Wednesday, 1 June 2011

From the Dead by Mark Billingham

The Body: A Decade ago, Alan Langford’s charred remains were discovered in his burnt-out car. His wife Donna was found guilty of conspiracy to murder her husband and sentenced to ten years in prison.

The Letter: But just before she is released, Donna receives a nasty shock: an anonymous letter containing a photo of her husband. The man she hates with every fibre of her being—the man she paid to have murdered seems very much alive and well.

The Race Against Time: How is it possible that her husband is still alive? Where is he? Who sent then photo, and why?

I took a break from erotica to read a thriller snatched from Miz Nat’s bookshelf. Mark Billingham’s books featuring Detective Thorne always give me a juicy read, so I settled down with much eagerness last weekend to read about the cop’s latest exploits. He’s got a murder to unravel, except it was unravelled years ago and isn’t a murder after all. Well, not the guy who was supposed to be killed anyway. Yeah, some poor man copped it, and Thorne is ready to find out who he is—and where the original murder victim’s spending his time.

Alan Langford’s in Spain, the running-from-the-law shyster that he is, and coining it in by being the mastermind behind a drug ring. He’d been safe abroad—he thought no one would cross him or give him up because he’s one scary-azzed mofo—but someone had the balls to send his wife a recent picture.

That wife, Donna, employs a female, amateur PI to find Alan, and the PI enlists the help of Thorne. The murder case is reopened, and it’s Thorne’s job to trace Alan, deal with his feelings towards the PI, plus juggle a relationship with his girlfriend that is on the edge of being dead.

When I found out who sent the pictures.

Loved the killing in prison, the way the murder weapon was removed from the scene, and the death following that of a prison officer. Also liked his wife's reaction. She came off as weird, like she was divorced from what happened. I like weird.

Donna's character and her live-in female lover.

The PI and her reasons for switching careers. The sub-plot about her life, and her lazy-azzed boss.

From the Dead took me on a holiday to Spain, except it wasn’t a holiday for Thorne, and I got to see some sights, feel the sun, and enjoy a story about betrayal and nasty goings on that I pretend don’t happen in real life except I know they do. Some people have a reach greater than the length of their arm and can order killings from miles away knowing their demands will be obeyed. Scary stuff when you think about it. Lots of people being bumped off in case they let cats out of bags. Great read. Gripping, didn’t put it down often.

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