Friday, August 22, 2008

Death Message

Mark Billingham is a British crime writer known for his London-based novels about DI Tom Thorne. He has also written stand alone crime novels and co-authored a series of crime thrillers for older children.

Death Message is the latest in his DI Tom Thorne series. The DI has been sent grizzly photos of murder victims on his cell phone. They soon figure out who is sending the messages and the hunt is on to find the killer before he strikes again. It is clear the killer is following an agenda, but there is someone else behind it, someone from DI Thorne's past.

This is a solid police procedural novel that starts out slowly, but builds up tension and pace as the novel plays out. It is multi layered and you can't help but feel some sympathy for the killer.

Tom Thorne is a character I found hard to gauge. I'd like to go back and read the earlier novels in the series to see a bit more why he is like he is and the events in his past which colour his actions here.

Mark has an interesting section on his website about the character DI Tom Thorne, and one of the things he says about him is "I was determined that he should be a character who would never be set in stone, but rather one who would develop, book on book, who would change and grow as we all do, and who, crucially, would be unpredictable."

I'm with Mark on the fact that characters need to grow and change with each novel, as we're all altered by the events that happen to us. No one can stay static and be believable.

I'm looking forward to being on the Killing Time panel with Mark and Paul Cleave at The Press Christchurch Writers Festival next month.

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