Sunday, October 28, 2012
In the Dark by Mark Billingham
On a rainy city night, a handgun is fired at random. A struck car swerves and plows into a bus stop, killing an unsuspecting bystander. In an explosive instant, a cold-blooded gang initiation ends one life and forever changes three others: the desperate teenager who pulled the trigger . . . a policewoman on maternity leave . . . and an aging gangster plotting a terrifying revenge.
The truth about the shocking incident will tie them all together in a lethal blood knot. And nothing is what it seems.
I will start by saying that I am a big fan of Mark Billingham books. I have read the first 7 of the Tom Thorne series and enjoyed every one of them in a different way. I also love the style of writing of this author. He does short, snappy chapters and has a "blokey" style that works for his stories and the characters. I like the way he throws a load of characters at you in most of his books and you almost learn about them backwards at times, I mean you start in the middle of their stories and then find out the basics and details as the book progresses. So, I was looking forward to reading this stand alone book that was not part of the Tom Thorne series (although Thorne does make a cameo appearance).
I didn't enjoy it, the first Mark Billingham book that I did not enjoy. The "blokey" style, that I normally like, was just too much in this book. It was almost exaggerated and while most of the characters were young men/boys living in The Hood in London this should have worked, it just started to annoy me quite early on in the book.
The story did not flow as well as I would have liked and there were to many things happening, conveniently, at just the right time, that was not believable. I liked the main character, Helen Weeks, and felt that there could be a future for her character if the author could just get the right story for her. Or even bring her into the Tom Thorne stories more.
Towards the end it felt like the author had had the idea for the story and a couple of side stories but was struggling to bring them all to a reasonable and believable conclusion.
I feel almost guilty writing this review as this is one of my favourite authors, so please don't let me put you off him completely. I would just suggest that you start with the first Tom Thorne series book, Sleepyhead, before you read this one. 2 out of 5 and that is being generous.