the Met, London Metropolitan Police. Detective Inspector Tom Thorne, introduced in SLEEPYHEAD, is back, and Billingham continues his slow and methodical sketching of Thorne's personality. Thorne may well be one of the most quietly complex characters in modern detective fiction; just when the reader thinks he or she has a handle on him, there is a twist or a turn, and suddenly one's opinion, one's conception, needs revision. Thorne is no genius, and he knows it. This is important; he is able to admit mistakes and to turn, albeit grudgingly, on a dime to correct them, even as he is weighed down by regret.
Ah, and the series of murders. Two women are murdered in London, some distance apart, with enough similarities to convince the police that they are, at least initially, the work of the same person. The murders resemble a pair of killings that occurred several months previously in which two other women were killed on the same day, apparently at the same time. Thorne comes to the conclusion that the two pairs of killings are linked, and that there is not one killer, but two, working in tandem with each other. He is horrified to further realize that, every time one body is found, there will be another waiting to be discovered. And while the methods of the murders may be the same, the killers themselves, it seems, are very, very different.
As the reader follows Thorne and his team (a group of extremely interesting individuals, to say the least) through their investigation, Billingham describes the intricacies of the investigators, the murderers and the survivors, the relatives of the victims left behind in death's wake. And while the identity of one of the murderers is revealed relatively early, the other is not revealed to either Thorne or the reader until the very end. The result is a novel with such skilled pacing that it is almost excruciatingly painful to read it without finishing it in one sitting. Yet it is simultaneously a novel of such simple craft, such intelligence, that one wants to savor it slowly. The result is an interesting dichotomy that few writers are able to achieve.
It is not necessary to read SLEEPYHEAD prior to reading SCAREDY CAT, though a reader introduced to one will inevitably be drawn to the other. Billingham, with only two novels, has become a writer who will undoubtedly be added to many "must-read" lists. Oh, one other thing about SCAREDY CAT: this book has perhaps the saddest Epilogue I have ever read. Don't skip ahead --- you won't really get it unless you read the whole book. And you'll definitely want to read the whole book.
--- Reviewed by Joe Hartlaub