VJ Books Blog

(Publisher’s Weekly, Aug. 25)

The line between cop and criminal becomes dangerously blurred in Mark Billingham‘s excellent stand-alone thriller (In The Dark). Told from multiple points-of-view and full of red herrings, the story begins in the London suburbs with a gang initiation. Hoping to climb the ranks in a local gang and egged on by his friends, 17-year-old Theo Shirley fires a gun into a woman’s car on a rainy night. The woman isn’t killed, but her car plows into a crowded bus stop, killing Det. Sgt. Paul Hopwood. Paul’s pregnant girlfriend, Det. Constable Helen Weeks, also a member of the Metropolitan Police, can’t accept that his death was an accident. She retraces his footsteps and discovers unsettling connections between Paul and Frank Linnell, a powerful player in the shadowy London underworld with his own reasons for unraveling Paul’s death. Best known for the Det. Insp. Tom Thorne series (Buried, etc.), Billingham does for South London what Richard Price does for Manhattan’s Lower East Side in Lush Life. (Oct. 2008)

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