Book Review - Sleepyhead by Mark Billingham
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.